4: Ratio of Coffee to Water
Fourthly: Does the amount of water match the amount of coffee grinds that you have?
We often hear comments such as, “that coffee shop serves bad coffee,” or “that one serves the best coffee!” Sometimes, the difference between a great cup and a disappointing one is a matter of an incorrect ratio of coffee grinds to water. Too much grinds for too little water produces a too-strong cup while not enough coffee grinds in too much water results in a weak cup.
The most straightforward guideline for the amount of grounds that should be used is provided by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA). Use between 47g and 65g of coffee per litre of water or about 2 tablespoons of coffee for every 6 ounces of water.
A good brew is a combination of the amount of coffee solids extracted from the grinds (Extraction) and the amount of coffee solids present in the finished product (Strength). The following chart illustrates the idea of achieving a balance between the two.
It may look a little complicated, but to obtain an optimal balance, enough coffee grounds should be used to allow 1.15% to 1.35% of dissolved solubles from the ground coffee and 98.85% to 98.65% water. The only accurate way to measure this is by using a calibrated Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Meter, which is probably not something you have in your home or cafe. So, do the next best thing. Taste it. If it doesn’t taste good, don’t drink it.
Alright, we've got a perfect ratio of grinds to water, next up: Grind Size