What ratio should you use for brewing a French press? Here’s what you want to know as well as how and why to change this ratio.
Brew ratios for a French press can range from 1:13 to 1:18 with around 1:15 being most popular. A 1:15 ratio means 20 grams of ground coffee is used for every 300 gram of water. Using a lower ratio (towards 1:13) will make the coffee stronger while going higher (towards 1:18) makes the brew weaker.
Keep reading below to find a handy chart that shows you how many grams of coffee and water to use to get to the ratio you want as well as why you would want to change the ratio.
What Is The Best Brew Ratio For a French Press?
The most popular brew ratio in a French press is 1:15 (1 part coffee grounds to 15 parts water by weight). This results in a medium strength brew which most people like. Brew ratios for a French press range from 1:13 (strong) to 1:18 (weaker).
Not sure how to exactly make good coffee in a French press? Click here for my step-by-step guide.
To know how much coffee to put in your French press, first figure out how much water you’re going to use. (you want to fill the press but leave enough room under the rim to place the plunger and cover.) Then divide the amount of water by the second number of the ratio. e.g. if you want to brew 300 ml in a 1:15 ratio, you divide 300 by 15. That will give you 20 which means you need 20 grams of coffee.
If you don’t want to do maths, click here to find out how many scoops of grounds you put into your French press to get good coffee. Alternatively, look at the chart below.
By using ratios it’s easy to scale your batch size up or down. Simply adjust for the amount of water and you can make more or less coffee. It’s also possible to figure out how much coffee you need for a stronger or weaker cup this way.
Suggested: Can you make espresso in a French press?
If you’re not familiar with brewing a French press, start with a 1:15 ratio. That means 1 gram of grounds for every 15 grams of water. For a 12 oz./340 gram serving of coffee this is 22.6 grams per cup. 340/15=22.6. From there, you can adjust the ratio if you want something weaker or stronger.
Below you can see a chart with the amount of grams of coffee you need to get a certain ratio for a certain amount of water.
Ratio vs. grams in French press
|1 cup||8||227||17.5 gr||16.2 gr||15.1 gr||14.2 gr||13.4 gr||12.6 gr|
|2 cups||16||454||34.9 gr||32.4 gr||30.2 gr||28.4 gr||26.7 gr||25.2 gr|
|3 cups||24||681||52.4 gr||48.6 gr||45.4 gr||42.5 gr||40 gr||37.8 gr|
|4 cups||32||908||69.8 gr||64.8 gr||60.5 gr||56.7 gr||53.4 gr||50.4 gr|
|6 cups||48||1362||104.8 gr||97.3 gr||90.8 gr||85.1 gr||80.1 gr||75.6 gr|
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You can see the amount of grams of grounds you should use to get a certain ratio. It’s accurate to 0.1 gram but honestly, you have to be a world class coffee taster to taste a 0.4 gram difference in your French press. You can use a scale to get consistent results and to be able to make small changes but don’t sweat it if you don’t get the exact weight you need for a certain ration.
These ratios are just a guideline to communicate how much grounds you need to get to an ‘average’ strength for a French press.
Does Ratio Impact The Taste Of French Press Coffee?
How much does it matter if you change the ratio of coffee to water in your French press? What does it actually change?
Change the coffee ratio in your French press to influence the taste strength of your brew. It’s like turning the volume knob on your stereo. To influence the taste balance, it’s better to play around with the grind size, steep time and type of beans.
All variables you change in brewing coffee changes the end result;
- Steep time
- Grind size
- Type of beans
- Roast level
- Water temperature
That’s also the case for a French press. With some other brewing methods like an espresso machine there are even more variables.
The ratio of coffee grounds to water is far from the only variable that influences the final result so when should you change the ratio instead of another variable?
You can look at the ratio as kind of the volume knob on a radio. You increase the amount of grounds but leave the other variables the same, you get the same taste just stronger. Of course that is only possible within reason, at some point you’ll start running into how much a certain amount of water actually can extract from the grounds.
However, if you stay within the 1:13 to 1:18 ratio range for a French press, this isn’t really a problem. There can be small differences in taste by changing the ratio but as said above, that’s not really the goal of changing the ratio.
So if you’re happy with the taste and just want more of that taste, increasing the amount of coffee grounds is the way to go. However, if you’re not happy with the taste balance and want more/less sweetness/sourness or a fuller taste, it’s better to play around with the grind size, steep time and water temperature. The beans you use also have a huge impact on the taste of course.