How much ground coffee do you use for 2 cups of coffee?

When brewing coffee at home, one of the most common questions is how much ground coffee to use per cup. The exact amount can vary depending on factors like your brew method, coffee grind size, and personal taste preferences. As a general guideline, most coffee experts recommend using 2 tablespoons (10 grams) of ground coffee per 6 fluid ounces of water for standard drip coffee. For a typical mug size of 12 ounces, that equates to about 4 tablespoons or 20 grams of coffee.

Quick Answer

For 2 cups or mugs of coffee (24 oz total), use about 4-5 tablespoons (40-50 grams) of ground coffee. This amount creates a ratio of approximately 1 tablespoon ground coffee per 3 ounces of water, which is within the ideal range for a nicely extracted and balanced cup of drip coffee. Adjust the amount based on your coffee’s flavor and strength preferences.

The Importance of Coffee-to-Water Ratio

The basic coffee-to-water ratio is one of the most important factors for brewing tasty coffee at home. Using the proper proportions helps extract the best flavor from the beans, leading to a brew that is well-balanced and not overly weak or strong. The Specialty Coffee Association of America recommends using 55-60 grams of coffee per liter of water as a starting point. For imperial measurements, that equates to about 1 tablespoon of ground coffee (5 grams) per 5 ounces of water.

Coffee connoisseurs will tweak and adjust their ratios based on factors like brew method, roast type, and personal preference. But for most casual coffee drinkers, sticking close to a 1:5 or 1:6 coffee-to-water ratio will produce an optimally extracted cup.

Ideal Ratio for Drip Coffee

For automatic drip coffee makers, the ideal ratio is usually in the range of 1:15 to 1:17. This means using 1 tablespoon of ground coffee for every 8-10 ounces of water, or about 1 tablespoon per mug. With this ratio, you can expect a properly extracted cup with full coffee flavor that isn’t too weak or overpoweringly strong.

Ideal Ratio for Pour Over Coffee

With manual pour over coffee, you have more control over the brewing process. A slightly higher coffee-to-water ratio often improves the extraction and flavor. Many experts recommend using 60-70 grams of coffee per liter of water. In cup measurements, that equates to about 1 tablespoon of ground coffee per 5-6 ounces of water.

Ideal Ratio for French Press

French press coffee requires a slightly coarser grind size. Because of the longer brew time, a lower coffee-to-water ratio of around 1:10 to 1:12 is often recommended. This produces a relatively strong, bold coffee that won’t become over-extracted and bitter.

How Much Ground Coffee for 2 Cups?

Using the typical coffee-to-water ratios above, here are some general recommendations for how much ground coffee to use when brewing 2 cups or mugs of coffee:

  • For drip coffee: Use 4 level tablespoons (20 grams) of ground coffee
  • For pour over: Use about 5 tablespoons (25 grams) of ground coffee
  • For French press: Use 3 to 4 tablespoons (15-20 grams) of ground coffee

These amounts create a coffee-to-water ratio of around 1:6 to 1:7, which is ideal for most 2 cup brewing methods. You can adjust the amount of coffee up or down slightly if you prefer a stronger or milder flavor.

Should You Adjust for Coffee Strength?

Besides the basic coffee-to-water ratio, you can also adjust your amount of ground coffee based on how strong you like your brewed coffee. Here are some tips:

For stronger coffee:

  • Add an extra tablespoon of ground coffee
  • Opt for a slightly lower water-to-coffee ratio, like 1:5
  • Choose a darker roast, like French or Italian roast

For milder coffee:

  • Use slightly less ground coffee, like 3 tablespoons for 2 cups
  • Increase the water-to-coffee ratio to 1:8 or 1:9
  • Choose a lighter roast, like breakfast or Colombian roast

Keep in mind that dissolving more ground coffee does not always translate to stronger coffee. If you use too much, it can over-extract and taste bitter. Finding the ideal amount for your tastes may take some trial and error.

Does Grind Size Matter?

In addition to the amount of coffee used, the grind size can significantly impact flavor. Generally, the finer the grind size, the more surface area is exposed, leading to faster extraction. Finer grinds require a lower coffee-to-water ratio, while coarser grinds allow you to use more coffee. Here are some grind size guidelines:

Fine grind:

  • Better suited for espresso, moka pot, AeroPress
  • Extracts faster, can lead to over-extraction
  • Lower water-to-coffee ratio recommended

Medium grind:

  • Works well for drip machines, pour over
  • Allows good extraction and balanced flavor
  • Use typical 1:15 to 1:17 ratio

Coarse grind:

  • Recommended for French press, cold brew
  • Slows down extraction, allows more coffee
  • Use a lower ratio around 1:10 to 1:12

A medium or coarse grind is best for common home brewing methods. Always match the grind size to your brew method and adjust the amount of coffee accordingly. An improper grind can lead to under or over-extraction.

