The easy answer for most home coffee brewing is 2 Tbsp. (10 g) of ground coffee beans per 6 oz of water. A standard coffee measure should be 2 Tbsp (1/8 cup = 10 g) . Be warned some coffee equipment deviates from the 2 Tbsp. standard. Some are even as small as 1 Tbsp.
The correct answer at the end of the day is: Whatever works best for you. If you try any instructions or guidelines online or from the “experts” and it tastes worse for you, then simply disregard it. Your coffee is yours to enjoy, not for some self-righteous snob to judge.
How Much Coffee for 12 Cups
Here are the recommended measures for some top brands:
- BrewSense Drip Coffee Maker KF7150BK – 12 tablespoons (5g/each) per 12 cups (60 fl. oz)
- Hamilton Beach CoffeeMaker 46202C – 12 tablespoons (5g/each) per 12 cups (60 fl. oz)
- Mr. Coffee Coffee Maker – 9 tablespoons (5g/each) per 12 cups (60 fl. oz)
- Mr. Coffee Coffee Maker – 7.5 tablespoons (5g/each) per 10 cups (50 fl. oz)
- Cuisinart 12 Cup Coffee Maker – 1 tablespoon (5g/each) per 12 cups (60 fl. oz)
What the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) has to say:
A cup is defined as 6 ounces of water before brewing. This will produce 5.33 ounces of brewed coffee. Or 125 ml & 110 ml for Euro style coffee makers.
The SCAA defines 10 grams or 0.36 oz per 6-oz cup as the proper measure for brewed coffee if using the American standards. If using Euro standards the measure is 7 grams per 125 ml (4.2 fl. oz).
To further confuse things I will add a few more measures of how many oz in a cup (coffee weight to water volume):
3.75 oz (106 grams) per 1/2 gallon (64 oz, 10.6 cups)
55 grams per liter (33 oz, 5.5 cups)
1 lb. (454 grams, 16 oz) per 2.25 gallons (288 oz, 48 cups)
Percolator: 1 lb. (16 oz) per 100 cup (600 oz)
If you want to know more check the SCAA’s web page at www.scaa.org.
It needs to be pointed out that some coffee pot manufacturers deviate from the 6 oz per cup standard. You should check the total water capacity of your pot before assuming that the pot will be measured in 6 oz cups.
Keep in mind that it may vary slightly from coffee to coffee and according to freshness and varietal.
If you have a pot that is overflowing the basket even after checking the cup size the chances are that you are either grinding too fine and clogging the filter or your coffee pot manufacturer has decided to make their filter basket a little smaller than normal. If the issue is a small basket your best bet it to figure out how much coffee the basket will hold and add water accordingly. For example, if your filter basket only holds 8 scoops (16 tbsp) without overflowing fall back to 48 oz (8 x 6 oz cups) of water.
Ultimately the amount of coffee to use is a personal taste but I highly recommend at least starting with the standard and adjusting from there and don’t forget as you move toward more water and less grounds you will extract more off flavors. Most people that say they don’t like strong coffee mean they don’t like bitter coffee and weak coffee actually has more bitter compounds. You can always add hot water to weaken coffee. Weak coffee if just weak coffee and can not be fixed.
Some brands like Starbucks may require less coffee by weight than a medium roast because the darker roast provides more of the roasted coffee flavor. Going even lighter to say a White Coffee roast, means you’ll likely require even more beans, however we would recommend you try lighter roasted coffees as a new drinking experience, not actual coffee.
In response to a question in the comments below I grabbed a few antique coffee cans in my collection to see what the “historical” recommendation for coffee amount was and the recommendations are far from consistent.
Chase & Sanborn, Del Monte, Yuban, and Butter-Nut have no brewing directions of any kind.
Luzianne (Coffee and Chicory) suggest one heaping teaspoon per cup. The cup size is not defined. See my notes below.
Kaffee Hag Coffee (Decaf) recommends one “well rounded” tablespoon per measuring cup (8 oz) of water.
Maxwell House and Sanka (Decaf) both stipulate 2 level tablespoons per 6 oz of water.
Mistake your decaf coffee for regular coffee and have too much caffeine? Check out our how to get caffeine out of your system tips.
One rounded and two level table spoons are not drastically different. I’d guess one “well rounded” tablespoons is maybe one and a half level tablespoons. The real outlier here is Luzianne at only one heaping tablespoon per cup. Chicory would account for some of that but not the complete difference. I cut maybe 25% when using chicory coffees but not the ~75% this would seems to recommend. My only guess would be that chicory is a historical coffee stretching agent so maybe there is also an element of people becoming accustomed to making weaker coffee to also extend the can of coffee but that is a pure guess on my part.
By far the most economical brewing method is the percolator, which runs and re-runs water through coffee grounds in order to extract as many solids as possible. A single pound of coffee (16 ounces) will brew about 100 (6 oz) cups, and is typically very strong. That translates to roughly 0.15 oz per cup (6-oz fluid) of coffee. If you take a hypothetical Costa Rican Coffee at $10/lb, you end up with a cost per cup around $0.10 for 6-oz – most people will drink coffee in a 12-oz cup though, which puts you at $0.20/cup. Not bad!