How Much Coffee Bean Per Cup to Make That Perfect Coffee? The Measuring Guide

Making the perfect cup of coffee is almost like an art. Too many coffee beans can make your coffee taste bitter, while not enough will make your brew taste nothing like coffee.

A lot goes into making the perfect coffee, from measuring the beans to the right coffee-to-water ratio and the brewing process. You don’t have to depend on a barista at the coffee shop to serve you a satisfyingly perfect brew anymore.

Read on to know how much coffee bean per cup makes the perfect brew, whether you use a French press, drip coffee machine, pour-over, Moka pots, or even espresso.

Measure Coffee Beans

Many factors go into making the perfect coffee, with the measurement of coffee beans being vital. Generally, an average of 90 – 150 beans would suffice for a 12 oz cup of coffee.

This depends on the coffee type, the serving size, brew method, and grind level. Here’s how you can measure whole coffee beans for a consistently good brew:

With a Digital Kitchen Scale

A digital kitchen scale is an easiest and most precise way to measure coffee beans.

Most scales feature a button labeled ‘tare’ that zeros out the weight of the measuring container; this gives an accurate reading. If your kitchen scale doesn’t have this feature, note the container’s weight first and subtract it from the final measurement.

You’ll need 2 tablespoons of coffee grounds for every 8 oz of coffee. That amounts to 10.6 grams or 0.38 oz of whole coffee beans.

  • Place the empty container on the scale.
  • Press the tare/zero button to get the scale display back to zero.
  • Add coffee beans into the container and stop when you see the required display weight.
  • Put the beans into a grinder and get them to a medium grind for brewing in the coffee maker. Finely ground coffee beans will make a stronger brew.

Without a Digital Kitchen Scale

You can still measure coffee beans without a kitchen scale, in case you don’t have one.

Grind the beans to get at least 2 full tablespoons of ground coffee. Once you do, note how many tablespoons of coffee beans you used for it.

  • Grind about 4 tablespoons of coffee beans in a coffee bean grinder.
  • Ensure you have 2 even tablespoons of grounds for a cup of coffee. Then, adjust how much ground coffee you’ll need for more cups.
  • Keep adding more beans to get the required amount. Make a note of how many tablespoons of whole beans were used. Use this measure for every cup of coffee you make thereafter.

Tablespoons of Coffee: Ground Coffee vs. Coffee Beans

A common measurement standard in kitchens is the tablespoon and teaspoon. If you’re wondering how much coffee bean per cup is needed for a good, flavorful brew, you’ll need about 2 tablespoons of coffee grounds.

While a rounded tablespoon holds 18 grams of coffee, a level tablespoon holds about 12 grams. As with teaspoons, a rounded teaspoon holds approximately 6 grams of coffee, and a level teaspoon holds 3 grams. These are the measurements for ground coffee beans.

When you use a tablespoon to measure coffee beans, remember that a level tablespoon of whole coffee beans is approximately 5.3 grams. While a teaspoon of coffee beans weighs about 1.82 grams.

Coffee Scoops

The use of scoops for measuring coffee isn’t a very accurate technique. Typically, a scoop is considered as a single tablespoon of coffee.

Some coffee makers provide scoops that are equivalent to 2 tablespoons of coffee. If you’re using such a scoop and desire some strong coffee, you’ll require a level scoop for each cup you brew.

Regardless of the scoop that you use, you’ll need 2 tablespoons for a strong coffee.

If it’s a weaker cup of coffee that you want, you could use one scoop for every two cups or even half a scoop.

Water and Coffee Ratio

The golden ratio that makes the perfect brew is 1:18. Which means you must use 1 gram of coffee grounds for every 18 ml of water.

While this is a good ratio to start with, you can always experiment with more or less to tailor your brew to satisfy your coffee needs. Then, adjust the ratio accordingly, depending on how many cups of coffee you’d like to make.

Varying the ratio slightly will result in different strengths of brews:

  • 1:15 will taste bright and concentrated
  • 1:16 will taste bright and smooth
  • 1:17 will taste rounded and smooth
  • 1:18, which is the golden ratio, will taste rounded and lighter

Which is More Important: Bean Weight or Count?

Coffee beans measurement conversions can get very confusing with coffee packs being measured in weight while coffee is measured in volume.

The packs of coffee don’t tell you the volume or number of beans in them. Even the coffee-making process requires measuring the amount of coffee grounds by weight for each cup. The perfect coffee requires the right weights of coffee beans or coffee grounds.

This implies that weight is more important than volume for the perfect brew.

Factors That Affect How Much Coffee Bean Per Cup Makes a Perfect Coffee

There is no golden rule for how much coffee bean is required per cup; it depends on several factors.

Coffee Type

Apart from the variety of coffee beans, the shape, size, and weight also matter in measuring the beans. These factors determine how many beans you can use in your coffee maker for a cup of coffee.

Whole beans do weigh almost the same as ground beans, with the average weight of a roasted coffee bean being about 0.1 – 0.15 grams. This doesn’t apply to elephant beans (weighing approximately 0.4 grams per bean) or the smaller heirloom varieties.

Preferred Coffee Strength

How do you like your coffee? Do you prefer it strong, mild, or something in between? Based on the bean type or roast you prefer, how much coffee bean per cup is required varies accordingly.

While you could use fewer grounds if you find your coffee tasting too strong or use more if it’s too mild, this isn’t the recommended way of doing it.

