Why Is My Pour-Over Coffee Too Weak?

Why is my pour-over coffee too weak? 

Why is your pour-over coffee too weak? This is one of the number one questions people ask when they first start brewing coffee at home. The good thing is that there are some pretty simple answers to this question most of the time.

Coffee To Water Ratios

One of the number one problems people have when they first start making coffee at home is that they find their coffee to be not strong enough. When we're talking about strength of coffee being strong or weak, we're talking about concentration. The percentage of the beverage that is dissolved coffee solids. This is largely dependent on your coffee to water ratio. How much coffee did you use and how much water did you use? So typically, if your coffee is too weak, it means you didn't use enough coffee. You need to increase your dose or alternatively, you can cut back on the amount of water use. It's kind of the same thing if you think about it.

Coffee Brewing Control Chart

SCA Brewing Control Chart

A really helpful tool to help you dial in your recipe is the Coffee Brewing Control Chart. The Coffee Brewing Control Chart is a tool that was released by the Specialty Coffee Association and it's based on a lot of consumer research. It shows that most people like a cup of coffee that somewhere in the middle of this chart. If you look, you see these diagonal lines that are cutting through that box in the middle of the chart. Those diagonal lines are different coffee to water ratios. So if you look the lines that say 1:16 and 1:17, they go through the middle of that box in the middle. This means that if you use those ratios, you have the highest likelihood of getting a cup of coffee that meets SCA standards.

Measuring The Mass of Coffee and Water

When we talk about coffee to water ratio, it's important to note we're talking about the mass of the coffee and the mass of the water. The easiest way to measure mass is with a kitchen scale. You can get a really cheap one online for 10 to 15 bucks or  you can get a really coffee specific one that has all the bells and whistles. It is completely up to you and your budget. The important thing is that you know how much coffee you're using and how much water you're using. Here is a link to a helpful article we wrote on digital coffee scales perfect for large format pour-overs

What If The Right Pour-Over Recipe Doesn’t Work?

There is a slight chance that your coffee will be too weak even if you're using the right recipe. This probably means either your grind is too coarse or your water isn't hot enough. So if you correct your recipe and you're still not satisfied with the results, and you still find the coffee to be too weak, that's probably what's going on.

Look, there’s no one right way to make a cup of coffee. Your palate might be different than ours. So feel free to experiment and find a cup of coffee that's right for you.

SCA Ideal Cup of Coffee and Other Resources

If you want to learn more about the SCA ideal cup, and how to achieve it, we have  blog post that we wrote here