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You probably didn't know that the famous composer Beethoven was a coffee drinker.

Most people are also unaware of the fact that he would count out sixty coffee beans every time he made coffee.

Beethoven did this because he knew that using the right balance between coffee beans and water leads to better coffee.

That's not to say that you should get up early each morning to count coffee beans before you make that first pot of coffee. Instead, you can use ratios for you perrfect morning brew.

Using ratios is nothing new. Rice tends to have odd textures if too much or too little water is added. How many times have you had a cake that didn't taste delicious because the ratio of milk to flour was uneven?

The same principle applies to coffee grounds. There needs to be a balanced ratio between the grounds and water in order to create a rich,flavorful coffee.

The best coffee has perfect balance and a robust taste.

I'd like to show you how you can use ratios to brew coffee that's consistently great. Add a kitchen scale to your coffee equipment so that you can adhere to the proper ratios.

It's something that only takes a few moments each time, but is so essential to making your daily coffee more enjoyable.

Golden Ratios

There isn't a single definitive ratio, but there are a few ratios that have generally been accepted.

These ratios are what we'll call the Golden Ratios. Although not everyone uses them due to personal preferences, these ratios are used by many people around the world to get the most out of their coffee experiences.

The Golden Ratios are one gram of coffee to every 15 to 18 grams of water (listed mathmatically as 1:15-18).

Think about what would happen if you decided to make coffee by adding a couple of coffee beans to a gallon of water. The coffee will obviously be very weak. The coffee beans will be over brewed and you'll be left with a bland, boring coffee.

Then contemplate what you'd get by pouring a tiny cup of water onto enough coffee grounds to fill an entire bathtub.

You'll wind up with a very under extracted cup of coffee. The grounds simply didn't receive enough water to achieve a good balance. The resulting coffee will be strong but also rather sour to the taste.

Using the Golden Ratios can help you brew coffee that's robust but not too weak or too dominant. You'll have just the right amount of water and grounds to achieve a perfect balance.

Let's discuss how these ratios should be used in greater detail.

How to use each ratio

Using grams and/or metric measurements is key to this process.

Having a kitchen scale will definitely help. A millilter of water is the same as a gram of water, so you can pour your water from a pitcher that uses liquid measurements. A tablespoon of coffee beans is about 4 to 7 grams.

For safety's sake, I'd round this to five grams.

This may seem a little complicated, but I assure you the ratios will make more sense once you start using them regularly. You'll get the hang of it before long. Taking the time to make your calculations is well worth the effort.

Here's how to determine the proper ratios for an 8 ounce cup of coffee:

  • 8 ounces of coffee roughly translates to about 225 milliliters of liquid. We'll use 225 mL of water in this instance.
  • Let's assume that you're using a 1:15 ratio, to keep the math simple. Divide your total water weight (225 mL) by the ratio number (15) to get the total coffee weight, which will be 15 grams.
  • For an 8 ounce cup of coffee, you'll need to add 15 grams of coffee grounds to 225 milliliters of water if you're using the 1:15 ratio.

Now let's say that you want to brew 24 ounces of coffee. Here's how you to figure out the amount of water and coffee that you'll need:

  • 24 ounces of coffee equals about 680 mL of liquid, so you'll need to add 680 milliliters of water.
  • We'll use the 1:17 ratio this time. Take the water weight (680 mL) and divide it by the ratio number (17) to arrive at your total of 40.
  • This tells you that you'll need 40 grams of coffee grounds and 680 milliliters of water to produce 24 ounces of coffee.

How can you tell how much water you'll need if you have 22 grams of coffee to use?

  • Start by multiplying the coffee amount in grams by the Golden Ratio that you want to use. In this instance, we'll use the 1:16 ratio.
  • 22 grams of coffee multiplied by 16 equals 352 mL.
  • Now you know that you can add 352 milliliters of water to your 22 grams of coffee beans.

The math really isn't that complicated.

You should be able to figure out your solutions in less than a minute. A simple equation can lead to improved coffee.

If you're not much of a math whiz or if you plan on using these ratios regularly, you may want to keep a Golden Ratio cheat sheet next to your coffee equipment for handy reference.

How to know which ratio to use

It's going to take some time to determine the ratio that works best for you. You might want to try brewing a few cups of coffee at each Golden Ratio to see which one you prefer.

My favorite is the 1:17 ratio, but you might like the1:15 ratio instead.

This is how each ratio differs:

1:15 ratio - Coffee brewed with this ratio will be a little more concentrated because it has the least amount of water of the four ratios. This also means less extraction than the others. You should notice the coffee's acidity a little more, but you'll also have a richer cup of coffee.

1:18 ratio - Because this ratio uses more water, the coffee will have greater extraction. It won't be as strong, but the acidity will be mild and have a somewhat sweeter flavor.

1:16 and 1:17 ratios - These ratios are the middle ground in terms of both extraction and overall strength. They're also the most commonly used ratios by coffee brewers across the globe.

The best ratio is up to you.

Take some time to experiment. Make a few notes about the coffee that you created using each ratio to compare and contrast them.

Once you've found a ratio that you like, keep using it. It won't take long for you to brew a nice cup of balanced coffee every time. You don't have to be exact, but you're definitely golden as long as you stick with these ratios (please note the not-so-subtle pun).

Using these ratios takes the guesswork out of knowing how much water and coffee to use.

It simplifies the process and leads to better and more flavorful coffee every time. The only thing you have to worry about is using the right kind of high-quality freshly roasted coffee beans.

Golden ratios can't change the taste or quality of bad coffee beans.


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