Coffee 101: The Best Water Ratio for Brewing Coffee


the best way to brew coffee
The Waka Life Blog

Coffee 101: The Best Water Ratio for Brewing Coffee

A mug of coffee every day has been a staple in the morning routine of many, but how do you make sure you actually make it right?

With so many different varieties of coffee and ways of making it, it is hard to make the perfect cup of coffee every time. One of the most significant contributing factors to making the perfect cup of coffee is the water ratio for brewing any type of coffee. 

Different Types of Coffee

Some of the most common types of coffees brewed at home include instant coffee, brewed coffee, espresso, and cold brew. Since these different types of coffees all use different ingredients and have different flavors and strengths, they all require different processes to make, different materials, varying time periods, and most importantly, different water to coffee ratios.

So, in order to learn how to make all of these different types of coffee at home, it’s crucial to understand the coffee to water ratio for each. Let’s run through them all:

Instant Coffee

coffee to water ratio grams

Probably the easiest and most efficient type of coffee to make at home, the elegance and simplicity of instant coffee make the small details in the preparation process so much more important. 

The drink is made when the coffee granules are dissolved in water at the correct temperature, 90 to 95 degrees celsius, and the correct concentration. For most instant coffees, a ratio of 1-2 teaspoons of instant coffee to 8-10 ounces of hot water should do the trick.

For those using Waka Coffee single-serve packets, 1 pouch for every 8-10 ounces of water works as well. This mixture insures a well concentrated coffee that doesn’t taste watery, while still retaining the perfect amount of flavor and balance. 

However, depending on the desired strength of the coffee, a little more or less coffee powder should do just fine as well.  

This simple instant coffee can be used to make even more coffee-based drinks like frappés, iced coffees, and more

Brewed Coffee

how many grams of coffee in a tablespoon

Amongst avid coffee drinkers, brewed coffee is currently the most popular way to make coffee at home. And while it may seem easy enough, the many different types of coffee machines and methods of brewing coffee at home can make the process somewhat chaotic.

The two most popular methods of making coffee, the French press and the drip coffee machine, both require different water to coffee ratios. 

Coffee made in a French press requires either a 1:10 ratio or 1:16 ratio of coffee to water, depending on the desired strength of the coffee.

For coffee drinkers who like a strong and defined flavor, a 1:10 ratio would be best. For coffee drinkers who enjoy a more subtle, tea-like drink, a 1:16 ratio would be better. Anything in between works as well, depending on the desired strength of the coffee. 

For coffee made in a drip coffee machine, the most common ratio of coffee to water is 2 tablespoons of coffee grounds for every 6 ounces of water. This ratio can be increased or decreased depending on the consumer’s tastes, but the resulting coffee is of a generally popular strength.


Coffee 101: coffee to water ratio

The Espresso is often considered a meticulous science to make, and it is known for its powerful flavor and high concentration, as well as a somewhat viscous consistency.

It is made by pushing a small amount of hot water under high pressure through finely ground coffee, in order to create a silky and smooth texture. Unlike regular, brewed coffee, it is served as a “shot” and consumed in small but highly concentrated quantities. Traditionally served with the addition of creamy foam on top, the drink is a multi-layered and multi-textured concoction that requires precise ingredients, measurements, materials, and skills to make.

However, with a proper espresso machine, regular coffee or espresso powder, and the correct water to coffee ratio, the espresso is a drink that can be easily perfected at home.

A typical coffee to water ratio for making espresso is 1:2, which makes a standard, but extremely concentrated espresso. While this is accurate with the history and traditional definition of the espresso, the commonly served ristretto (a slightly less concentrated coffee shot) is made with a 1:1 ratio of water to coffee. This drink is often served in American coffee shops and is popular amongst consumers. 

Espresso is also used as the base coffee for a myriad of other drinks such as cappuccinos (espresso with steamed milk foam), macchiatos (espresso with a small amount of steamed milk), lattes (espresso with steamed milk and milk foam), and many more drinks. 

Cold Brew

how much coffee and water in cold brew

Cold brew is a type of coffee made from ground coffee beans and water, but brewed in a different method than the hot brewed coffee. Almost like a tea, cold brew coffee is steeped for 12-24 hours, in order to create a coffee with more vibrant flavors, aromas, and nuances. Since it is made with cold or room temperature water and steeped for a long period of time, cold brew is often stronger, naturally sweeter, and more flavorful than brewed coffee or iced coffee. 

A common ratio of coffee to water for making cold brew is 1:3. While this does result in quite a strong coffee flavor, cold brew is meant to be diluted and is often served black with lots of ice, or diluted with a relatively large volume of milk. Depending on the desired strength, different amounts of ice, milk, or even water can be added to the drink to make the perfect cup of coffee. 

Once the coffee has been steeped for 12-24 hours, the liquid is strained from the coffee grounds and the ice, milk or water is added to create the perfect cold, morning drink.  

Now that we know all about the perfect coffee to water ratio for making different types of coffee at home, it’s time to get started. 


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