How Much Coffee Per Cup? How To Get It Right

So you want to make a great cup of coffee? 

Fortunately for you and me, coffee isn’t a dark art. You’ll make the perfect cup every time if you understand a few basic principles and can manage quick back-of-napkin math.

My quick advice: If you’re brewing drip coffee (like Mr. Coffee), use 2 tablespoons of ground coffee beans for every 6 ounces of drink you’d like to produce.

In the article below, you’ll find a more thorough cheat sheet for how much ground coffee to use depending on how much coffee you want to make. In addition to drip coffee, we’ll also cover french press, espresso, cold brew, and Aeropress. 

I’ll also explain the most precise way to measure your coffee grinds, the appropriate water ratio, and get the best cup of coffee every time that will taste like it does at your local coffee shop! 

The Perfect Coffee per Cup Ratio

What is the perfect ratio for a cup of coffee? If you’re brewing with a classic drip coffee pot, try using a 1:16 ratio of coffee to water by weight.

This ratio seems simple, but it’s not exactly intuitive. I’ll explain why below. 

But first, here’s your Mr. Coffee cheat sheet:

Serving SizeCoffee WeightTablespoonsScoopsDrink Volume
1 Cups9.2 grams2 Tbsp1 Scoop5 fluid ounces
2 Cups18.4 grams4 Tbsp2 Scoop10 fluid ounces
3 Cups27.6 grams6 Tbsp3 Scoop15 fluid ounces
4 Cups36.8 grams8 Tbsp4 Scoop20 fluid ounces
5 Cups46.0 grams10 Tbsp5 Scoop25 fluid ounces
6 Cups54.2 grams12 Tbsp6 Scoop30 fluid ounces
7 Cups63.4 grams14 Tbsp7 Scoop35 fluid ounces
8 Cups73.6 grams16 Tbsp8 Scoop40 fluid ounces
10 Cups92.0 grams20 Tbsp10 Scoop50 fluid ounces
12 Cups108.4 grams24 Tbsp12 Scoop60 fluid ounces

Drip Coffee

The good news is that when you go to make drip coffee it isn’t that complicated of a process if you’re going by the book.

Making one cup and not sure how much you should use? Just use one scoop of coffee.

oxo coffee maker

If you’re using the manufacturer’s scoop, and the markings on the side of the carafe, then it’s virtually foolproof. For one cup, one scoop in, one cup out. Viola! Caffeine!

But, you’ve lost your scoop, or the graduations on the side of your carafe have faded away things aren’t so simple. There are two main reasons why:

  1. The “perfect ratio” is actually based on weight, not volume.
  2. Mr. Coffee uses non-standard measurements.

These issues probably aren’t a big deal for most people. But if you’re new to making coffee and looking to make a truly great cup of coffee every time – it helps to know the science behind your cup.

Scoops of Ground Coffee

scoop of ground coffee

Most people use “scoops” to make their coffee, but what exactly is a scoop and how much do you need for a normal cup of joe? And what happens if you lose it? Scoops are one of the non-standard measurements used by a Mr. Coffee.

Fortunately for us, a scoop is simply 2 tablespoons. This knowledge may come in handy in case you misplace yours!

1 Scoop = 2 Tablespoons.

Cups

Another non-standard measurement used by Mr. Coffee, and most drip coffee makers are “cups.” This may seem counterintuitive, but I’ll explain.

When you see the “cup” graduations on the side of a drip coffee carafe, it doesn’t mean a standard 8-ounce US Cup. 

For Mr. Coffee, a “cup” is defined as 5 ounces. 

It makes sense why the designers picked this non-standard measurement. It simplifies things for most people. One “scoop” in, makes one “cup” out in the coffee pot. 

However, if you’re a perfectionist like me, it doesn’t make achieving the perfect coffee ratio any easier!

Weight vs. Volume

The perfect ratio (1:16) for drip coffee per cup is based on weight, not volume. 

You might assume that a scoop of coffee always weighs the same, but that’s not actually the case. Coffee can be heavier or lighter depending on how it is roasted or ground.

As a rule of thumb, Mr. Coffee assumes a scoop of ground coffee weighs about 10 grams. Sometimes this is true, but not always.

I weighed a scoop of very dark coffee on a digital scale at 10.1 grams. Then I weighed a tablespoon of a light roast which came in at 13.6 grams. 

As coffee roasts, it expands and becomes less dense. A darker roast weighs less by volume. So, as in the example above, you could use the same number of scoops and end up with 30% less ground coffee.

Brewing Practice

Brewing the “perfect cup” is highly subjective, so you’ll need to find what works best for you. Measuring your coffee by weight and using the 1:16 ratio is a great place to start to get that perfect pot of coffee.

It may sound complicated or costly, but digital scales are incredibly affordable, and collecting measurements takes only seconds. It’s really that fast and it helps you make the best coffee and avoid it turning out weak. 

Once you’ve got the basics down, try modifying the ratio for more or less coffee by weight. See what happens, and learn what you prefer. It’s part of the fun of being an enthusiast! Getting things just right.

