Pour over coffee has become an increasingly popular brew method among specialty coffee drinkers. Unlike automated drip machines, pour over allows coffee aficionados to have full control over the brewing variables – from water temperature to flow rate to brew time. This results in a deliciously nuanced cup of coffee that highlights the subtle flavors and aromas of high quality coffee beans.
One of the key variables in pour over coffee is the dose – how much ground coffee is used in relation to the amount of water. This affects the flavor, balance, and strength of the final brew. But how many grams of coffee should you use for a proper pour over? Let’s take a closer look.
What is the Standard Dose?
The standard coffee to water ratio for pour over is 1g of coffee for every 15-17g of water. This corresponds to about 60g of coffee for a 1 liter pour over. So if you’re brewing a single 300-350ml cup using a V60 or Kalita Wave, aim for about 20g of freshly ground coffee. This 1:15-1:17 ratio hits the sweet spot between under-extracted and over-extracted coffee for most light or medium roast specialty beans. It results in a balanced, flavorful cup.
However, the ideal dose can vary based on factors like your taste preferences, the coffee beans, and your specific brewing setup. So the standard 1:15-1:17 ratio should be seen as a starting point or general guideline rather than a hard and fast rule.
Factors That Affect Ideal Dose
Several key factors impact how much coffee you should use for pour over:
Lighter roasts are denser than darker roasts, requiring more coffee grounds to achieve proper extraction. Aim for a 1:15 ratio or lower when brewing light roasts, and a 1:17 ratio or higher for dark roasts.
Coffees from different origins have their own solubility levels based on their unique flavor profiles. For example, Central American coffees are more soluble and can be brewed at a higher ratio of around 1:17. East African coffees are less soluble, often requiring more coffee and lower ratios like 1:14 or 1:15 for optimal extraction.
The grind size significantly impacts extraction. Generally, the finer the grind, the more resistance the water will meet when passing through the coffee bed. This increases contact time and extraction from the grounds. With a finer grind, you can use a little less coffee. Coarser grinds require more coffee to achieve the target brew strength.
Different pour over drippers have different designs that affect brewing flow rate and extraction. Immersion-style brewers like the Osaka enable very high extractions, allowing you to use fewer grounds. Percolation-style brewers like the V60 result in lower extraction, so you need to use more coffee to reach optimal strength.
Hotter water leads to higher extraction, while lower temperatures result in less dissolved solids. If brewing with water off the boil, consider using a little less coffee. When brewing with water around 90°C, use a slightly higher dose.
Some coffee drinkers simply prefer stronger or weaker coffee independent of other factors. If you like robust, intense coffee, consider dosing on the higher side. For a lighter, cleaner cup, dose on the lower end. The key is dialling in the ratio that matches your personal tastes.
Best Practices for Dosing
To determine your ideal dose for pour over:
Start with the standard 1:15-1:17 ratio
Use 60g coffee per 1 liter water as your baseline for dialing in. This balances sweetness and acidity for most coffees.
Adjust based on coffee density
Use a little more coffee for lighter roasts and a little less for darker roasts. Lighter roasts often work best around 1:15.
Consider your coffee’s origin
Some origins require higher or lower ratios to optimize flavor. Central Americans can handle 1:17 while East Africans often need 1:15 or lower.
Match grind size to ratio
Aim for 1:15 with finer grinds and 1:17 with coarser grinds as a starting point.
Account for your brewer
More immersion-style brewers allow less coffee. Percolation drippers need higher doses.
Brew and taste
Evaluate the flavor and strength and continue adjusting dose until you reach your preferred profile.
Take detailed notes
Record coffee amount, grind setting, brew time, and taste impressions to replicate results.
Ideal Dose Examples
To give you a better idea of real-world doses, here are some examples based on different factors:
20g coffee for 300ml water (1:15 ratio)
– Medium-light Guatemalan coffee
– V60 brewer
– Medium-fine grind
– Water just off boil
This standard dose works well for a medium roast Central American coffee on a V60 using a medium grind and hot water.
18g coffee for 300ml water (1:16 ratio)
– Light roast Ethiopian coffee
– Kalita 155 brewer
– Medium grind size
– 90°C water
The light roast, less soluble bean, and lower water temperature call for a slightly lower dose.
