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Just How Much Ground Coffee Per Cup Do You Need?

If you’re an aspiring barista, you just got a fancy new coffeemaker, or you’re just trying to get the right taste and strength in your coffee, you’re probably wondering how much ground coffee per cup you need.

Coffee Detective says you first have to look at what you’re working with. How fine the grounds are plays a major role, as finely ground coffee is going to be stronger than coarser coffee grounds.

Great tools to use:

Coffee Detective writes that many coffee scoops aren’t quite accurate, or have “sloppy designs”. This means that kitchen measuring spoons would be the ideal too to use to measure. You’ll most likely be using the tablespoon for your coffee measurements. A tablespoon of coffee grounds are typically referred to as a “scoop”.

Digital scales are also a viable option, if you take your coffee brewing seriously and want extremely accurate measurements.

Some tips:

Though you can use measuring cups to help you measure the amount of water you’re going to use in your pot of coffee, a better trick is to use coffee cups and mugs.

Coffee cups resemble teacups, and are six fluid ounces. These cups are ideal for afternoon cups of coffee, or for after dinner coffees to have with dessert.

How much ground coffee do you need per cup?

Coffee mugs vary a little in size and shape, but usually they are between eight and nine fluid ounces. These bigger cups are ideal for coffee that you have after breakfast, or for coffee that you sip away at while you’re working.

In addition, a good way to measure how much water you need for coffee is to use the cup you plan on drinking out of as a measuring cup (i.e. use your tall coffee mug to measure nine fluid ounces). As mentioned above, measuring cups are an option, but if you’re making a single cup of instant coffee, it would save time and effort to simply use the cup you’re going to drink out of.

It’s also important to note that a lot of coffeemakers these days come with measurements right on the side of the pot. The pot acts like a measuring cup; numbers on the side indicate how much water is needed to make that many cups. This makes it easier to measure just how much water you need to add for each mug of coffee, and only have to worry about adding the ground coffee to the coffeemaker.

Different variations:

Coffee Detective says that the ideal cup of coffee uses one scoop of grounds and six fluid ounces of water. This will produce a cup that isn’t too strong or too weak.

If you’re making coffee to be served in mugs instead of cups, then you’re going to want one and one-third scoops of coffee grounds for every eight to nine fluid ounces of water. Again, this will make a mug of coffee that’s “just right”, without being too bitter or strong, or weak and watered down.

As you refine your coffee brewing, you’ll experiment and learn just what you want. Depending on the cup and your mood that day, how much ground coffee per cup you’ll need will change. If you like your coffee a bit stronger without completely knocking your socks off, you’ll know to add an extra half-tablespoon. If you like your coffee weaker and just for the flavor, you know to add more water, or shave off a quarter-scoop.

Additional tips:

It’s also important to keep in mind whether or not you’re adding milk or cream. Milk and cream take up some space in a cup or mug, so you have to take care that you’re not filling up your mug to the very top with black coffee. As said before, some experience and trial and error are needed for you to figure out just how much coffee you need to make the perfect cup for you.

If you’re going to be adding any additives, such as protein powders or MCT oils, it’s also important to keep that in mind when finding the right ground-coffee-to-water ratio. Though powders don’t affect the volume of the drink, liquid additives such as Power Creamer’s MCT Oil might is something to account for when brewing.

Folger’s official site also has a useful chart for people to use to help them measure how much ground coffee they need. The start also mentions the traditional single scoop for a single cup, but the additional tip of using a teaspoon for instant coffee is also helpful.


There’s no straightforward answer regarding what amount of ground coffee is needed to make the perfect cup of coffee. Though there’s a general consensus of using one scoop for every six fluid ounces, it really comes down to personal taste and how strong you want your morning Joe.


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