Adding more coffee grounds might give your brew a robust flavor, but at the same time, it gets more acidic. The coffee gets acidic when the grounds haven’t had sufficient water to brew.

As weird as it may sound, using fewer coffee grounds actually gives a more robust coffee flavor. This is because there is more water exposure for the flavor to seep through.

Roast Level

Roasted coffee beans weigh at least 15 – 20% lighter than raw beans. Since coffee beans are measured by weight for brewed coffee, the roast level is essential in how many coffee beans are needed for a cup.

The longer the beans are roasted, the less they weigh. Roasting removes moisture, makes the beans less dense, and slightly modifies the bean’s structure. The more moisture is lost from coffee beans or grounds, the more coffee is needed for the brew.

Grind Level

If you grind the beans to a fine grind, you’ll get a stronger flavor since more surface area of the ground beans comes into contact with water. This releases more of the caramelized, floral notes of the bean into the brew.

Coarse-ground beans, on the other hand, make your coffee have a weaker flavor and less body. For making coffee using a filter, finely ground dark roast bean provides a more robust flavor.

Brewing Method

The choice of brewing method affects how much coffee bean per cup is needed for the perfect brew.


An espresso is a common beverage at a coffee shop or restaurant and can be pretty complex to whip up at home. Brewing an espresso has the most variables, hence more flexibility to brew.

With espresso brewing, it’s all about the yield rather than the amount of water used. This works in a 1:2 ratio, implying that if 18 grams of coffee is used, the average yield is about 36 grams.

A large amount of finely ground coffee beans are used and compressed tightly (a coffee puck) for a strong and intense flavor. When using an espresso machine, highly pressurized hot water is forced through the puck. This results in a small amount of strong, robust, and syrupy coffee.

French Press

In a French press, you place the coffee grounds in the beaker and add hot water. The plunger that has a filter keeps the grounds out of your cup. A steep time of 4 – 5 minutes is ideal for this brewing method.

The coffee to water ratio is 1:12 for a French press brew. That is equivalent to 18 grams (0.63 oz) of ground coffee (125 – 145 coffee beans) and 216 grams (7.62 oz) of water to make an 8 oz cup of coffee.

Coarsely ground beans are a good choice for French presses. The longer you let the grounds steep, the stronger the brew.

Cold Brew

Instead of hot water, a cold brew uses room temperature water. Using coarsely ground beans is ideal for cold brew. The coffee grounds must steep in the water for at least 12 – 24 hours, after which the grounds are filtered out.

An optimal coffee-to-water ratio of 1:8 makes an excellent cold brew. This means 40 grams (1.41 oz) of grounds (280 – 320 beans) and 320 grams (11.29 oz) of water.

The cold brew is either diluted in water or melting ice.

Drip Coffee Makers

A more common coffee-making device is the drip coffee machine, which either comes with in-built filters or requires a paper filter. The filter keeps the grounds from getting into the pot.

The recommended coffee-to-water ratio for coffee machines is 1:15. With medium ground beans being a good choice, about 24 grams (0.85 oz) of coffee (168 – 192 beans) will need about 360 grams (12.70 oz) of water for an 8 oz cup of coffee. The standard brew time is about 5 minutes.

Brew Great Coffee Any Time

Knowing how much coffee bean per cup is required to make the ideal coffee cup is a must-know. Here are some other tips to help you brew consistently great coffee in every attempt.

Use Freshly Roasted Beans

Coffee tastes best when used within a few days of being roasted. It would be better to buy freshly roasted coffee in modest quantities and preserve it well by storing it in airtight containers to maintain its freshness.

Visit your local coffee shop or roaster and ask for the freshest beans available. They’re quality-conscious and will provide coffee beans packaged in sturdy, vacuum-sealed bags.

Grind the Beans Just Before Brewing Coffee

Ideally, you must grind freshly roasted beans just before you brew coffee. Grinding the coffee to a uniform size is essential, preferably in a burr coffee grinder.

The size of the coffee grind significantly impacts the coffee flavor. Too coarse grinds will result in under-extraction, making your coffee taste bland. Extremely fine ground coffee might result in over-extraction, giving your coffee a harsh flavor.

The Right Water Temperature

For optimum extraction, the water temperature must be between 195 – 205 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees is ideal).

The extremely hot water extracts the coffee compounds that are more bitter than pleasant, while cooler water results in a low-extraction coffee. If you’re manually brewing your coffee, ensure the water boils completely, but don’t over-boil it.

The flavors of the brew start depleting soon. If you reheat, boil, or hold it on a warming platform for a prolonged time, even the best coffee will turn bitter and taste repulsive.

Final Thoughts

To answer the question of how much coffee bean per cup makes the perfect coffee, it’s about 160 beans. However, the bean type, brewing method, and roast levels impact this answer.

Besides the correct quantity of beans, using the proper coffee-to-water ratio is also essential for a good brew. You can adjust this accordingly for one or more cups of coffee or even for a stronger or milder flavor.

So now that you’re the wiser, go ahead and get your coffee beans out to make the perfectly balanced cuppa Joe.

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Jeff Stone
Jeff is a coffee aficionado. He loves a couple cups of joe first thing in the morning. He like trying out new grounds and gear and then writes about it here. When he is not sipping java, he is usually writing it for his clients as a software engineer.

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