How many tablespoons of coffee do you use per cup?

When brewing coffee at home, the amount of coffee you use per cup comes down to personal preference. However, there are some general guidelines you can follow to help determine the right amount of coffee for your taste.

Quick Answer

The typical range for tablespoons of ground coffee per 6 oz cup is 1 to 2 tablespoons. Using 2 tablespoons per 6 oz cup will produce a stronger, bolder cup of coffee.

Measuring Coffee

Coffee measurements can be confusing because there are two main ways to measure coffee:

  • By weight (grams or ounces)
  • By volume (tablespoons or cups)

Weight measurements are more accurate, since teaspoons and tablespoons of coffee can vary in density and fill level. But volume measurements using spoons are more convenient for home brewing.

Here are some approximate conversions between weights and volume measurements:

Measurement Grams
1 tablespoon ground coffee 5 grams
2 tablespoons ground coffee (1/8 cup) 10 grams
1/4 cup ground coffee 28 grams
1/3 cup ground coffee 40 grams
1/2 cup ground coffee 56 grams
1 cup ground coffee 112 grams

As you can see, 2 tablespoons or 1/8 cup of ground coffee is approximately 10 grams. This is a good reference point for calculating how much coffee to use per cup.

Factors That Affect Coffee Measurement

There are a few key factors that determine how much coffee you need per cup:

  • Cup size – The standard coffee cup size is 6 oz. But cup sizes can range from 4 oz up to 12 oz or more. The amount of coffee should be adjusted accordingly.
  • Brewing method – Different brewing methods use different recommended coffee ratios. Drip coffee makers often use 1 Tbsp per 6 oz. French press or pour over methods may use up to 1 1/2 to 2 Tbsp per 6 oz.
  • Desired strength – Personal taste for strength is a major factor. More coffee produces a stronger, bolder cup.
  • Bean type – Darker roasts are more concentrated in flavor than lighter roasts. So you may need less dark roast per cup.
  • Grind size – Finer grinds extract more flavor, so you may need less ground coffee if using an espresso grind vs. a coarse drip grind.
  • Water temperature – Hotter water extracts more flavor from the coffee grounds. Cooler water requires more grounds.

So the amount of coffee needed can vary based on all these factors. Let’s look at some general coffee to water ratios.

Standard Coffee Measurement Guidelines

Here are some typical coffee to water ratios used for common household brewing methods:

Brew Method Coffee to Water Ratio
Drip Machine 1-2 Tbsp ground coffee per 6 oz water (1:15 to 1:10 ratio)
Pour Over 1 1/2-2 Tbsp ground coffee per 6 oz water (1:11 to 1:15 ratio)
French Press 2 Tbsp ground coffee per 6 oz water (1:10 ratio)
Cold Brew 1/2 to 1 cup ground coffee per 4 cups water (1:8 to 1:4 ratio)
Espresso 1/3 cup ground coffee makes 2 shots of espresso (1:2 ratio)

Let’s look at some of the most common methods and their coffee requirements in more detail.

Drip Coffee Makers

Auto-drip coffee makers are a convenient, easy way to make coffee at home. They require a relatively low coffee to water ratio compared to other manual brewing methods.

The typical recommendation for drip coffee machines is to use 1-2 tablespoons ground coffee per 6 ounces of water. This produces a ratio of about 1:15 to 1:10 coffee to water.

So for a standard 10-12 cup coffee pot, which makes 60-72 ounces of coffee, you would use between 6-12 tablespoons of ground coffee. That equals approximately 3/4 cup to 1 1/4 cups ground coffee.

Use the lower 1 tablespoon per 6 oz ratio if you want a milder coffee. And use 2 tablespoons for bolder coffee. You can adjust within this range based on your preferred strength.

Pour Over Coffee

Manual pour over coffee methods like the V60 and Chemex have become popular for people wanting more control over the brewing process. Pour over requires a higher coffee to water ratio than drip.

The typical recommendation is 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons coffee per 6 oz water. This produces a ratio of around 1:11 to 1:15 coffee to water.

So for a 16 oz pour over like a Chemex, use about 3 to 4 tablespoons ground coffee. You can adjust the amount within this range to control the flavor and strength.

French Press Coffee

French press coffee uses an even higher concentration of coffee grounds to hot water. This produces the bold, robust flavor French press coffee is known for.

For French press, the standard coffee to water ratio is 2 tablespoons ground coffee per 6 oz hot water. This is a ratio of about 1:10.

So for a typical 4 cup (32 oz) French press, use 1/4 cup of ground coffee. You can reduce to 3 tablespoons per 6 oz if you want a slightly milder brew.

Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew coffee is brewed slowly in cold or room temperature water. It requires a higher coffee ratio since the cold water does not extract as much flavor and caffeine from the grounds.

A typical cold brew ratio is between 1:4 to 1:8 coffee to water. So for a 32 oz cold brew batch, use anywhere from 4 to 8 ounces ground coffee, which equals 1/2 cup to 1 cup.

