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How much coffee makes coffee? (Version 2)

A few years ago I wrote a blog post about brewing coffee and how much coffee to use when making Filter and French Press coffee. I lost the original text and is why I’ve called this “Version 2”. I’ve also learnt a lot more about brewing since the original post, so I would consider this a better version… Enjoy!

To ensure you get the best flavour from your brew, it’s best to follow a few simple, but important steps, when making your daily cup (or two).

The goal with this guide to brewing a cup of Filter or French Press (plunger) coffee, is to ensure you get the right amount of extraction – that means the correct *strength of coffee once you have completed brewing.

The easy to remember ratio of ground coffee to water – which is the internationally recognised brewing standard for these two types of brew methods – is 55-60g of ground coffee per litre of water added. I prefer to recommend 60g/L as this makes the calculations for more or less coffee a little easier to do.

When considering how much coffee you are going to use, it’s best to focus on volume brewed rather than cups of coffee you wish to make.

Therefore, if I want to brew for one serving, start with 15 grams of ground coffee and add 250ml of water to the brew. The resulting cup of brewed coffee will be less volume out as the coffee grounds retain some of the water.

From here you can do the maths for more servings: 2 servings = 30g ground coffee & 500ml water 3 servings = 45g ground coffee & 750ml water 4 servings = 60g ground coffee & 1000ml water

These ratios can also be used for other brew methods (V60, Clever Dripper, Chemex, etc.) and can be adapted to your taste.

When brewing a French Press, allow the coffee to steep for 3.5 to 4 minutes. At Stereo Café we grind-to-order for your convenience if you do not own a grinder. We do, however, strongly recommend that you invest in a good coffee grinder. Owning your own grinder will give you the ability to adjust the coarseness of your ground coffee which also has an impact on extraction.

Once you coffee journey begins to evolve to experimenting with various origins and roast styles, you will be able to make adjustments to your brewing to get the best flavour but having a starting point like the ratio mentioned gives you a benchmark with which to start.

Here are is a list of important must haves to help with brewing a great cup everytime:

  1. Good quality coffee equipment including a good coffee grinder

  2. freshly roasted coffee

  3. filtered water (not RO3 – reverse osmosis – water)

  4. a scale to weigh your beans and grounds

  5. a timer to time your brew

  6. a comfortable chair to sit and enjoy the goodness

* Coffee strength is a minefield and often subjective and can be influenced by a number of variables including origin, coffee roast style and grind size. A lighter roasted coffee may appear weaker in comparison to a medium roast or dark roast but this is due to the roast style not the ratio of ground coffee to water. You can’t make a light roast taste like a dark roast (or vice versa) no matter how hard you try. Understanding what you are purchasing will give you a better idea of what to expect in the cup. Asking your coffee roaster for advice is always best. We want you to enjoy the coffee we passionately roast. So ask away!

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