How much coffee for 12 cups? (Guide to brewing the best coffee + More information)

Making coffee at home involves some unexpected math, such as knowing how much coffee to use for 12 cups. If you are wondering the same thing, read on to find out more about that.

If you are a coffee enthusiast like me, you may be surprised to find out that making your favorite coffee drink involves some math skills – as I found out quite recently. Thankfully, it is not too complex, and you can pick up on the so-called “golden ratio” of coffee to water, and make a tasty cup of coffee.

The best coffee-water ratio to use for most instances is 1:18, also considered the “golden ratio” of coffee. The exact amounts will depend on other factors though, as I will talk about in this article.

How many tablespoons of coffee per cup?

Before deciding how much coffee you should use for each cup, you must know the measurement of a cup. Note that this does not mean a baking cup – but about 150ml or 5 fluid ounces.

You can use a scale for accuracy, as well as tablespoons and scoops, but these tend to be inaccurate because the amount of coffee you have in them varies due to different factors like the processing methods of the coffee, the size of your cup, and the coarseness of the coffee.

If you use the “golden ratio” of coffee and assume the SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America) definition of a “cup” is 5 fluid ounces (150ml), then you will require about 8.3 grams of coffee for every 5ml cup you use (150ml/18). If you convert this to tablespoons, the 8.3 grams of coffee is approximately 1.5 tablespoons per cup.

How many grams of coffee are in one cup?

Guide to brewing the best coffee

According to the SCAA, a cup of coffee consists of a maximum of 5 ounces of water, as well as 533 ounces of caffeine. If it involves American standard coffee quantities, then you are looking at 12-ounce mugs, which is about 120ml; European standards differ as they use 110 and 150ml cup sizes.

Using their definition of a cup, the number of grams of coffee in one cup is about 8.3 grams, which is equal to 1.5 tablespoons.

What is the ratio of water to coffee for the French press?

Using a French press requires boiling water and adding it to the coffee in the vessel, allowing it to sit for about 5 minutes to extract the coffee flavors, then using a metallic filter plunger to push the coffee ground to the bottom. It gives you more control over the coffee viscosity and flavor, so you can change the ratio of coffee to water depending on the beans you use and your preferences.

The best ratio of coffee to water in a French press is 1:12 if you want a strong coffee cup, although you can also use 1:15 for a regular coffee cup, or a 1:17 ratio for a weak cup. Most French press machines have a maximum capacity of 32 ounces, which is equivalent to 12 tablespoons of ground coffee if you are making a regular-strength coffee cup.

For the best results when making coffee in a French press, use a scale to measure the coffee and water. Additionally, use more coffee than you may expect to use with other methods, because French presses are immersion devices that constantly saturate the water with coffee, making caffeine extraction slower.

What is the ratio of water to coffee for drip coffee?

Brewing the best coffee

Also known as pour-over coffee, drip coffee involves pouring coffee grounds and hot water into a paper filter, then allowing the water to drip to a cup under the filter. Its simplicity allows it to work for many people who may not afford expensive coffee-brewing equipment.

In most cases, drip coffee will use a ratio of 1:17, but you can use a 1:15 ratio if your aim is a stronger coffee cup, or a 1:20 ratio if you want a weak cup. For the best guidelines to use, 1 serving of regular coffee should use 13.9g or 0.5 oz. of coffee, and 8 ounces of water, while one serving of strong coffee should use 16g or 0.53 oz. of coffee and the same 8 ounces of water.

The ratio will also make up for water losses. For instance, using a 1:17 ratio is about the same as using 1:15 because two grams of water failed to pass through the filter and into the coffee cup.

How do you make coffee in a 12-cup percolator?

Percolators are considered an old-fashioned method of brewing coffee but are gradually making their way back into the mainstream thanks to the rise of electric percolators. They have two chambers: one that houses the water, and another one above it that houses the ground coffee.

As you heat the water, the steam passes through a tube, enters the chamber of the ground coffee beans, then drips back to the bottom as the coffee liquid. This allows one to brew the coffee multiple times as long as there is a heat source. However, you must be careful to not over-brew the coffee, or else the flavor quality will reduce.

To make the coffee in a 12-cup percolator, follow these steps:

  1. Clean the percolator and ensure there are no leftover coffee grounds, as they can affect the flavor of the new coffee batch.
  2. Add water to its respective chamber, and remain accurate to the manufacturer’s instructions regarding maximum water levels. If you are unsure, use the rule of two water cups to make one coffee mug.
  3. In the upper chamber’s basket, add the coffee grounds. Use the rule of a teaspoon of grounds per cup for a weak cup or a tablespoon of grounds for a strong cup. Assemble the percolator and ensure everything is in place.
  4. Put the percolator on the stovetop and heat it slowly under medium heat until it begins peaking.
  5. When it peaks, reduce the heat slightly but do not allow the water to boil or simmer – as a guide, you should not see the percolator releasing steam. If you are using an electric model, plug it in and follow its manual.
  6. Depending on the strength of the cup you want, allow the percolator to continue for 7-10 minutes.
  7. Remove the percolator from the heat, carefully remove the coffee grounds and discard them, then allow the coffee to sit for some minutes before serving.

Why is it important to measure coffee before brewing?

Guide to brewing the best coffee

For a serious coffee enthusiast, accuracy is the key to getting an excellent cup, and you build consistency as you increase your accuracy. The reason is simple: different coffees have different masses.

When coffee goes through roasting, its properties change – including its moisture content. Green coffee beans have a moisture content of about 11%, then roasting reduces this to about 3-5%; the darker the roast is, the less the coffee weighs. The quantity of water you should use during brewing will change, so measuring prevents you from using too much or too little coffee. If you use too much coffee, the brew will be too bitter, while using too little coffee results in a watery and flat cup.

Measuring it also lets you see the response of different coffee beans and roasts to different mixing ratios with water, which will allow you to know the optimum quantities you should use faster and more accurately.


Brewing coffee takes more than just using a random amount of coffee beans and water – it takes patience and math for the best results. The tips I discuss above should help you achieve the results you want, and make a great cup faster and more consistently.


Can I measure coffee without a scale?

Yes, you can by using a liquid measuring cup or a tablespoon (one tablespoon is about 4-7g of coffee).

Does the machine matter when brewing coffee?

Yes, it matters, because different coffee makers will produce varying results.

Can you use ground coffee in a Keurig?

Yes, you can, although it is best to use coarse-ground coffee to prevent sediments in your coffee cup while extracting as much flavor as possible.

How much caffeine is in a cup of ground coffee?

A cup of regular coffee contains about 95mg of caffeine.

How much ground coffee is needed for the French press?

The ideal quantity is a teaspoon heap, which contains about 7-8 grams of coffee.

Is ground coffee the same as coffee powder?

No, they are not the same thing. Coffee powder (instant coffee) goes through the brewing process, then is processed, dried, and packaged, while ground coffee only goes through washing, roasting, and then packaging.

How should I store ground coffee?

Do not place it in a refrigerator. Instead, seal the coffee in an airtight container in your freezer or a dry place.

How long does ground coffee last?

The optimal time to use it is 1-2 weeks after its grinding.

How can you tell if coffee is bad?

You can tell if it has a strange smell, like mildew, moldy, flat, or rancid smell.

Can I eat coffee grounds?

Yes, you can, as they contain low amounts of dietary fiber, antioxidants, and caffeine.

What can you do with used coffee grounds?

Some uses include fertilizer, odor-neutralizers, insect repellents, cleaning scrubs, skin exfoliators, and scrubbing agents for pans and pots.

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