435-901-2123 hello@hugo.coffee

Measure Coffee to Get the Perfect Cup Every Time

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t measure coffee with anything but your eyes. If you’re sophisticated, you might have a measuring system involving a number of spoons or scoops.

Friends, it is 2021 and time for us to evolve. Gone are the days of smashing rocks and shaking a bag of ground coffee into the machine until we say, “That’s about right.” We live in an age of science. If we can measure the width of an atom, surely we can learn to measure an appropriate amount of coffee into our maker.

The Ratio

Because the amount of coffee we make might vary, depending on how many people are drinking with us, it’s simpler to measure coffee as a ratio. Most dedicated coffee connoisseurs agree that a ratio of 1:15 is best. Some may push the ratio a little high to 1:17, but tastes vary. Somewhere in that range is the right number for most people. The big question is, how do we measure this ratio? Cups? Spoons?

The answer is by mass. As dedicated bakers can tell you, measuring ingredients’ mass is the surest way to maintain consistency in the kitchen. The volume of a coffee bean can change depending on how finely or coarsely it is ground. Because of this, using spoons or cups will give you unreliable results.

Using a scale will ensure that you add the exact same amount of coffee to the same amount of water each morning. In metric units (the unit of science), a 1:15 ratio means that 20 grams of coffee and 300 grams of water should be used to make a perfect cup of coffee. If grams are a little foreign to you, 300 grams of water equals 300 milliliters. That’s slightly larger than 1 cup. If your kitchen scale doesn’t use metric units, that’s fine, as long as you follow the ratio above.

What if I don’t Like it?

As we mentioned above, tastes vary widely. While the sommeliers of coffee may prefer a 1:15 ratio, you may prefer your morning brew weaker or stronger. There’s nothing wrong with having a preference! The main point we’re emphasizing is that consistency is key. Experimenting with the strength of your brew is fine, but when you find a strength you like, make a note and use that ratio of coffee-to-water to make your perfect cup of coffee every time.

Advanced Techniques

If you use an automated system, some of this may not apply to you unless your machine has settings for temperature, extraction time, etc. The only factor you have control over is the beans and the water. For those who use manual techniques like a pour-over, French press, or others, we have more fine control over our technique. As a result, we have more to consider when chasing after the perfect cup.

Water temperature, the grind of our beans, and how long we brew them all can affect the taste of our coffee. Just like we want consistency in measuring our beans, we should maintain consistency in everything else. The easiest factor to control here is the size of our grind. Buying the same brand of pre-ground coffee beans takes that variable out of our hands. Hugo Coffee offers our beans in a variety of grinds for exactly that reason. If we’re grinding at home, using the same setting on our grinder is essential to keeping a consistent brew. We can experiment a little, but once you find the perfect size, stop!

Timing is another factor we can control as long as we have a timer. Depending on the method we’re using, the timing can vary widely. For a pour-over, it may take five minutes to properly brew, while a French press may only take two. Reading the instructions for your device can give you guidance on exactly how long you should brew your coffee. Under/over extracting your coffee can lead to off-flavors. As you experiment, you may learn what type of bitter or acrid flavors emerge from your coffee when you brew for too long.

Lastly, water temperature. Did you know that using water that’s too hot can destroy the delicate flavors in your coffee beans? Water that’s too cold can prevent the flavor from extracting into the water at all. The perfect temperature for coffee is about 200° F. While a thermometer is the best way to measure this, large improvements can be made by simply waiting a few moments between taking a boiling kettle off the stove and pouring it over your ground beans. Your water should be hot but definitely not boiling if you want the fullest flavors.

Whatever devices you use or techniques you try, the key is to control the process. Adjust one variable at a time until you find your perfect cup of coffee. If you enjoy our cold brew coffee packs, controlling the amount of water you use and the time you allow it to steep will ensure consistency. Similarly, our single-serve coffee bags use a pre-measured amount of premium coffee that ensures consistency, as long as you use the same amount of water at the same temperature every time. Perfection doesn’t have to be difficult, but it does require a little attention.

Our team uses the same attention to detail when roasting our fair-trade, organic coffee. We have hunted for the best quality coffee and the best roasters to make our products consistently delicious. Consistency on our end makes it easier to find that perfect cup on yours.