How many cups are in a pound of dry coffee grounds?

Quick Answer

There are approximately 28-32 cups in a pound (16 oz) of dry coffee grounds, depending on how finely the coffee is ground and how you define a “cup” of brewed coffee. Generally speaking:

  • Finely ground coffee yields around 32 cups per pound.
  • Medium ground coffee yields around 30 cups per pound.
  • Coarsely ground coffee yields around 28 cups per pound.

What is Considered a “Cup” of Coffee?

When estimating cups per pound, the “cup” refers to a 6 oz serving size of brewed coffee, not an actual 8 oz measuring cup.

A standard “cup” of coffee is generally considered to be 6 fluid ounces. However, some specialty coffee shops may define a “cup” as 8-12 oz. The typical 6 oz serving contains approximately 75-90 mg of caffeine.

Cup Sizes

Cup Size Fluid Ounces
Small 8 oz
Medium 12 oz
Large 16 oz

As you can see, a “small” cup at many coffee shops is actually larger than the standard 6 oz reference size. This is important to keep in mind when estimating cups per pound.

How Grind Size Affects Cups per Pound

The coarseness or fineness of the coffee grind makes a big difference in how many cups you can get per pound. Finer grinds have more surface area exposed, allowing for more efficient extraction of flavor and oils during brewing. This means you use less grounds per cup.

On the other hand, coarser grinds have less surface area so you need more grounds to extract a robust cup of coffee.

Here is a general guide to cups per pound based on grind size:

Grind Size Cups per Pound
Fine 32
Medium 30
Coarse 28

As you can see, finer grinds yield up to 4 more cups per pound compared to coarser grinds.

Typical Grind Sizes

  • Fine – Powdery texture, feels like flour when rubbed between fingers
  • Medium – Gritty, slightly chunky texture, finer than table salt
  • Coarse – Noticeably gritty and chunky, about the size of kosher salt grains

The grind you choose depends on the brew method. Drip coffee makers require a medium grind, while French press and cold brew require a coarser grind. Espresso machines need a very fine powder-like grind.

Measuring Coffee Grounds

When measuring out coffee grounds, you should not actually pack the grounds into the measuring spoon or cup. Instead, use a heaping spoonful without compressing the grounds.

Packing the grounds increases their density, meaning you’ll use more grounds per cup and get fewer cups per pound.

Volume vs Weight

For even more precision, weighing your coffee grounds is better than measuring by volume. Using a digital kitchen scale gives you an exact weight in grams or ounces.

For example, the standard coffee-to-water ratio is around 1-2 tablespoons (5-10 grams) of grounds per 6 oz of water. Weighing the grounds makes it easy to stay within the ideal ratio for the number of cups brewed. Volume measurements can vary in density and throw off your ratios.

Brewing Methods and Cups per Pound

While grind size is the main factor affecting cups per pound, the actual brewing method also plays a role. Different techniques extract different amounts of coffee solubles from the grounds.

Here is a comparison of common brew methods and average cups per pound yield:

Brew Method Cups per Pound
Drip machine 28-32
Pour over 30-34
French press 24-28
Cold brew 28-32
Percolator 24-28
Espresso 30-36

Drip coffee, pour over, and cold brew methods yield more cups per pound since they fully saturate the grounds during brewing.

French press and percolator produce fewer cups since the grounds are partially submerged and have less extraction.

Espresso is on the higher end due to the high pressure and very fine grind size.

Factors That Reduce Cups per Pound

While the average range is 28-32 cups per pound, certain factors can reduce the yield:

  • Very coarse grind size – Larger grounds have less surface area exposed to the brewing liquid.
  • Dark roasts – Roasting reduces the bean’s mass, resulting in less brewed coffee per pound.
  • Oily beans – Oil coating on dark roasted beans can actually repel water instead of extracting.
  • Hard water – Mineral deposits from tap water can coat the grounds and hamper extraction.
  • Reusing grounds – Previously brewed grounds lose flavor and extract less on subsequent uses.
  • Weak coffee ratio – Using too many grounds and not enough water overextracts, wasting the grounds.

To maximize cups per pound, use a medium fine grind, medium roast beans, filtered water, and the proper coffee-to-water ratio for the brew method.

