Once you start getting serious about coffee, consistency starts becoming seriously important.
You’ve worked hard to discover your favorite beans, you’ve mastered the art of grinding, and you know how to pull the perfect espresso shot.
Everything’s going great, right?
The thing is, if you’re not using the right amount of coffee and water then you’re going to struggle to produce consistent results.
This article focuses on one of the simplest, but most important questions that matter in this regard: how big is a coffee scoop?
With this info, you’ll be able to pull a great, consistent shot, and strike the same balance between strength and flavor every single time.
I’ve also answered some of the more common questions related to this topic.
(My guide to brewing coffee at home contains plenty more tutorials and buying tips!)
How big is a coffee scoop?
There’s no definitive answer to this question, as coffee scoops are available in many different shapes and sizes.
As a general rule of thumb, however, most scoops are designed to hold the equivalent of two tablespoons.
Already have a scoop at home? You can test its capacity easily enough.
Just grab any tablespoon from your kitchen, and add two spoonfuls of it to your scoop. If it fills up evenly as a result, you have a pretty standard coffee scoop!
This is also a handy workaround f you don’t have the budget to buy a fancy coffee scoop right now. As long as you can measure out a couple of tablespoon’s worth of grounds, you’re good to go.
Just knowing this isn’t quite enough, however. In the next section I’ll explain how much coffee and water you should be using for a standard brew.
Why does it matter?
If you are able to use a consistent amount of coffee – scaling up the quantities for multiple cups – you’ll be able to enjoy a consistently brewed drink.
There’ll be times where you might want a stronger or weaker drink, but identifying the sweet spot in the middle will give you a baseline to work from.
As a general rule of thumb, you should aim to use two tablespoons of ground coffee (i.e. one scoop / approximately 10 grams) for each 6 fluid ounces of water.
Try this ratio of coffee grounds to water out first. If the drink lacks the punch you need, add more coffee. If you’re climbing the walls, you can tone down the caffeine content by using less coffee next time.
Cups Vs Mugs
Things get a little more complicated depending on whether you’re serving your coffee in cups or mugs.
A typical cup with a saucer will accommodate around 6 fluid ounces of brewed coffee. For each one of these, then, you’ll need a single scoop of coffee.
Mugs are a bit trickier to pin down though, as they come in a much wider range of drinking volumes.
Most, however, will sit around the 8 fluid ounces mark. You’ll typically want to use an extra third of a scoop to achieve an equivalent drink, in other words.
If you own a standard 6 ounce coffee cup, you can make a decent estimate of the mug volume by seeing how many times you can fill it up.
How much coffee for multiple cups?
To help you out with the math, here’s a quick and dirty chart you can refer to. Just multiply things up if the quantity you need isn’t listed.
Cups (6 oz)
- 1 = 2 tbsp / 1 scoop
- 2 = 4 tbsp / 2 scoops
- 3 = 6 tbsp / 3 scoops
- 4 = 8 tbsp / 4 scoops
- 12 = 24 tbsp / 12 scoops
Does the scoop material matter?
If you’re in the market for a new coffee scoop, they tend to be made from one of three materials: plastic, ceramics, or stainless steel.
Each has their own benefits and drawbacks. The plastic scoops tend to be cheaper, for example, but they don’t last nearly as long as the other two types.
Here’s a quick overview of how each material stacks up against the rest:
Plastic coffee scoops tend to be the cheapest option, but they don’t last as long.
By their nature, plastic utensils pick up dents and scratches a lot more easily. Not only do these marks add up and look scruffy over time, they also make the perfect habitat for bacteria.
(This, incidentally, is the reason why it’s so important to replace your plastic cutting boards periodically. Once you’ve damaged them, they become a magnet for bacteria.)
It’s not easy to clean damaged plastic and get rid of this hazard either. The more vigorously you clean them, the more you’ll scratch them and the cycle repeats.
Ceramic coffee scoops look good and are hard-wearing….right up to the moment you drop them on your kitchen floor and they shatter.
They cost more than plastic scoops, but aren’t necessarily any more durable. It only takes one slip during the washing up and you’ll be in the market for a new one all over again.
They certainly look the part though, so if you’re very careful and you really value aesthetics over everything else, they’re a more than viable option.
For the average home coffee drinker, a stainless steel coffee scoop is probably going to be your best bet. They tick all the boxes.
First, the material is extremely durable. It’s also much harder to scratch, and so it will look good and stay safe to use for longer.
Although more expensive than a plastic coffee scoop, I believe you will save more money in the long run. High quality stainless steel stuff lasts for years and years.
They’re basically the best of all possible worlds in terms of looks, performance and durability.
In this next section you’ll find quick and easy answers for some of the most common questions you might have.
What’s the best coffee scoop?
I’ve addressed materials earlier on in this article and I recommend choosing a stainless steel scoop.
As for the best scoop in this category, I think the Norpro ticks all the boxes. It looks good, it’s durable, and you’ll get years of use from it if you look after it properly.
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How many tablespoons of coffee are there in a coffee scoop?
Nice and simple. A typical coffee scoop is equal to two tablespoons.
There are some exceptions, but unless stated otherwise you can assume this to be the case.
How many scoops of coffee do I need for 12 cups?
If you’re making a large batch of coffee, you can use the formula of one scoop of coffee for each 6 ounce cup (or two tablespoons).
So, you’ll need to use 12 scoops / 24 tablespoons of coffee to make a dozen cups of good quality coffee.
Hopefully that answers all the questions you have about the humble coffee scoop!