Coffee/Water ratio for my coffee maker

by john b
(minneapolis minnesota)


I recently bought a low-cost Mr. Coffee drip machine and noticed it requires 1 tablespoon of coffee per less than two ounces of water for desirable taste - compared to 1 to 3 ratio on other machines, and as commonly recommended.

Why might a machine require such a high concentration of coffee and what, if anything, can I do to correct the problem?


John, hi

It seems to me you may already know the answer to your own question. : )

It’s almost certainly the case that you need more coffee in proportion to water because your drip coffee maker is cheap. And cheap brewers don’t get it right when it comes to the fundamentals of making a decent cup of coffee.

There are three things to consider…

1. The temperature of the water

To extract the flavor from the ground coffee the water should be between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cheap drip coffee machines often don’t achieve the minimum water temperature. And that means they’re not extracting the full flavor from the coffee.

2. Soaking the ground coffee first

Cheap drip brewers pump the water without pause. Better models pause after pouring just enough water to soak the ground coffee, but without water dripping through into the carafe.

It’s a bit like when you water a plant. If the soil is too dry and you just pour water on top, the water tends to just run off and around the sides.

Same with coffee. You need to soak all the coffee first, and then pour on the rest of the water.

3. Contact time between the water and ground coffee

The total time the water and ground coffee is in contact should be between 4 and 6 minutes. Less than that and you won’t get the full flavor.

Time your brewer. If it finishes in 4 minutes or less, it’s not giving the coffee long enough to transfer all of its flavor to the water.

Your problem likely lies in a combination of these factors. And you’re having to use more ground coffee to compensate.

If you’re interested, we have a whole page devoted to choosing a good drip coffee maker for your home .

Best wishes,


Comments for Coffee/Water ratio for my coffee maker

Click here to add your own comments

Cheap and nasty coffee machines
by: Denis

Yep... sounds like you coffee maker is a cheap pile of you know what.

I've commented before about this, on a different page. For different reasons.

But for my money, if you want to avoid crappy plastic coffee makers that don't make good coffee, you'd be better off getting a French press.

Really simple. Glass and steel. Nothing to go wrong. And you're the boss of the water temperature and the amount of ground coffee you use for each brew.

My advice is to dump the plastic brewers and get yourself a French press. Or a pour-over system. Something simple and manual.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Questions about Coffee.

Before you go, sign up to receive the Coffee Detective Newsletter...

Sign up for occasional newsletters about the best coffees and brewing equipment. Plus special updates from the Coffee Detective Coffee Store…