Cold Brew Coffee Ratios: 3 Steps For Perfect Flavor Every Time

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If you’ve ever made cold brew coffee at home, you know how simple the process is. But despite the straightforward steps, you always seem to get stuck on one question: Hold on a second—what’s the right cold brew coffee ratio again?

Everyone gets tripped up here. Even the pros.

We’ll show you exactly how much coffee and water you need to make cold brew coffee every time for that sweet, smooth flavor you crave.

And along the way, you’ll discover… 

  • The #1 reason people get cold brew coffee ratios wrong
  • How to slightly change the ratio for a stronger flavor
  • A few quick tips on how to always remember the right coffee ratio

Here’s our goal: by the end of this article, you’ll never have to search for the right cold brew coffee ratio on Google again.

 

How Coffee Ratios Work

Coffee ratios for regular cups of hot coffee are a bit of a complicated topic—at least, they look complicated at first. Let’s make them simple.

Generally, we suggest aiming for a coffee ratio of 1 gram of coffee to 15-18 milliliters of water. To make it easier to read, we write this out as 1:15 to 1:18.

Pro tip: 1 milliliter of water = 1 gram of water, so we’ll just use ‘grams’ for simplicity’s sake.

That means, for every 1 gram of coffee, you’re going to use 15-18 grams of hot water to make your final cup. This is the widely agreed upon range where your coffee tastes smooth and balanced.

  • 1:15 tastes concentrated and bright 
  • 1:16 tastes smooth and bright
  • 1:17 tastes smooth and rounded
  • 1:18 tastes lighter and rounded

These are generalizations, but most people agree: somewhere between 1:15 and 1:18 is the sweet spot for balancing concentration and extraction—there’s even research to prove it!

 

Why Cold Brew Coffee Ratios Are Extra Confusing

Cold brewing gets a little more complicated because you don’t brew coffee at a 1:15 or 1:18 ratio—you make a concentrate.

Common recipes range from a 1:2 ratio to a 1:5 (a lot more concentrated than regular coffee!).

Brewing a cold brew concentrate is possible because the brewing happens over 12+ hours, rather than a couple of minutes.

  • It takes up less space to brew
  • So you can brew larger batches at one time
  • And then dilute it to drinkable strength later

That last part is the trick—you have to be able to dilute it properly to achieve that smooth, balanced flavor. And that’s where many home cold brewers go wrong.

Read: Battle of the Brews: Hot, Iced, and Cold Brew Coffee Explained

How To Use Cold Brew Coffee Ratios Correctly

Let’s use the ESPRO Cold Brew CB1 coffee maker as a real-world example.

Here’s what we suggest:

  • 1 lb / 454 g of coffee (coarsely ground)
  • 34 oz / 1000 ml or grams of water (cold)

That’s roughly a 1:2 ratio—1 gram of coffee per 2 grams of water—very concentrated! 

(You wouldn’t want to drink it straight. Too strong.)

Remember: most people agree that a 1:15 to 1:18 ratio is ideal for balanced strength for regular coffee. However, some people like to drink their cold brew coffee a little stronger—around a 1:10 to 1:14 ratio—because once you add ice (and some of it melts), you end up at a balanced strength.

  • To dilute your cold brew to a 1:10 ratio, you need to mix 1 part concentrate and 4 parts water. Add ice and see how it tastes.
  • To dilute your cold brew to a 1:14 ratio, you’ll need to mix 1 part concentrate and 6 parts water. Add ice and see how it tastes.

You are the final say on what tastes good to you. 

If you like a more concentrated cold brew coffee, dilute to 1:10. If you want it to be less strong and more relaxing, dilute to 1:14 or 1:16.

The good thing is, you can do it all in one session. Dilute to 1:10, then take a sip and see how you like it. Then you can just keep adding a little water until it’s just right for you.

Read: Coffee Flavor 101: How to Taste Your Brew Like the Pros for Max Enjoyment

 

Save These 5 Ratios For Later Use

Write these down on a piece of paper you keep near your coffee station. With a few ratios you can always go back to, you’ll never have to ask Google for help or whip out the calculator.

These 1:2 Brewing Ratios are great for strong concentrates.

  • Big: 1 lb / 454 g of coffee — 34 oz / 1000 ml of water 
  • Small: 0.5 lb / 227 g of coffee — 17 oz / 500 ml of water

These Diluting Ratios are beloved go-to’s for making that concentrate taste balanced.

  • Strong: 1 part concentrate — 4 parts water
  • Light: 1 part concentrate — 6 parts water
  • Your Favorite: write down what you like best

With these quick calculations in your kitchen, you’ll be ready to brew or dilute delicious cold brew coffee at a moment’s notice—without lots of thinking, calculations, or searching.

The Last Tip: Use A Brewer With Recipe Markings

We know this all feels like… well… a lot.

That’s why we designed the ESPRO Cold Brew CB1 with pre-measured recipe markings, so your measurements are always visible when you make coffee.

It’s the easiest way to make cold brew without all the huss and fuss (and it’s got a few tricks up its sleeve to help you make tastier, smoother coffee).

Check out our ESPRO Cold Brew coffee maker here.