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How many coffee beans per cup?

How many coffee beans per cup?

Coffee is an everyday part of life. For many people, including us, it’s even more essential than breakfast: it’s our breakfast! So it should come as no surprise that people are fascinated and even obsessed with coffee.

So much so that many consumers have even begun to measure their beans and water to get that perfect cup of coffee. And that is exactly what we are going to see today.

How many coffee beans do you need per cup of coffee?

Although there are quite a few factors that vary, with the average weight of a bean, it is recommended to use between 60 and 80 beans for a single shot espresso, between 140 and 180 beans for a double shot, and about 110 beans for a cup of coffee. of 200 ml.

In this article we will cover literally everything related to coffee beans, from what they are, how they are produced and made, how the coffee is prepared and, of course, how many beans you would need for different types and amounts of coffee.

Coffee grains

Before we dive into the number of beans you need per cup of coffee, let’s take a look at the beans themselves.

Today we will talk about many things that may not seem relevant at the time; however, when all is said and done, you’ll know exactly why this information is so important in determining the final amount of beans you need.

Let’s first look at the grains themselves.

Coffee beans come from stone fruits called Coffea. The grain itself is essentially the bone inside each fruit; these fruits are very similar to a cherry that also has a small stone inside.

These coffee beans really have nothing to do with beans, other than the fact that they resemble beans in shape and size.

Each Coffea fruit contains a bone that splits in two, thus creating two coffee beans.

Some cherries, about 10-15% of them, only contain one seed (so called peaberry) but, despite popular belief, there is no scientific evidence to show that they are tastier compared to normal kernels.

As you can imagine, there are thousands of different types of coffee beans. Naturally, they all vary in flavor; however, today, more importantly, they also vary in shape and size.

Regardless of the species of bean used, all Coffea cherries are processed in more or less the same way.

production of coffee beans

The coffee beans are processed by the wet method or by the dry method . Once the beans have been picked by hand or in strips, they move on to the next step.

The main difference between the two picking methods is that hand picking allows pickers to pick only the ripe beans, while strip picking takes everything from the branch.

With strip harvesting, debris such as sticks and leaves are removed before the drying process begins.

The wet or “wash” method is often used for beans from Central America and some parts of Africa.

First the pulp and seeds are separated. The seeds are then soaked in water for about two days, starting the fermentation process. 

The fermentation process helps soften the mucilage, which is then washed away, leaving only the undried “grain.”

The dry method is often used for beans from Brazil and parts of Africa. The beans used have always been considered of lower quality; however, today they can fetch quite a high price if done correctly.

The biggest challenge in using the dry method is getting all the beans to dry evenly on all sides, which is why it is mostly known as a method used for “lower quality” coffee beans.

The dry method process is much simpler and cheaper, but takes a little longer.

The fruits are spread out on a concrete slab, raised beds, or a brick slab. They are dried in direct sunlight and turned often, ensuring that all the beans and all their faces dry at the same rate.

Once the beans are dried, the sorting process begins.

Once classified, they are toasted and packaged. Roasting is also a step that can affect the number of beans needed, as it removes excess moisture and shrinks the beans, ultimately affecting their weight and size.

coffee bean sizes

The two most common coffee bean varieties are Arabica and Robusta; this is not necessarily an indication of origin, but simply of variety.

Of course, there are many other varieties, such as Liberica and Excelsa, but most likely you will use Arabica or Robusta.

Since we’re looking at bean number today, we’ll focus on the various bean sizes, not the flavors. Naturally, different varieties will have different sizes, but even within varieties, there are fluctuations in size.

The main factors that affect the size of the bean are the variety (species) of the bean and its growing conditions.

So, for example, a batch of single-origin coffee will be sorted into batches of different sizes before being roasted. Each size batch will be roasted for different times to ensure they all roast equally at the end.

Coffee beans are classified into different sizes ranging from 8 to 20 . They are passed through sieves to help classify them.

Within the grades, there are a few terms that are used to describe the different sizes (note that different regions have different terms).

The average size of the coffee beans is about 14-16 (medium to large). Any smaller beans are usually used to produce cheaper coffee.

This medium grain weighs approximately 0.1-0.15 grams . To put this in perspective and highlight why size matters, a very large bean weighs about 0.4 grams, a huge difference by comparison.

How the beans are prepared to make coffee

So now that you understand the physical qualities of the beans, and specifically their size, let’s move on to the coffee-making process.

Today we will look at a very wide and common method of making coffee with coffee beans. Of course, there are a thousand different methods with a thousand different temperatures.

We also think it’s important to say that everyone has different coffee preferences. We know that some of you like your coffee very strong, while others prefer it weaker. These numbers and ratios are averages you can work with.

What we show here is how beans are processed to make coffee, and how it will ultimately affect the number of beans needed for a single cup of coffee.

Roasting the beans

Before the beans are ground, they are roasted.  Roasting coffee beans intensifies their flavor and gives them a deep, rich and complex flavor profile.

Lightly roasted coffee beans do not taste the same as dark coffee beans. The longer it roasts, the darker it will be.