Just keep in mind cold brew made with higher ratios like 1:4 or 1:5 will produce a very potent concentrate. Dilute it with water or milk before drinking straight.

How Should You Measure Coffee?

For the most precise coffee measurements, weighing your grounds is recommended. You can use a kitchen scale to measure out exact gram weights.

However, this is less practical for daily home brewing. Volume measurements with measuring spoons are much more convenient and sufficiently accurate.

Make sure to level off the tablespoons of coffee without packing or tamping down. And use standard metal tablespoons, not oversized soupspoon types which can be up to 20% larger.

Measuring your water precisely is also helpful for accuracy. Use liquid measuring cups and aim for the stated brewing capacity of your coffee maker or brew method.

Start With Coffee Manufacturer’s Directions

Coffee bean packages will usually provide a recommended measurement of coffee per 6 oz cup or number of cups. This is based on their testing of what they feel produces the optimal flavor.

For example, a 12 oz bag of beans may say to use 1 tablespoon per 6 oz cup. Or it may indicate the bag makes 24 6-oz servings. This is a good starting point to fine tune from.

Just keep in mind most major brands lean towards lighter, milder coffee. You can increase their measurements for stronger coffee.

Adjust to Taste and Preference

The most important factor is your individual taste for coffee strength. Don’t be afraid to experiment and dial in the perfect ratio for you.

Try making a pot using the standard 1-2 Tbsp per 6 oz cup guideline for your brew method. Taste it and decide if you want to adjust up or down from there.

Making small adjustments like 1/2 tablespoon per cup is enough to notice a difference. Pay attention to the flavor and concentration when you change the amount of coffee.

Over time you’ll find your ideal coffee to water ratio for the flavor profile you prefer. This may also vary for different coffee beans and roast styles.

Tips for Consistent Measurement

For best results, keep these tips in mind when measuring coffee:

  • Use the same coffee cup or traveling mug each time to be consistent.
  • Always use level tablespoons without packing or tamping down grounds.
  • Don’t heap or overfill the tablespoons of coffee.
  • Regularly calibrate your coffee maker water with a measuring cup.
  • Clean your coffee maker regularly to prevent buildup affecting brewing.
  • Grind beans fresh before brewing if possible for optimum flavor.
  • Be consistent with your grind size – fine for espresso, medium-coarse for drip.
  • Use filtered water if possible for better tasting coffee.
  • Rinse paper filters before adding coffee to remove paper taste.

Common Coffee Measurement Questions

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about measuring coffee:

How much coffee for a 10 cup pot?

For a standard 10 cup drip coffee maker that makes 60 oz, use 10-20 tablespoons of ground coffee. This equals about 2/3 cup to 1 1/4 cup based on 1-2 Tbsp per 6 oz cup.

How much coffee for a 30 oz French press?

For a 30 oz (3 3/4 cup) French press, use 6 tablespoons of ground coffee, based on 2 Tbsp per 6 oz ratio.

How much coffee for a 8 cup percolator?

For an 8 cup stove top percolator, use 8-16 tablespoons of ground coffee depending on desired strength. The cups are usually 4-5 oz each, so 8 cups is 32-40 oz water.

How much ground coffee for a 5 quart coffee maker?

A 5 quart coffee maker makes 20 cups at 5 oz per cup, so 100 oz total. Use 20-40 tablespoons ground coffee, equivalent to 1 1/4 cups to 2 1/2 cups.

How much coffee for a Keurig K-Cup pod?

K-Cups come pre-measured with about 10-12 grams coffee. This is approximately 2 tablespoons ground coffee per 10 oz K-Cup.

How much Starbucks ground coffee per cup?

Starbucks coffee packages recommend 2 rounded tablespoons (11 grams) for a 6 oz cup using their pre-ground beans. Their coffee is slightly more concentrated than average.

Coffee Measurement Charts

For quick reference, here are some coffee measurement charts based on common cup sizes and brew methods:

Tablespoons Coffee per Cup

Cup Size Tablespoons Coffee
4 oz 1 Tbsp
6 oz (Standard) 1-2 Tbsp
8 oz 1 1/2-3 Tbsp
10 oz 2-4 Tbsp
12 oz 3-5 Tbsp

Tablespoons Coffee for Common Brew Sizes

Brew Amount Tablespoons Coffee
2 Cups (12 oz) 3-5 Tbsp
4 Cups (24 oz) 6-10 Tbsp
8 Cups (48 oz) 12-20 Tbsp
10 Cups (60 oz) 15-25 Tbsp
12 Cups (72 oz) 18-30 Tbsp


To summarize, while coffee measurements depend on personal taste, the typical range is 1-2 tablespoons ground coffee per 6 oz cup. Use 1 Tbsp for mild coffee or up to 2 Tbsp for bolder coffee.

Adjust the amount within this guideline based on your coffee maker brewing capacity, preferred strength, bean type and grind size.

Measuring with tablespoons and regular calibration of your coffee maker will help ensure a consistent, optimal cup of coffee using your desired coffee to water ratio.

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