When you’re making coffee, you can be either approximate or precise with your measurements. As well as the type of beans you use, grind size, and brewing method, the amount of coffee you use also helps determine the quality of the brewed beverage.
Many domestic baristas use coffee scoops or tablespoons for measuring coffee. But, while these can work, it raises other questions. For example, how many tablespoons of coffee do you need per cup? Also, are you using ground coffee or whole bean coffee? Other issues include whether to use a heaped or level coffee scoop and calculating how many grams of coffee your scoop or spoon holds.
In other words, if you measure coffee using volume rather than weight, it will lead to several questions before you ensure perfect coffee.
A good solution to this issue is a coffee scale. However, if you don’t want to buy one, that’s where this guide comes in. By the time you reach the end, you should have a far clearer idea of how much ground coffee you’ll need for different cup sizes.
How Much Coffee Per Cup?
SCA Golden Ratio
The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCA) has developed a golden ratio, recommending coffee to water of 1:18. So, adhering to this would means 55g of coffee for every 1000ml of water.
As you can see, the coffee ratio is based on metric units, which are easy to follow with a coffee scale or kitchen scale. However, scales aren’t for everyone, and if that includes you, this guide can help.
We’ll convert everything to make measuring the correct amount of coffee straightforward. So, we’ll convert “grams of coffee” to “scoops” and “ml of water” to “cups” so you can make a beautiful cup of coffee, with or without a scale.
Firstly, we need to determine the cup, scoop, and tablespoon sizes.
How Big Is A Coffee Cup?
If you’re a regular Starbucks customer, you’ll be familiar with its tall, grande, and venti sizes. However, there isn’t a globally recognized measurement for cup sizes, so you’ll need to determine how big your favorite coffee mug is.
Typically, a regular coffee or tea cup is 6oz. Meanwhile, a standard US cup can be 8oz. In Europe, the cup will usually be 4oz.
If that seems confusing, it doesn’t end there. For example, if you use an automatic drip coffee maker, the measurement levels differ depending on the manufacturer. So, some coffee makers can brew 12 cups per batch, but that assumes four-ounce cups. Meanwhile, others can brew 12 cups for five or six-ounce cups.
We have sifted through dozens of manuals of the most popular drip makers to make more sense of this, and here’s what we found.
As the data shows, most of the coffee brewers use a 5-oz cup size. Therefore, we use that size throughout this article.
|Model||Cup Size (oz)|
|Breville Precision Brewer||5 oz|
|Technivorn Moccamaster||4 oz|
|Bunn Coffee Maker||5 oz|
|OXO Brew 9 Cup Coffee Maker||5 oz|
|Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker||9.5 oz|
|Brim Coffee Maker||5 oz|
|Bonavita Connoisseur||5 oz|
|Zojirushi Coffee Maker||5 oz|
|Braun MultiServe Coffee Maker0||5 oz|
How Big Is One Coffee Scoop?
The size of coffee scoops varies, making it even trickier to figure out how many scoops you need for brewing coffee. So, across a range of marketplaces, we searched for the keyword “coffee scoop.” The results showed us that most scoops have a capacity of two tablespoons or 30ml.
Predictably, it’s not quite as simple as that, though. That’s because there are weight discrepancies between different types of beans. For example, light roast beans are much denser than dark roasted beans.
To help make it as clear as possible, we did a test. Here are the respective weights of one tablespoon of whole beans.
- Dark roast espresso beans – 5.3g
- Dried processed Ethiopian beans – 7.1g
- Washed Colombian beans – 6.4g
And here are the weights of one tablespoon of various ground coffees using the same grinder at a medium setting.
- Espresso blends coffee beans (dark roast) – 4.4g
- Dried processed Ethiopian beans (light roast) – 6.4g
- Washed Colombian beans (medium roast) – 5.2g
As you can see, it’s inconsistent, so much so that if you opt for five scoops of coffee per batch (or around 10 tbsps), the difference in weight between the coffee types can be over 10g.
Then there’s the issue of whether you’re using a heaped scoop or a level scoop, which also significantly contributes to the overall weight. In the interests of consistency, we recommend using a level scoop.
According to our measurements, one level scoop of medium roast grounds will weigh between 8 and 14 grams. Meanwhile, a level tablespoon of whole beans will weigh around 4 to 7 grams.
If this seems confusing, as a rule of thumb, remember that the lighter the roast, the more coffee you will have per scoop. Then, you can make tweaks from there.
As we mentioned earlier, coffee scoops – like cups – are not all created equally, coming in a range of sizes. However, most coffee scoops are equivalent to two tablespoons, so there’s at least some uniformity in general.
Here are some conversions for customizing your measurements and simplifying things further.
- 1 scoop = 2tbsp ~ 8g of coffee
- 1 tablespoon = 3tsp ~ 4g of coffee
How Many Scoops Of Coffee Should You Use?
We now know the typical scoop and cup size of most drip coffee makers. So, how many scoops are optimal for making coffee with a standard drip coffee maker?
To help answer this question, we’ve scoured the manuals of the SCA-certified coffee makers for their brew ratio recommendations before collating all the relevant data. To our surprise, we found they all suggest similar brew ratios. It’s recommended to use one scoop (or two tablespoons) of coffee, about 8 grams per 5oz cup.
These follow the SCA-recommended 1:18 coffee to water ratio. There is a good reason to adhere to this, too – it’s tested by experts. Therefore, we think it represents a good starting place.
So, to summarize, for a 5oz cup of coffee:
- 1 scoop = ~8g
- 1 tablespoon = ~4g
- Coffee to water ratio: 1:18
After inputting the data into Excel, we produced the following charts. Both 5oz and 8oz cup sizes are common for drip coffee makers, so we’ve reproduced charts for both sizes. You can measure the right amount of coffee depends on how many cups of coffee you are making.
