How much coffee to put in a coffee maker

Not too much but not too little either—how much coffee should we use in a coffee maker?

In my first job after college, we had a coffee maker in our office. It’s what galvanizes us for the day ahead. Without a cup or two of coffee, our productivity is down the drain. We simply cannot work without our daily dose of caffeine.

The office coffee maker is also the “first time” I encountered a coffee maker. Back in college, I was content with instant coffee. When I’m meeting friends or when I feel like rewarding myself with not-so-crappy coffee, I go to a nearby coffee shop.

The first time I brewed coffee in the office, it was really bitter. I like strong coffee but I think I overdid it at that time. I searched for that magical proportion that will provide me with the best-tasting coffee.

I’m sure you’re here to discover as well how much coffee to put in the coffee maker to get that perfect taste.

I hate to break it to you but there’s really no “correct” answer to this question. Each coffee drinker is different. What is considered good coffee is for one person may taste awful for another.

But fret not. I’m here to give you general guidelines to help you find the perfect ratio that suits you. These guidelines depend on the following factors:

  • The type of coffee you’re using.
  • What is your preference—strong or light coffee?
  • The type of machine you’re using—are you using a French press, a drip coffee maker, or a percolator?

These factors determine how much coffee you need to use. Let’s dig in.

Which coffee beans do you use?

There are different coffee beans available. Arabica, liberica, robusta are the most common variants. But beware, they taste different from each other.

Image of a cup full of coffee beans

However, even for the same variant of coffee beans, there will be regional differences in the taste and strength of coffee.

Hence, the first consideration is the type of ground coffee you’ll be using. Figuring this out is the first step in arriving at that perfect blend. After all, different types of coffee require different proportions of water.

The way your coffee is ground will also affect the amount of coffee you will use.

It goes without saying—know thy coffee to get the perfect coffee-water ratio.

Do you like strong coffee?

The second consideration is whether you like strong coffee. If so, I recommend using two (2) tablespoons of coffee per cup of water (8 oz.)

If you like your coffee just right, I recommend starting with one (1) tablespoon of coffee per cup of water (8 oz.)

Then experiment what tastes good for you. If you find your coffee too strong or too bland, you may increase or decrease the amount of coffee per cup until you find that sweet spot of just the right strength.

If you want to be a little bit mathematical about it, Folgers has this calculator that you may check out here.

Of course, coffee taste also depends on the variety of coffee used, or  even the water used Most blogs recommend distilled water, which is also good for your machine. Distilled water doesn’t have those minerals which eventually calcify on your coffee maker.

Read more about calcification and how to decalcify your coffee maker here.

The key to having good tasting coffee is experiment, experiment, experiment. Don’t be afraid to commit mistakes at the outset. It’s rare to get that perfect taste in your first try.

Don’t hesitate to test variations. After several tries, you’ll have that signature taste that you can replicate over and over again.

How much coffee to put in a French press coffee maker?

Let’s go into the details. What if you have a French press coffee maker? How much coffee should you put in it?

Of course, the answer is the same dummy. Brewing coffee using a French press coffee maker doesn’t change things. Sorry, I don’t make the rules.

But in any case, I provide you again with guidelines.

First, you have to know how large your French press is. In short, how many cups of coffee can you make in a single brew?

If you want your coffee strong, start with one (1) tablespoon of coffee for every three (3) ounces of water. From there, add more coffee if you want it stronger. Alternatively, you can also decrease the amount of water.

If you want your coffee not so strong, start with one (1) tablespoon of coffee for every four (4) ounces of water. Then experiment until you hit the right taste.

How much coffee to put in a drip coffee maker?

You know the drill so I’m gonna go straight to the point.

If you want strong coffee, add two (2) tablespoons of coffee for every six (6) ounces of water.

If you want it lighter, start with one (1) tablespoons of coffee for every six (6) ounces of water.

How much coffee to put in a percolator?

It’s rare to have a percolator at home that can brew more or less forty (40) cups of coffee. Usually, percolators are used when there’s a large gathering or maybe in an office setting where many will drink coffee.

I sincerely hope you never experience brewing one. Or if you have to use a percolator, I hope you can depend on another person to brew coffee for you. It’s kinda more difficult than your usual brewing method.

But if you’re stuck with using a percolator, the rule of thumb is this: you have to use two and a half (2.5) cups of ground coffee for every forty (40) cups of water.


There you have it. Of course, I really didn’t answer how much coffee should you put in a coffee maker. After all, there’s really no one-size fits all when it comes to coffee. To each his or her own as the saying goes. You have to figure that out on your own.

But in any case, you have a starting point for your experimentation. Lucky you. At least, you don’t have to have a bitter experience with your first ever brewing experience with a coffee maker.

Hopefully, you’d figure out that perfect taste sooner rather than later.