22g coffee for 300ml water (1:13 ratio)
– Medium roast Kenyan coffee
– V60 brewer
– Coarse grind size
– 95°C water
The high elevation bean, coarse grind, and lower temperature requires more coffee to avoid weak flavor.
24g coffee for 300ml water (1:12 ratio)
– Light roast Colombian coffee
– Osaka brewer
– Fine grind
– Water off boil
The Osaka’s immersion allows for a lower dose with light roast, while the fine grind keeps extraction high.
Weighing Coffee Precisely
To achieve consistency with your pour over coffee, it’s important to carefully measure your dose by weight. Here are some tips:
Use a gram scale
Invest in a good 0.1g resolution digital pocket scale. This will enable you to precisely hit target weights.
Whole bean vs ground
You can measure either whole beans or grounds, but measuring grounds eliminates a variable.
Scales can be inaccurate when cold. Turn on your scale and give it a few minutes before weighing.
Use a gram measuring vessel
Weigh an empty vessel, tare, then add grounds until hitting your target weight.
Level off grounds
Gently shake or tap the vessel to level off grounds before locking in final weight.
Check each time
Weigh your dose every time rather than going by volume or scoops.
Keep your scale clean and dry to maintain consistent readings over time.
Replace scale batteries
Use fresh batteries to prevent erratic weights.
Common Dose Ranges
While the 1:15-1:17 ratio is a typical starting point, taste, brew method, and other factors can lead to a wide range of successful doses. Here are some common dosing ranges:
15-18g coffee for a 250ml brew
Ideal for a small single cup using a brewer like the Hario V60 01. Allows tasting a wider range of coffees.
25-30g coffee for a 400ml brew
A moderate dose for a standard mug or personal carafe using a brewer like the Kalita Wave 185.
40-50g coffee for a 600ml brew
For a larger pour over like making a Chemex for two people to share.
50-70g coffee for an 800ml brew
On the higher end for batch brewing or making coffee for a group using a brewer like the Hario V60 02 or 03.
80-100g coffee for a 1 liter brew
For the classic 60:1 liter ratio pour over to make coffee for a crowd. Use a brewer like the Chemex 8-cup.
The dose you select within each range depends on your specific brew parameters and taste goals. But these provide a rough guide on typical amounts.
Troubleshooting Dose Issues
Dialing in the right coffee dose for your pour over takes trial and error. Here are some troubleshooting tips if you encounter issues:
Brew too weak?
Increase dose to strengthen. Aim for 1:14 ratio or lower.
Brew too strong?
Lower dose and move towards a 1:18+ ratio.
Brew sour or acidic?
Try less coffee to avoid over-extraction.
Brew bitter or astringent?
Use more coffee to balance acidity.
Brew lacks sweetness?
Add a gram or two to bring out origin character.
Brew muddied or flat?
Reduce dose slightly to clean up flavor.
Brew time too fast?
Add coffee to increase resistance and slow flow.
Brew time too slow?
Use less coffee to speed up flow rate.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to some common questions about dosing for pour over coffee:
Why weigh coffee instead of using scoops or cups?
Weight is more precise and consistent than volume which varies by factors like bean density and grind size. A scale takes the guesswork out.
How important is the coffee to water ratio?
The ratio has a huge impact on flavor balance and strength. Even being off by 1-2g can make a noticeable difference in taste.
How fine should the grind be for pour over?
Aim for a medium grind about the texture of kosher salt. Adjust from there based on your ratio and recipe. Too fine can cause clogging.
Does brew time affect how much coffee to use?
Yes, a faster brew time may call for a higher dose to achieve proper extraction. Slow brews can use less coffee.
Should you change dose with different roast levels?
Absolutely. Lighter roasts are denser. Dark roasts are less dense. Vary dose 1-3g to compensate.
– For pour over coffee, a good starting point is 1g of coffee for every 15-17g of water. This equals about 20g coffee for a 300ml cup.
– Lighter roasts, East African beans, finer grinds, and percolation brewers call for higher doses. Darker roasts, Central Americans, coarse grinds, and immersion brewers use less.
– Weigh doses precisely using a gram scale, adjust to your taste preferences, and take detailed brew notes.
– Common doses range from 15-100g depending on number of cups and brew size.
– If coffee is too weak, increase dose. If too strong, decrease dose. Adjust by 1-2g increments.
– The ratio has a significant impact on flavor. Carefully dialing in dose is key to pour over excellence.