Other Factors That Affect Coffee Flavor

While the coffee-to-water ratio is crucial, there are other variables that impact the flavor and strength of your brew:

Water quality:

Pure, clean-tasting water allows the full flavors of coffee to shine. Hard water can negatively affect extraction.

Water temperature:

Ideally 195-205°F. Colder water results in under-extraction.

Brew time:

Time exposed to water affects extraction. Espresso is short; French press is longer.


Fresher beans are able to extract more solubles. Stale coffee can taste flat.

Roast date:

Darker roasts are often perceived as stronger flavor. Light roasts highlight origin characteristics.

Coffee origin:

Coffees from various growing regions have different flavor profiles and density.

Tips for Brewing 2 Cups of Coffee

Here are some additional tips when brewing coffee for 2 servings:

  • Measure everything carefully for consistency: coffee, water, grind size
  • Clean equipment and coffee maker to prevent buildup affecting taste
  • Pre-heat any carafes, filters, press pots to optimal temperature
  • For automatic drip, select the small batch or half-pot setting
  • For pour over, use a smaller brewer like V60 or Kalita Wave
  • Grind beans fresh right before brewing for full flavor
  • Customize strength using an amount that suits your tastes
  • Store any leftover coffee in an airtight container away from heat and light

Sample Ratios for Common Brew Methods

Here are some typical coffee-to-water ratios and tablespoon amounts for various brewing methods when making 2 cups of coffee:

Brew Method Coffee-to-Water Ratio Tablespoons for 2 Cups
Drip 1:15 to 1:17 4
Pour over 1:5 to 1:6 5
French press 1:10 to 1:12 3 to 4
Cold brew 1:4 to 1:6 6 to 8
Espresso 1:1 to 1:2 2 shots

Common Coffee Measurements

Here are some handy equivalencies for measuring ground coffee:

  • 1 tablespoon ground coffee = 5 grams
  • 2 tablespoons = 10 grams
  • 3 tablespoons = 15 grams
  • 4 tablespoons = 20 grams
  • 1 cup (volume) = 80 to 85 grams
  • 1 ounce (weight) = 28 grams
  • 15 grams = about 1 tablespoon
  • 30 grams = about 2 tablespoons

For simplicity, it’s often easier to think in terms of tablespoons. But using a small scale to weigh coffee allows more precision and consistency.

Should You Use a Coffee Scale?

While measuring ground coffee by the tablespoon is convenient and straightforward, using a digital coffee scale offers more accuracy. This helps remove some of the guesswork and variability when trying to hone in your perfect brew.

Benefits of using a coffee scale include:

  • Weighs coffee and water to the exact gram
  • Improves consistency from one brew to the next
  • Allows you to perfectly dial in your preferred strength
  • Eliminates some pourover guesswork and variability
  • Good option if you don’t have measuring spoons

Scales are inexpensive and widely available. Many models designed for coffee feature a built-in timer and come in a compact size. For most home brewing, a scale with 0.1 gram accuracy provides enough precision.


Does more ground coffee mean stronger coffee?

Not necessarily. Using too much coffee can over-extract and create bitter flavors. The proper coffee-to-water ratio is key to optimal extraction and full flavor. Focus on dialing in the right proportions rather than simply adding more coffee.

Can you reuse coffee grounds?

It’s not recommended. Used coffee grounds will contain fewer flavorful oils and soluble nutrients. This can result in weak, bitter, or off-tasting coffee. For the best quality and taste, make a fresh batch using new ground coffee.

Does coffee grind size affect strength?

Yes, grind size impacts extraction and overall coffee strength. Finer grinds brew faster and can create stronger coffee (but risk over-extraction). Coarse grinds slow down extraction, allowing you to use more coffee per cup.

How do you make your coffee stronger?

To boost coffee strength, try using a slightly higher ratio of ground coffee to water. Choose a darker roast coffee, as they are perceived as stronger. Make sure your coffee maker reaches the ideal 195°F to 205°F brewing temperature. Only brew a small batch to get the right concentration.

Why does my coffee taste weak?

Weak coffee is often due to using too little ground coffee or a coarse grind. Lower water temperature, lack of clean equipment, or bad quality water can also lead to under-extraction and poor flavor. Try bumping up the amount of coffee or fine-tuning your brewing method.

The Bottom Line

When brewing coffee at home, start with a standard ratio of about 1 tablespoon ground coffee per 6 ounces of water. For a 2 cup or 24 ounce batch, use 4-5 tablespoons (40-50 grams) of freshly ground coffee. Adjust this amount based on your preferred brew method, coffee strength, and grind size. Measuring with a small scale can help remove some of the guesswork and improve consistency.

Proper ratios are important, but don’t be afraid to experiment to find your perfect balance of coffee amount and grind size for a tasty cup of joe.

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