Other Brew Methods

French Press 

pushing down a french press coffee maker

A French Press typically prepares 3-4 unique 8-ounce cups in a single carafe. It’s an awesome social brewing method and aesthetically pleasing addition to any morning routine.

Steep your coffee grounds on the table, plunge, and pass it around so guests can self-serve.

A French press uses a 1:12 ratio of coffee-to-water (by weight), and produces coffee with a full body and robust flavor. There’s usually plenty to share with a small crowd.

Although they come in different sizes, 32 fluid ounces is probably the most popular. For a full 32-ounce carafe, add 75 grams of coffee grounds and 907 ml of water.

If measuring by volume, try adding 1 tablespoon of coffee grounds for every 200 ml of water. 

The caffeine extraction in French Press is potent. As a rule of thumb, every 8-ounce cup of french press coffee has about 110 mg of caffeine. This is about 40% more than an espresso shot.

Espresso

espresso

If you’re new to making coffee and aren’t already measuring by weight, you probably shouldn’t be making espresso. This brewing method makes the purest coffee and is all about precision.

Espresso is served in a 1-ounce portion called a shot. Or in some cases a 2-ounce double shot, also referred to as an espresso doppio.

It’s broadly agreed upon in the coffee community that espresso should have a 1:2 ratio of ground coffee at best to the resulting drink. There are variations though. It is also imperative to buy coffee beans that are high quality to get a quality shot of espresso.

With a “ristretto,” the extraction period is restricted and less water is involved. The result is a shorter short with a more intense 1:1 dose ratio.

By contrast, a “lungo” takes a longer extraction period. The resulting flavor is less intense, and the dose ratio is diluted to 1:3.

For standard 1:2 espresso, add 9 grams of finely ground coffee to your portafilter to make an 18-gram drink. About 1 ounce in volume.

As for caffeine density, there is some variability, but a good rule of thumb is that a single shot includes 75 mg. 

Cold Brew

Cold brew is a fairly new drink in the coffee world that’s typically prepared in bulk through an extended cold-water extraction process that can last hours. Generally, it’s best served chilled and served to order in 8-ounce portions.

You can use any liquid-containing vessels to prepare cold brew, but I’d recommend a large french press. The process, while using one, is similar to brewing tea.

Most cold brew coffees are made using a ratio between 1:4 and 1:8, depending on how much coffee you want and how strong you want it.  A standard 8-ounce cold brew contains about 100 mg of caffeine. Nitro cold brew has even more.

Aeropress

aeropress coffee maker

An Aeropress yields an 8-ounce cup of “espresso-like” coffee with every brewing cycle. It’s also possible to make a half-portion.

Us your grinder and set it to “fine”, and during the brewing process, place the ground coffee in the cylinder and covered with near-boiling water. After 1-3 minutes of extraction, the plunger is forced down, pushing the fresh coffee into awaiting coffee cups. 

The best dose ratio for Aeropress is the same as drip coffee, 1:16 coffee-to-water by weight.

Expect 50-70 mg of caffeine per cup.

Quick Comparison

Here’s a quick reference for how much coffee, serving size, and caffeine based on the preparation method. 

Brew MethodDose RatioServing Size (fl oz)Caffeine (approx)
Drip Coffee1:168 fluid ounces90 mg
French Press1:128 fluid ounces110 mg
Espresso1:21 fluid ounce75 mg
Cold Brew1:48 fluid ounces100 mg
Aeropress1:168 fluid ounces50-70 mg

You can adjust the dosing ratio depending how much coffee you want. Caffeine content is approximate. Several factors that impact exactly how much caffeine lands in your coffee cup. 

FAQ

How big is a cup of coffee?

If you’re wondering how much coffee per cup is; the standard serving size for a cup of coffee is 8 fluid ounces. But beware, if you’re measuring your “cups” based on the graduations provided by a drip coffee carafe then your serving size may be different. Most drip coffee machines equate a “cup” to 5 ounces.

What is the ratio for good coffee? 

A general guideline when you go to brew your perfect cup of coffee is called the “Golden Ratio” – one to two tablespoons of coffee grounds for every six ounces of water. This can be adjusted to suit individual taste preferences. Check the cup lines or indicators on your specific brewer to see how they actually measure best. 

How do you calculate how much coffee to use per cup?

How much coffee per cup do you use? Well, for a drip coffee, the Golden Ratio is 1:16 coffee-to-drink. In simple terms, this means for every 1 gram of coffee grounds you would put into the machine you should be able to brew 16 grams of drink into the coffee pot. The ratio is calculated by weight, and it’s important to note that all coffee does not weigh the same.

How are coffee grounds measured?

Using a digital scale when measuring coffee for your brew is best practice. Scales are inexpensive and easy to use (shop around on Amazon to find your favorite, like this one!). Incorporating a scale into your morning brew will only cost a few seconds. But it will help ensure that you get a consistent delicious result every time.

Looking for more coffee fun? Check out these posts!

About bit of cream

Rishi and Jen are the creators behind Bit of Cream. They start each morning with a cup of coffee and are on the hunt to make that simple cup of caffeine better and brighter. Feel free to send them a message or follow along on Instagram!

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