What is a brew ratio?
This is an important term in the world of brewing, but what exactly is it and why does it matter?
First, the what:
Brew ratio is the relationship between the dry grounds (dose) and your brewing water (output), in other words, what is a good amount of water I should use for the amount of coffee I have and vice versa.
For filter coffee we would recommend using a brew ratio of 1:15 - 1:17, which means that for every one gram of coffee you should use fifteen to seventeen millilitres (or grams) of water. You can calculate this by either multiplying your coffee dose by 15 (16 or 17) to give you the amount of water you should brew with OR by dividing your desired volume of water (250 ml) by 15 (16 or 17...you get the picture). Typically, we would recommend starting with a brew ratio of 1:16 and from there you can adjust to suit your preference!
For espresso we would recommend using a brew ratio of 1: 1.8 - 1:2.6, this might seem like a small range, but it really does allow for lots of experimentation! You would calculate your brew ratio for espresso the exact same way as you would for filter coffee.
ie: 40 gram output / 19 gram dose = 2.1 brew ratio!
When you think about brew ratio you can think about it as your coffee recipe!
This is the MOST IMPORTANT variable that affects extraction. The amount of water used to brew is paramount. If too small, or too large a quantity of water is used to brew, we will end up with coffee that is either under extracted or over extracted, by removing either not enough, or too much flavour from our grinds. This will contribute either overly acidic, or bitter flavours (or both!) in our coffee.
This variable also affects your strength. Increasing or decreasing your dose will simultaneously increase or decrease your strength, and the same goes for your water weight as well. If you find that you're always brewing coffee that is either too weak or too strong, we suggest to experiment with brew ratio until you achieve a strength that you like!
Using a proper brew ratio is the only point at which you can achieve a good extraction percentage at a good strength. Outside of a proper brew ratio, there is not any single variable you can control that will allow these two things to intersect.
Using a proper brew ratio is not only super important for the quality of your brew but it will undoubtedly help with consistency and repeatability of your brews day to day. One of the most commonly expressed problems for home brewing is: consistency! Now, we know that there is an infinite amount of coffee gear and knowing what you need can be overwhelming, but if we can offer one suggestion for a ‘must have’ piece of equipment, it would definitely be a scale. With a scale, you will be able to not only accurately create your recipe but you will be able to replicate it over and over again, eliminating the challenges so commonly encountered when brewing at home!
We will link a few scales that we recommend below!
1. The American Weigh 2kg Scale
3. Timemore Black Mirror Basic Coffee Scale
4. Acaia Pearl
We hope that developing a brew recipe that works for you and your personal taste preference just got a little bit easier with the help of a good brew ratio!