How many Coffee Beans in a Tablespoon? (The Ultimate Coffee Measuring Guide)

how many coffee beans in a tablespoon

The best way to measure coffee when brewing is using a digital scale. A scale enhances the precision and consistency of your brew as it reduces the margins of error.

While you can measure the coffee beans before or after grinding, weighing the coffee beans before grinding eliminates wastage because you only grind the amount that you intend to use.

Sometimes you may not have a scale at hand but you still need to brew a cup of coffee. Knowing the number of coffee beans to use can save you from under-or-over-dosing.

So, how many coffee beans in a tablespoon of coffee?

On average, there are 38 coffee beans in a level tablespoon of ground coffee that weighs 5 grams. A roasted coffee bean weighs about 132mg. Grinding does not change the weight of the coffee beans unless your grinder is inefficiently retaining some of the grounds in the burrs.

How Much Does a Coffee Bean Weigh?

Generally, a green coffee bean weighs about 170 milligrams whereas the same coffee bean weighs about 132 milligrams after roasting. The loss of moisture and the release of volatile compounds account for the loss of weight during roasting.

The actual weight of the coffee beans varies depending on various factors:

  • the roast level. Darker roasts are marginally lighter than lighter roasts as they stay in the roaster longer and shed more moisture. Dark roasts weigh about 120 grams as compared to 140 grams for a lighter roast.
  • the type of bean. A peaberry is likely to be denser than a regular bean.
  • size of the bean. Some coffee beans are larger in size and weigh more than the smaller beans

How to Measure Coffee Beans

The SCAA recommends a coffee to water ratio of 55g of coffee per liter of water with a margin of error of ± 10%. This ratio translates to 1:18. One part of coffee to 18 parts of water.

This is a general guide when measuring your coffee for brewing and you can adjust it to achieve the desired strength of your brew. Veering too far from the ratio leads to over-extraction or under extraction problems.

Weighing your coffee with a digital scale enhances precision and consistency. Remember that you are not only measuring the amounts of coffee beans but also the amount of water.

Moreover, pour-over brewing methods yield better coffee when you pour the exact recommended amount of water for blooming. A scale enables you to undertake each step of the pour-over brewing process without errors.

You may want to read our post about the caffeine content in coffee beans.

Do You Measure Coffee before or after Grinding?

We recommend that you measure the coffee beans before grinding to avoid grinding more than you need. Coffee grinds expire pretty fast so you are better off grinding the exact amount that you need to brew.

How to Use the Coffee Ratio to Measure Coffee Beans

Since the coffee ratio is 1:18, start with the amount of coffee that you intend to brew. Say, for example, you want to fill a 237ml (8oz) mug. To get the grams of coffee that you need to make 237ml of coffee, divide 237 by 18 to give 13 grams of coffee.

Therefore, you need 13 grams of coffee beans to brew an 8oz mug of coffee. The amount of water that you need is 237ml (8oz).

To make 10 cups of coffee where each cup is 8oz, simply multiply 13 grams by 10 cups to give 130 grams.

Now that you know the weight of the coffee beans that you need to brew the coffee, place some coffee beans on a scale and measure the correct amount of beans.

How to Measure Coffee Beans Without a Scale

When making coffee without a scale, you can use one of the following 3 methods:

  1. Use a measured coffee scoop or tablespoon
  2. Use a grinder with a digital timer
  3. Count the coffee beans

How To Count The Coffee Beans For Brewing

This is a tedious method but can work for you when you don’t have a scale or a spoon to measure the coffee. Assume a bean weight of 132 milligrams per bean. Using the coffee ratio of 1:18, we need 13 grams of coffee beans for an 8 ounces cup of coffee.

To determine the number of coffee beans that we need to reach 13 grams, convert the 13 grams to milligrams and divide by the weight of a single bean. 13000mg divided by 132 gives 98 coffee beans.

Therefore, you need 98 coffee beans to brew an 8oz cup of coffee.

How Many Coffee Beans in a Shot of Espresso?

The classic single shot of espresso that is 7-8g of ground coffee has an average of 53-72 coffee beans. In the United States however, most coffee shops use a double-shot espresso that uses about 18 grams of ground coffee which is equivalent to 136-159 coffee beans depending on the actual weight of the coffee beans.

The lesson of the day: Pack a coffee scoop or tablespoon when you don’t have a fancy grinder or a scale so that you don’t have to count the coffee beans.

How Many Grams of Coffee Beans Per Cup

Grams of Coffee BeansSize of Cup (ounces)
A chart showing the grams of coffee beans per cup of coffee using the SCAA coffee ratio of 1:18

Why is Knowing the Weight of Coffee Beans Important?

Weight applies to coffee at every level. The farmer sells the cherries on the basis of weight. Similarly, when buying coffee beans, the price is pegged on the weight of the package. Brewing your cup of coffee relies on a coffee ratio that uses the weight of the coffee beans.

Even the caffeine content in coffee beans is based on a percentage of the total weight of the bean. Therefore, the importance of weight when it comes to coffee beans can not be over-stressed.

When buying coffee beans, take caution that you buy the actual weight of the beans excluding the packaging. Some retailers may scam you out of your money’s worth of coffee beans by including the packaging when weighing the beans.

Knowing the actual weight of your coffee beans gives you an idea as to how long the beans will last given the amounts of coffee that you consume and how frequently you brew your coffee.


Generally, 38 roasted coffee beans will yield a tablespoon of ground coffee. A coffee bean weighs 170 milligrams before roasting and 132 milligrams after roasting.

Knowing the weight of coffee beans is essential when buying the beans and is also handy when brewing coffee without a scale. The coffee ratio guideline of 1:18 is key when determining the grams of coffee beans for a particular size of a cup.

Related Questions

How many Coffee Beans in 10 Grams?

You need 76 coffee beans for 10 grams of coffee, on average.

1 Cup Coffee Beans Equals How Much Ground Coffee?

One cup of coffee beans yields an equal weight of ground coffee even though the dry grounds may not fill up the cup. Coffee beans are much larger in volume and take up more space as compared to the grounds.


Patrick is first a coffee lover and then a trained barista. His bucket list includes sky diving and sipping on Java in the Himalayas.

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