Cups 5oz Per Cup Coffee Grounds
Cups 8oz Per Cup Coffee Grounds
Keep in mind that the weight will change depending on the type of bean and roast level you use. Also, these are approximate calculations based on the 1:18 ratio. So, you can opt for 1:15 for a stronger flavor or 1:20 for a milder beverage. It all comes down to your preference.
OK, let’s take a look at the number of recommended scoops to use per batch size of drip coffee for both 5oz and 8oz cup sizes.
How Many Scoops Of Coffee For 4 Cups?
If you’re brewing four 5oz cups of coffee, aim for four level scoops (8tbsp) of coffee grounds, which comes to 33g of coffee.
If you’re brewing four 8oz cups of coffee, use 6.5 level scoops (13tbsp), equating to 53g of coffee.
How Many Scoops Of Coffee For 6 Cups?
If you’re brewing six 5oz cups of coffee, aim for six level scoops (12tbsp) of coffee grounds, which comes to 49g of coffee.
If you’re brewing six 8oz cups of coffee, use 10 level scoops (20tbsp), equating to 79g of coffee.
How Many Scoops Of Coffee For 8 Cups?
If you’re brewing eight 5oz cups of coffee, aim for eight level scoops (16tbsp) of coffee grounds, which comes to 66g of coffee.
If you’re brewing six 8oz cups of coffee, use 13 level scoops (26tbsp), equating to 105g of coffee.
How Many Scoops Of Coffee For 10 Cups?
If you’re brewing 10 5oz cups of coffee, aim for 10 level scoops (20tbsp) of coffee grounds, which comes to 82g of coffee.
If you’re brewing 10 8oz cups of coffee, use 16.5 level scoops (33tbsp), equating to 130g of coffee.
How Many Scoops Of Coffee For 12 Cups?
If you’re brewing 12 5oz cups of coffee, aim for 12 level scoops (24tbsp) of coffee grounds, which comes to 100g of coffee.
If you’re brewing 12 8oz cups of coffee, use 20 level scoops (40tbsp), equating to 158g of coffee.
How Many Scoops Of Coffee For 14 Cups?
If you’re brewing 14 5oz cups of coffee, aim for 14 level scoops (28tbsp) of coffee grounds, which comes to 115g of coffee.
If you’re brewing 14 8oz cups of coffee, use 23 level scoops (46tbsp), equating to 184g of coffee.
Coffee Ratios For Other Brewing Methods
You can make delicious coffee using either a drip coffee maker or French press by following the recommendations above. However, these are not suitable for other brewing methods like Moka pot, espresso, AeroPress, pour-over, or cold brew. So, let’s try and break down the ratios that work best for some of the other more popular brewing methods.
How Much Coffee For Espresso?
A traditional espresso uses a 1:2-1:2.5 coffee to water ratio, while a lungo – or long shot – is around 1:3. Also, keep in mind you’ll need finely ground coffee for the filter basket. A standard espresso uses 7g of coffee for a 1oz shot. Therefore, a double shot uses 14g of coffee for 2oz. However, increasingly, baristas are turning to scales to weigh the coffee rather than relying on volume.
How Much Coffee For Moka Pot?
Moka pot is very straightforward as there’s no need to work out the brewing ratio. Instead, pour water into the water chamber until the level is immediately beneath the safety valve, then fill the filter with ground coffee.
How Much Coffee For AeroPress?
The AeroPress is special as it is incredibly versatile, and there are many recipes and brewing ratios. However, its core use is to make espresso-style coffee. Even so, many recipes call for dilution after brewing. The AeroPress has its own coffee scoop, while the brew chamber has markings. The official recipe requires one scoop of grounds with the water filled to level 1 on the chamber. From here, you can dilute the coffee for an 8oz cup size.
How Much Coffee For Cold Brew?
A coffee to water ratio of 1:15 to 1:18 is recommended for ready-to-drink cold brew. However, if you’re brewing cold brew concentrate, aim for a 1:3 to 1:5 ratio to ensure the liquid is sufficiently strong and condensed. One idea is to use an 8oz bag of coffee grounds and four 8oz cups of water for a big batch of the concentrate.
How Much Coffee For Pour-Over Method?
Pour-over is one brewing method that ideally requires a coffee scale. That’s because it’s particularly difficult to brew a perfect cup of pour-over using volume measurements. So, we strongly recommend buying a coffee scale, then honing your brewing technique from there. Or you can use 2 coffee scoops for medium ground coffee for an 8oz cup.
How Much Instant Coffee Per Cup?
While the recommended instructions may differ depending on the brand, as a rule, we recommend using one tablespoon of instant coffee for every eight ounces of water and making any tweaks from there according to your taste preference.
This article demonstrates that measuring coffee using a coffee scoop or tablespoon is open to many variables. These include the size of the scoop and the roast level, and the type of beans you’re using. To add to the noise, you also need to work out whether to use a level or heaped scoop. Finally, even cup sizes don’t follow a universal standard, leading to more potential for confusion.
Because of this, we’d highly recommend investing in a good coffee scale, which leaves nothing to chance and will ensure you use a consistent ratio regardless of the variables. You can check out our best-picked coffee scales here.
However, if you’re not able to do that, there is hope, as our research found a scoop size that’s used more often than not, while just two cup sizes are the most used.
Taking that information, we have laid out the recommended scoop sizes in a way that we hope you will find useful.
Of course, there is always an element of approximation when measuring coffee by volume. Because of this, as with many areas of domestic coffee brewing, a process of trial and error is recommended, as everyone’s tastes are different. We recommend using this article as a base guide then tweaking until you find your optimum ratio and, ultimately, consistently delicious coffee!