Join the free Pull & Pour Coffee Club for access to the best specialty coffee Learn More

A Simple Explanation of Pour Over Coffee to Water Ratios

Andrew Pautler

Making pour over coffee

One of the most confusing aspects, when you start brewing pour over coffee at home, is the coffee-to-water ratio. How much coffee to use and how much water to pour over it can be confusing, but can also have a big impact on the final cup of coffee you brew. The art of perfecting the right coffee-to-water ratio will edge you closer to your perfect pour over coffee. If you are new to brewing pour over coffee and looking for the water-to-coffee ratio to achieve a golden cup of coffee every time, this guide will help you get started.

What is pour over coffee?

Pour over coffee refers to any brewing method in which you manually pour hot water over ground coffee. It is made using a pour over coffee maker. It is a manual brewing process that puts you in control. 

It means you can experiment with variables like coffee-to-water ratio, grind size, and water temperature to make a final brew that tastes to your preferences. 

In pour over coffee brewing, water flows through the coffee grounds rather than coffee grounds steeping in the water. That means extraction happens as water flows through the coffee grounds and the amount of water used can have a big impact on the taste of the final cup.

Why do you pay attention to your pour over coffee ratio?

Using “scoops” or eyeballing the amount of water used to brew coffee will always be inaccurate and adding more coffee doesn’t necessarily yield a better cup of coffee. If you load up your pour over coffee maker with a ton of extra coffee grounds, you will have an extra-strong cup, but it may be under-extracted or lack flavor nuances. So you have to be precise when brewing coffee every single time. And to be precise, you need to use the scale to measure your water and coffee. 

What is the best pour over coffee ratio?

The pour over coffee-to-water ratio is one of the most important factors when making pour over coffee. The more you add water, the more it will extract from coffee. Similarly, if you add more coffee grounds, it will increase the strength of the final cup. 

Pour over brewing is a balancing act; you need to find the balance between coffee and water to have an exceptional cup.

According to the National Coffee Association, the recommended ratio, known as the golden ratio, is 1-2 tbsp. of coffee for every 6 ounces of water. This means you would use between 9 to 11 grams of coffee for every 6-ounce cup you brew. Most baristas suggest between 1:16 and 1:19 coffee-to-water ratio for a great tasting pour over coffee. 

These ratios may be perfect to some, but you can experiment with different ratios to find out how you want to brew your pour over coffee. 

To find out how many grams of water for each gram of coffee you need to brew pour over, start with a standard ratio and make some adjustments from there. Try different ratios to know what tastes best for you and what works best with each coffee.

I recommend starting with 1:16 when brewing pour over. I have a simple chart to find out how much coffee to use for your cup size below.

How does a coffee’s roast level impact your pour over coffee ratio?

Light roast coffees are more dense and therefore harder to extract. As such, I recommend using more water (1:16 – 1:17 ratio) with light roasted coffees to increase the extraction. Conversely, dark roast coffees are less dense and extract more easily. As such, I recommend using less water (1:14 – 1:15) with dark roasted coffees to make sure you do not over-extract your coffee.

Coffee-to-Water Ratio Chart for Pour Over Voffee

Coffee (grams)1:15 Water (grams)1:16 Water (grams)1:17 Water (grams)

General Pour Over Ratio Rule to Remember

As a general rule, remember to use 1 gram of ground coffee beans for every 16 to 17 ml of water. Using a scale is best for pour over coffee to make sure you hit the appropriate ratios when brewing. If you are in a pinch without a scale though, 3 tablespoons ground coffee per 8oz of water is a close approximation of the 1:16 ratio. 

The Bottom Line

Pour over brewing is complex, but the results can lead to some of the best coffee you can make at home. Use this guide above to find your perfect pour over coffee to water ratio. Everyone likes their coffee differently too, so feel free to experiment with different pour over coffee to water ratios to see how it impacts the final cup. Use my recommendation as a starting point to find the ratio which best suits your taste buds. Happy Brewing!

Free Download

Download the free, printable coffee brew guide cheatsheet

  • Quick reference for ratios, water temp & brew times
  • 8 brew methods including chemex, V60, aeropress & more
  • Serving sizes and tips for each brew method
The Coffee Brew Guide Cheatsheet preview