How Many Coffee Beans Per Cup?

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Coffee is a daily part of life. For many people, ourselves included, it is even more essential than breakfast – it is our breakfast! So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that people are fascinated and even obsessed with coffee.

So much so, that many consumers have even begun to measure out their beans and water to get that perfect cup of Joe. And that is exactly what we will be looking at today!

How many coffee beans do you need per cup of coffee? While there are quite a few varying factors, with the average weight of a bean, it is recommended to use between 60-80 beans for a single shot espresso, 140-180 beans for a double shot, and about 110 beans for a 200ml cup of coffee.

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

Coffee Beans

Before we have an in-depth look at the number of beans you need per cup of coffee, let’s first have a look at the beans themselves.

We will be discussing a lot of things today that may not seem relevant at the time; however, after all is said and done, you will know exactly why this information is so important in determining the final amount of beans you need.

Let’s first look at the beans themselves.

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

These coffee beans don’t really have any connection to beans other than the fact that they resemble them in shape and size.

Each Coffea fruit contains one pit that is split in two, thereby creating two beans of coffee.

Some cherries, roughly 10-15% of them, do only contain one seed (then referred to as a peaberry) but despite popular belief, there is no scientific evidence that proves that they are more flavorful compared to normal beans.

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

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

Coffee Beans Production

Coffee beans are processed either using a wet method or a dry method. After the beans have either been hand-picked or strip-picked, they move on to the next step.

The main difference between the two picking methods is that handpicking allows pickers to look for only ripe berries, whereas strip-picking takes everything from the branch.

With strip picking, any debris like sticks and leaves gets removed before the drying process starts.

The wet or “washed” method is usually used for beans from Central America and certain parts of Africa.

First, the flesh and seeds are separated. Then, the seeds are soaked in water for roughly two days, initiating the fermentation process

The fermentation process helps soften the mucilage which is then washed off, leaving just the un-dried “bean”.

The dry method is usually used for beans from Brazil and some areas in Africa. The beans used were always considered lower in quality; however, today they can fetch a pretty penny if done properly.

The biggest challenge with using the dry method is to get all the beans to dry equally 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 bit longer.

The fruits are spread out on either a concrete slab, raised beds, or a slab of bricks. They are dried in direct sunlight and get turned often, ensuring that all the beans and all sides of the bean dry at the same rate.

After the beans have been dried, the sorting process starts.

Once sorted, they are roasted and packaged. The roasting is also a step that can potentially affect the number of beans required 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 isn’t necessarily an indication of origin, simply variety.

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

Because we are looking at the number of beans today, we will focus on the different sizes of beans, not flavors. Naturally, different varieties will have different sizes, but even within the 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 still be sorted into different size batches before being roasted. Each batch of size will roast for different times to ensure that they are all equally roasted in the end.

Coffee beans are graded into different sizes that range from 8-20. They are passed through screens to help sort them.

Within the grades, there are some terms used to describe the different sizes (keep in mind, different regions have different terms).

The average coffee bean size is about 14-16 (medium to large). Any smaller bean would usually be used to produce cheaper coffee.

This average bean weighs roughly 0.1-0.15 grams. To put this into perspective and emphasize why size matters, a very large bean weighs roughly 0.4 grams – a massive difference comparatively.

How Beans Are Prepared To Make Coffee

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

Today, we will be looking at a very broad and common method of making coffee using coffee beans. There are of course a thousand different methods with a thousand different temperatures.

We also feel that it is important to say that different people have different coffee preferences. We know some of you may like your coffee very strong, while others prefer it weaker. These numbers and ratios are averages you can work from.

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

Roasting Beans

Before the beans are ground they are first 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 roasted coffee beans. The longer it roasts, the darker it becomes.

The longer beans are roasted, the less moisture they have because it evaporates. While this happens, the beans simultaneously shrink.

Grinding Beans

So, coffee beans are never used whole – or at least we have never heard of such a thing. These roasted beans are always ground.

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

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

While this might seem very overwhelming, it really is very simple.

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

Naturally, the coarser the grind is, the smaller your surface area gets. The finer your grind is, the larger the surface area gets. This will definitely have an effect on the number of beans needed per cup – both in number and weight.

Water Ratios

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

For example, if you are making a single shot of coffee it only needs about 1 ounce (30ml) of water. A double shot of coffee uses roughly 2 ounces (60ml) of water.

You can also use ground coffee to make whole cups of coffee of different sizes! The different sizes will need different amounts of ground coffee to keep a good flavor and prevent larger cups from tasting watered down. 

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, just to recap, the factors that will affect the number of beans you need per cup of coffee includes:

  • Variety of bean (some bean varieties are larger than others)
  • Size of bean (there are fluctuating sizes within the same variety)
  • Roasting level (the longer the bean is roasted, the smaller it gets)
  • Grind level (only affects the volume you will need as coarser ground coffee take up more space compared to the same amount of finer ground coffee)
  • Type of coffee you are making (double shot vs single shot vs different size cups)


We will be working with the size and weight of an average bean. This way you can do your own calculations if your bean is much smaller or larger. 

An average bean is around size 14-16 (medium to large) and weighs roughly between 0.1 to 0.15 grams each.

We will not be using volume measurements (like tablespoon etc.) as they aren’t that accurate, especially with varying grind sizes.

We will also use an average roasting time or what is commonly labeled as “medium roast” or “level 3 roasts”.

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

For example, 1 medium roasted bean = 0.1 gram

Single Shot and Double Shot Coffee

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

If each coffee bean weighs at least 0.1 gram, then you would need between 60-80 beans for that single shot.

For double shot espresso, you will need roughly 14-18 grams of beans which averages around 140-180 beans per shot.

The reason there is fluctuating weights per cup is because people prefer different intensities of coffee. So, if you like strong coffees, go for the 8 grams per single shot, but if you don’t like strong coffee, reduce the amount to 4 grams per shot.

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

Another popular way in which they are used 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 foam.

To make larger cups, the shot is simply diluted with more hot water, or a double (or triple) shot is used.

Cup of Coffee (Plain)

You will often see that many people refer to the “Golden Ratio”. This is basically the perfect ratio, in the opinion of the masses and coffee experts, of ground coffee to 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 various sizes of cups and even quantities.

So, if you work on a cup being 200ml, you can calculate that you will need about 11 grams of ground coffee.

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

Type of CoffeeLiquid VolumeAmount of Ground Beans (gramsAmount of Whole Beans
Single Shot Espresso1 ounce (30ml)6-8 grams60-80 beans
Double Shot Espresso2 ounces (60ml)14-18 grams140-180 beans
Cup 50ml1.69 ounces (50ml)2.75 grams27.5 beans
Cup 100ml3.38 ounces (100ml)5.5 grams55 beans
Cup 200ml6.76 ounces (200ml)11 grams110 beans
Cup 250ml8.45 ounces (250ml)13.75 grams137.5 beans
Cup 300ml10.14 ounces (300ml)16.5 grams165 beans
Cup 400ml13.52 ounces (400ml)22 grams220 beans

Best Ways To Measure

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

If you want to fill a cup with small beans and large beans, there would be a lot more small beans needed to completely fill the cup.

That is why we don’t even like counting beans – because they still have slightly varying sizes which will ultimately affect the flavor.

Because coffee beans and ground coffee have the same volume to weight ratio, rather measure them by weight to ensure accurate and consistent measurements.

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