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How Big is a Coffee Scoop? Is it Bigger or Smaller Than a Tablespoon?

For years I made coffee based on changing things I thought I did wrong with the last brew. I never had any consistency, as I just eyeballed every scoop and used around the same amount of water.

Sometimes my coffee would come out extra strong, and others weak. I wondered if it was the roast I was using, as I switched up what I used frequently.

Eventually I decided I should take more care into the process of making my coffee. I started by getting a small grinder to get the freshest possible coffee each time I brewed. I made sure to keep my machine clean to prevent any undesirable tastes.

I continued to miss the biggest part though, and that was consistency in the ratio of coffee I brewed. At this time I wasn’t into making espresso, so I never thought much about ratios in my coffee brewing.

I always thought my parents just scooped out of their can of coffee each day by eyeballing it. I later figured out they always had the same scooper in the canister, which is why their coffee tasted consistent every day. I always struggled to achieve it.

I used to mistake one scoop of coffee for one tablespoon, which is why when I followed the instructions on my coffee I ended up with weak coffee. I started doing my own measurements when I decided the label was wrong, which kept resulting in coffee that was too strong for my taste.

So How Much Is A Scoop?

When I think of measurements for coffee, I like to assume that I am working with eight ounces. I think of caffeine content by cup, which is around 100 mg. So when I think of how I will measure out my daily brew, I like to stick with eight ounces for consistency.

With this in mind, a coffee scoop should be about two heaping tablespoons when brewing an eight ounce cup of coffee.

I used to do two heaping tablespoons, instead of the four I should’ve been doing when following the directions on my coffee label. This kept resulting in coffee that was too weak. I kept wondering if the coffee brand I was buying from was lying on the label to make it look like the coffee will last longer.

Realistically, a scoop can be whatever size allows for ease and consistency. If you’re reading a label or referring to a standard size, go with two heaping tablespoons as one scoop. This will usually produce the desired taste.

What If I Drink More Than Eight Ounces?

The guideline of using two heaping tablespoons per eight ounces is a base measurement that can be adjusted depending on your needs. Not everyone likes their coffee to be the same strength, so it’s natural that you might have to play around with the guidelines to find what is right for you.

A lot of people don’t stop at one cup. That’s why I was so confused by my coffee label and continued to brew bad coffee. I misunderstood the scoop information, and thought that the bag was trying to appear as if it will last longer than it truly does. Instead, I ended up making vastly inconsistent brews based on my own guesses.

You can easily adjust the two tablespoons to eight ounce ratio. As long as you measure out your water in cups, you can easily add the amount of tablespoons to match up. If you’re planning to brew a full 12 cups with your drip coffee maker, you will need 24 tablespoons of coffee, which would be 12 “scoops”.

Let’s break it down:

1 cup = 8 oz water + 2 tbsp coffee (1 scoop)

2 cups =16 oz water + 4 tbsp coffee (2 scoops)

3 cups = 24 oz water + 6 tbsp coffee (3 scoops)

4 cups = 32 oz water + 8 tbsp coffee (4 scoops)

5 cups = 40 oz water + 10 tbsp coffee (5 scoops)

6 cups = 48 oz water + 12 tbsp coffee (6 scoops)

7 cups = 56 oz water + 14 tbsp coffee (7 scoops)

8 cups = 64 oz water + 16 tbsp coffee (8 scoops)

9 cups = 72 oz water + 18 tbsp coffee (9 scoops)

10 cups = 80 oz water + 20 tbsp coffee (10 scoops)

11 cups = 88 oz water + 22 tbsp coffee (11 scoops)

12 cups = 96 oz water + 24 tbsp coffee (12 scoops)

If you haven’t noticed a pattern yet, don’t feel too bad. Remember, I made inconsistent coffee for years because I couldn’t be bothered to figure out how to measure out my scoops.

I’ll go ahead and give the pattern away. If you’re making one cup, you need one scoop of coffee. If you’re making two cups, you need two scoops of coffee. If you’re making three, you need three scoops. And so on. It’s an easy-to-remember one.

If you don’t have something that measures two tablespoons as one scoop, the pattern is simple as well. Just double the number of cups to see how many tablespoons you’ll need. Again, this can be memorized pretty quickly.

If you are using one cup of water, you need two tablespoons of coffee. If you are making two cups of water, you need four tablespoons of coffee. If you are making three, you need six tablespoons of coffee. And so on.

Of course, you can always play with these numbers to get the right strength for your perfect cup of coffee. This is just a general rule.

What About Other Brewing Methods?

If I’m making a French press, I like my brew to be bold and strong. I tend to use three tablespoons per one cup of water for my French press brew.

If I were using a two-tablespoon scoop, it would be one and a half scoops per one cup of water. I usually brew 16 ounces in my French press, or two cups, so I’d use a generous three scoops of coarsely ground coffee for my desired strength.

To break it down, it would look like this:

1 cup = 8 oz + 3 tablespoons (1.5 scoops)

2 cup = 16 oz + 6 tablespoons (3 scoops)

3 cup = 24 oz + 9 tablespoons (4.5 scoops)

4 cup = 32 oz + 12 tablespoons (6 scoops)

And so on.

Again, play around with the ratio. You might prefer something stronger or weaker, and the texture of the grind will affect this as well.

If I’m making espresso, I like to go with the general rule of two tablespoons, or one scoop, per double-shot of espresso normale.

If I’m making ristretto or lungo, I play around with the amount of water, but stick to one scoop for a typical shot.

What About Single-Serve Coffee Brewers?

Keurigs use two tablespoons of coffee for each of their K-Cup pods. The standard ratio for these brews is two tablespoons, or one pod, for six ounces of coffee. You can look at K-Cups as being one scoop, since they contain two tablespoons.

There are other Keurigs out there that are able to brew larger amounts of coffee, and for that they make pods which hold various amounts of coffee based on how much they can brew.

There are a lot of variations single-serve coffee makers, and they can all pack different amounts of coffee within the pods.

Do I Need To Get A Coffee Scoop?

You can easily make do with something that isn’t designated to be a coffee scoop. You might even have something your household now that is the perfect size for a two-tablespoon scoop of coffee.

I like to use a large spoon that I found holds just over two tablespoons. I typically brew coffee in my coffee maker, or make espresso, so the standard two-scoop spoon is all I need.

Using a scoop has helped me make better coffee, but I could easily swap it out for measuring out two tablespoons. Whenever I’ve misplaced the scooper, I can just measure out two tablespoons per one cup of coffee.

You’ll want to play around with your measurements and figure out what brews the best coffee for your tastes. I’d recommend using two tablespoons per one cup of coffee as a baseline, and adjusting around there.

You can add more water or coffee to the ratio as you go, just be sure to keep track of what you liked best. Eventually you’ll be able to narrow down the most convenient size.

Once you’ve figured out the exact amount of coffee you like to use as a baseline for your ratio, you can decide what to use for your daily scoop. It can be fun to go out and find a quirky item that holds the right amount.

For many, simply using a tablespoon measuring spoon will be enough. It’s an item most people have laying around the house, and will yield accurate results.

You’ll eventually get down the right amount of coffee to water, and be making consistent cups each day. If you’re looking into figuring out how much a scoop of coffee is, you’re starting in the right place. Dosing the correct amount is crucial to getting the most out of your coffee.


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Gamble Bay Coffee

James Lambert

Owner and proprietor of the Gamble Bay Coffee Company. Its my mission to teach you how to make amazing coffee at home... no barista needed other than yourself.