Measure Twice

Kathy Strauch Category: Learn

Measure Twice

There is an old saying, “measure twice, cut once.” When making coffee it is best to measure two times, once for your ground coffee and second for your water. 

Measure your coffee. According to Brew Better Coffee at Home by Brian W. Jones, a good guide for brewing is using a 1:16 ratio. This would translate to roughly two tablespoons for a six ounce cup of coffee. Typically, I use a scale to measure the weight of the coffee beans before grinding. Measurement by weight rather than volume is often more accurate. I’ve found this method of measurement to be helpful in another way—I only grind the exact amount of what I will need. This way, the coffee beans are ground per use and are kept sealed and fresh for the next cup. 

Measure the temperature of the water. The temperature of the water is key to any and every brewing method. The water temperature determines how the coffee is extracted. If your coffee tastes weak or bitter, it could be due to the temperature. The water must be at a certain temperature (roughly 200–205 Farenheight) to extract the coffee and flavors from the grounds. Under extraction is often a result of a low water temperature. This results in a weak tasting cup of coffee. Over extraction occurs when the water temperature is too hot. Your coffee will often have a bitter taste as a result of over extraction. 

To achieve a good brewing temperature bring your kettle or water to boiling, let the water sit for a minute or two and then proceed to pour the coffee over the fresh grounds. I use the same scale to then measure how much water I am pouring. This helps create consistency with every cup as well as controlling the strength and extraction of the coffee. 

If you would like to improve your brewing techniques or would like to try a new method, I’ve found books such as Coffee Nerd and Brew Better Coffee at Home helpful as I have been learning. The app Brewtime is a great (and free) app which guides you along step by step through the brewing process for several methods including V60, Aeropress, French Press, Chemex, Moka, and Vacuum Pot. 


Kathy Strauch is a graphic designer, writer, bookworm, printmaker, and coffee lover from Michigan. She is also contributor with Christ Hold Fast, Higher Things, and The Gospel Economist.

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