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The Golden (coffee/water) Ratio

So many processes have been done for you to enjoy that beautiful delicious cup of joe in the morning to kick start your day! It’s quite complex if one things of all the contributing factors from the growth of the plant itself, harvest process, roasting, the design of your coffee marker,to the final brewed batch that all went into your cup!

Let's focus on just one element tiny today...determining how good our coffee will taste depends on the quality coffee beans, water, but most of all - how we choose to mix them

When preparing beverages, there is ingredients and ratios that must be considered. Today we discuss the ratios of the most important ingredients of coffee beverages, ‘Coffee and Water’. How much coffee do I put? How much water do I put? This is one of the most basic questions one asks when they about to make coffee.

Scientifically, Coffee beans are only 30% water soluble. For us to achieve the perfect taste and sweetness of the coffee we only need to 18%-22% with the water. This is why we have brewing time and do not over or under extract. Coffee is made up of different compounds with different mass. They do not extract at the same rate. Fruity notes and acidy notes are extracted during the first phase of the brewing process and then the sugars and the sweet notes follow through in the second phase of brewing. Around 50% of the carbohydrates are sweet and the rest are bitter. Acids usually carry sweet or sour notes depending on the blend. The lipids and sugars create viscosity. And then the rest is the bitterness from the other 50% carbohydrates and caffeine usually when this happens, you have over brewed your cup. Between 18%-22% is where we are able to find a perfect balance between aromatics, acidity, sweet and spicy flavours.

‘The Golden ratio’ is a system developed by SCAA to ensure the best cup of coffee. It is perfect balance of coffee and water ratio. It states that one should prepare 17.42 units of water for every 1 unit of coffee (1:18). In simpler terms, 2 tbsp (10g) of ground coffee beans per 180ml of water. One can then adjust this amount to change the coffee, making it stronger or weaker (1:15-1:18). For example calculation is like a 1:15 ratio which means 1 gram of coffee to 15 millilitres of water, while a 1:18 ratio would be 1 part coffee and 18 parts water and will be more diluted Remember, the Golden Ratio is only a general guideline that does not necessarily apply all the time. For example, personal, when I pour milk in my coffee, I use 1:15 ratio so that my coffee is stronger and doesn’t get overpowered by the milk.

All this is of course with a water temperature of around 88 degrees Celsius – 95 degrees Celsius depending on the blend. Water which is too hot will over extract your coffee and water too cold will under extract.

Drip coffee or pour over coffee ratios

Drip coffee is one of the most popular and commonly used brewing method especially in homes. Popularly known by some as filter coffee. It using an easy drip filtration method. Pour over coffee also uses drip filtration method. Expect it provides an opportunity to be more experimental with the brewing process by controlling the pour rate of the water, brewing time, and the temperature.

The general coffee to water ratio for drip filtration is 1:17. If you want is stronger coffee 1:15 (66 g / 1 litre)


immersion brewing coffee is immersed within the water for the entire brewing time. This style covers methods like the French Press and the AeroPress.

Since water is in contact with the coffee the whole time, it has a tendency to saturate the coffee grounds, preventing efficient extraction like with drip coffee. You can counter this by stirring or agitating the grounds. Usually we need more grounds for this type of brew to ensure more flavour. Immersion brewing method usually produce a stronger and bolder coffee. This is why we recommend a ratio of around 1:12 to 1:17 coffee to water ratio. From regular to bold. Experiment within these parameters to get a desired taste.

Pressured infusion

Technically is also an infusion brew. But it very different from drip coffee because of the pressure involved. This is a different ball game altogether as it requires much less volume and offers us more bolder flavours, with character and body. An Example of pressured infusion is by the popular espresso machine. Since these espresso machines vary, it is difficult to stipulate a ratio. Secret here, is always Aim for the brew time to be between 20 and 30 seconds. And your espresso should be around 25ml-35ml. The grammage at Zanetti collection we recommend between 7grams to 10grams, But of course different coffee houses, different ways of brewing.

Cold brew

This is also immersion but the difference is it’s not done with heated water like the rest of the brewing methods. The water is either at room temperature or its cooled and the brewing time is much longer. So here we need to adjust the ratio and grind so that we acquire a great taste.

Because of this, the mixing ratios here is between 1:4 and 1:8 coffee to water ratio. 1:8 ratio if don’t want your cold brew too strong and 1:4 ratio when you want it a stronger. At Zanetti Collection we always recommend at 1:5 coffee to water ratio as you get full flavour and per brew at this ratio.

When it comes down to it, it isn’t so hard to make a consistent perfect cup of coffee every single time. All you need to do is stick within the parameters for the best coffee to water ratios. Do not be afraid to experiment with it, Afterall the greatest pleasures and secrets are hidden in practise and remember practise makes perfect!

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