Tips for Yielding More Cups Per Pound

Here are some useful tips to help you get the maximum number of cups out of each pound of coffee:

  • Start with freshly roasted beans, ideally within 2 weeks after roasting.
  • Use a burr grinder or ask your local roaster for a medium grind.
  • Measure the grounds by weight instead of volume for accuracy.
  • Use filtered or bottled water if you have hard tap water.
  • Rinse paper filters with hot water before brewing to remove paper taste.
  • Clean coffee maker regularly to prevent mineral buildup.
  • Stop the brewing when you hit the target volume – don’t overextract.
  • Store unused coffee grounds in a sealed, airtight container.

Following these best practices allows you to dial in the perfect grind size, coffee-to-water ratio, and extraction time or volume to maximize flavor and cups per pound.

Cups Per Pound for Other Beverages

While we’ve focused on brewed coffee, you can also use coffee grounds to make espresso drinks and cold coffee beverages. Here’s how many servings you can get per pound:

Espresso drinks:

  • Regular shots: 32-36 (1 oz per shot)
  • Doppio shots: 16-18 (2 oz per shot)
  • Lattes/cappuccinos: 16-18 (8 oz each)

Cold coffee drinks:

  • Cold brew concentrate: 8-12 (16 oz servings)
  • Iced coffee: 28-36 (12 oz servings)
  • Frozen blended: 24-32 (16 oz servings)

So while you get less volume compared to drip coffee, you can still make a high number of specialty drinks with a pound of coffee. Just adjust the grind size and dosage for the particular brew method.

Cost Savings from Making Your Own

Brewing your own coffee at home instead of buying it in shops can lead to huge savings over time. Let’s compare costs based on 32 cups per pound:

Drink Shop Price Homebrew Cost Savings %
Drip coffee $3 $0.22 93%
Latte $4 $0.26 94%
Cold brew $5 $0.31 94%

As you can see, making coffee drinks at home with your own grounds saves 90% or more compared to buying every cup from cafes and coffee shops!

Finding Your Ideal Dosage and Cups per Pound

While general guidelines for cups per pound are helpful, you’ll need to experiment with your specific equipment, grind size, and taste preferences to find your ideal coffee-to-water ratio and yield.

Here are some tips for dialing in your perfect dosage and maximizing cups per pound:

  • Start with the standard recipe ratios for your brew method.
  • Adjust the grind coarser or finer to achieve the target brew time.
  • Aim for a brew time of 4-5 minutes for drip machines and pour over.
  • Taste and adjust the coffee dosage up or down by 0.5-1 tablespoon per 6 oz cup.
  • Stop when you find the lowest dosage that still delivers your desired flavor.
  • Consider effects of freshness, roast level, origin, and water quality.
  • Take detailed notes so you can replicate your perfect cup.

Don’t be afraid to experiment and dial in the grind size, water ratio, contact time, and dosage that perfectly suits your tastebuds. Finding your coffee’s sweet spot yields maximum cups per pound and delicious flavor.

Common Coffee Measurements

To summarize, here are some handy reference points for coffee measurements:

  • 1 pound (lb) = 16 ounces (oz) = 453 grams (g)
  • 1 cup (brewed) = 6-8 fluid ounces (fl oz)
  • 1 tablespoon (grounds) = 5-8 grams = ~1/2 ounce
  • Medium grind = ~30 cups per pound
  • Tablespoon-to-water ratio = 1:6 to 1:8 (1 tbsp per 6-8 oz water)

You can use these approximations to estimate how many cups or drinks you can make from the amount of coffee you buy. Just adjust the measurements based on your specific grind size, brew method, and taste preferences.


So how many cups come from a pound of coffee? The general range is 28-32 cups per 16 oz pound, but you can maximize the yield by using:

  • A medium grind size
  • The right coffee-to-water ratio for your brew method
  • Filtered water
  • Freshly roasted beans
  • Proper brewing procedures

Knowing the average cups per pound helps you plan your coffee usage and budget. But experimenting to find your personal ideal coffee dosage based on flavor and strength is key to yield consistent cups of joy from every bag of grounds.

Leave a Comment