Last Updated on October 15, 2022
There are many factors that contribute to the perfect cup of coffee, and even with the simple and classic French press method, it’s important to pay close attention to each of them. One of the most important contributors to your perfect brew is the coffee-to-water ratio, but it’s also the most fluid.
While there’s no set-in-stone, perfect ratio for a French press coffee maker, the best guideline is somewhere between 1:12 and 1:16 coffee to water.
How the French Press Coffee Ratio Affects Flavor
When considering your ratio of coffee to water, it’s important to think about your desired flavor profile. Adding more coffee and less water will provide a stronger flavor, and the inverse is also true. It’s smart to start with something on the stronger end—closer to 1:12—as you can always add a splash of hot water to dilute your cup, but you can’t go the other way.
How To Measure French Press Coffee
How you measure your coffee-to-water ratio really depends on the equipment you have and how precise you want to be. Using a scale will be the most precise, and if following Bluebottle Coffee’s recommended ratio of 1:12, you’ll need 30 grams of coffee for every 350 grams of water.
If using a scale is too finicky for you, I’m with you on that. Keeping our chosen ratio of 1:12 in mind, you can simply use a measuring spoon and measuring cup. For each tablespoon of ground coffee used, you’ll want 3/4 of a cup of water. Once you perfect your ratio, you can simply add your coffee grounds to your French press carafe and directly add your water to the desired fill line.
Experimenting With Your Coffee Ratio
If you follow the general guideline of 1:12 to 1:16, there’ll be a lot of room to play and experiment, and this is where you can really fine-tune and personalize your brew.
I prefer a stronger flavor, so I personally tend toward a 1:12 to 1:14 ratio, but that also depends on the coffee beans I’m using. I like to increase my ratio slightly, something closer to 1:14, when using a darker roasted coffee, as the beans are more porous, lending to a deeper extraction and stronger, richer flavor.
The beauty is in the experimentation, and adjusting your ratio even slightly can have a surprising effect on the flavor profile of your brew.
One of my favorite aspects of coffee—besides the life-affirming caffeine boost—is how much room for play and experimentation there is. There are no wrong answers when it comes to coffee, and if a 1:10 or 1:20 ratio is really what floats your boat, then by all means, do it! We’ll always offer our best advice, tips, and tricks, but ultimately your home experimentation is what will lead you to the perfect cup.
Let your taste buds lead the way, and if you find yourself too far off course, you can always come back to 1:12 and restart your adjustments from there.