The longer the beans are roasted, the less moisture they have because it evaporates. As this occurs, the grains shrink simultaneously.

grind the grains

Coffee beans are never used whole, or at least we’ve never heard of it. These roasted beans are always ground.

There are many different levels of ground coffee that are distinguished from each other by the size of the grind.

They range from extra-coarse grind, coarse grind, medium-coarse grind, medium-fine grind, fine grind, and finally extra-fine grind.

Although this may seem very overwhelming, it is actually quite simple.

The main reason there are different grind sizes is that you want to use it for different brewing methods and ultimately extract the perfect amount of flavor and intensity from your specific bean.

Naturally, the coarser the grind, the smaller its surface area. The finer the grind, the larger the surface area. This will undoubtedly affect the number of beans needed per cup, both in number and in weight.

water proportions

The ground coffee is then mixed with water in various machines to produce different amounts of coffee. This is what creates different types of coffee ; A single shot espresso is not the same as a cappuccino.

For example, if you prepare a shot of coffee, you only need about 30 ml of water. A double shot of coffee uses approximately 2 ounces (60 ml) of water.

You can also use ground coffee to make whole cups of coffee in different sizes. Different sizes will need different amounts of ground coffee to maintain good flavor and prevent larger cups from tasting watery.

How many beans to use per cup of coffee

Finally! Now we can answer the question: how many beans to use per cup of coffee?

So, to recap, the factors that will affect the number of beans you need per cup of coffee include

  • Grain variety (some grain varieties are larger than others)
  • Bean size (there are fluctuating sizes within the same variety)
  • Roast level (the longer the bean is roasted, the smaller it will be)
  • Grind level (only affects the volume you’ll need, as coarser ground coffee takes up more space compared to the same amount of finer ground coffee)
  • The type of coffee you are going to prepare (double or single, or cups of different sizes)


We will work with the size and weight of a medium grain. So you can make your own calculations if your grain is much smaller or larger.

An average bean has a size between 14 and 16 (medium and large) and weighs approximately between 0.1 and 0.15 grams each.

We won’t be using volume measurements (such as tablespoon, etc.), as they are not as accurate, especially when grind sizes vary.

We will also use a medium roast time or what is often referred to as a “medium roast” or “level 3 roast”.

And finally, we want to mention that coffee grounds and coffee beans have a one-to-one ratio, which means they take up exactly the same amount of space and you don’t have to do any more special conversions.

For example, 1 medium roast coffee bean = 0.1 grams

One-drink and two-drink coffee

For a single shot of espresso (regardless of what you are going to do with it afterwards), use about 6-8 grams of coffee beans.

If each coffee bean weighs at least 0.1 grams, you’ll need between 60 and 80 beans for that shot.

For a double espresso, you will need approximately 14-18 grams of beans, which is an average of 140-180 beans per shot.

The reason the weight per cup fluctuates is that people prefer different strengths of coffee. So if you like strong coffees, go for 8 grams per shot, but if you don’t like strong coffee, reduce the amount to 4 grams per shot.

Shots are often served as is, in which case they are extremely strong and bitter.

Another popular way to use them is by mixing them with milk or more water. For example, a cappuccino uses one part coffee (the shot) with one part milk and one part froth.

To make larger cups, simply dilute the shot with more hot water, or use a double (or triple) shot.

Coffee cup (simple)

You will often see many people refer to the “golden ratio.” It is basically the perfect ratio, in the opinion of the masses and coffee experts, of ground coffee and water.

This ratio is 55 grams of coffee for every liter of water (every 33,814 fluid ounces). You can use this ratio to calculate the exact amount for different cup sizes and even quantities.

Thus, if a cup is 200 ml, you can calculate that you will need about 11 grams of ground coffee.

If you need to make two 200 ml cups of coffee, you can simply multiply the number by two and see that you need 22 grams of coffee and 220 beans.

type of coffee liquid volume Amount of grains ground (grams) Amount of whole grains
One shot espresso 1 ounce (30 ml) 6-8 grams 60-80 beans
double espresso 2 ounces (60 ml) 14-18 grams 140-180 grains
50ml cup 1.69 ounces (50ml) 2.75 grams 27.5 grains
100ml cup 3.38 ounces (100ml) 5.5 grams 55 grains
200ml cup 6.76 ounces (200ml) 11 grams 110 grains
250ml cup 8.45 ounces (250ml) 13.75 grams 137.5 grains
300ml cup 10.14 ounces (300ml) 16.5 grams 165 grains
400ml cup 13.52 ounces (400ml) 22 grams 220 grains

The best ways to measure

We prefer to measure coffee beans and ground coffee by weight, not volume . Measuring any ingredient by weight is much more accurate compared to volume.

If you want to fill a cup with small and large beans, it would take many more small beans to completely fill the cup.

That’s why we don’t even like to count the beans, because they still have slightly different sizes which will ultimately affect the flavor.

Since coffee beans and ground coffee have the same volume to weight ratio, it is best to measure them by weight to ensure accurate and consistent measurements.