When you buy a pound of coffee, do you wonder just how many cups of coffee you’ll get out of it?
Good coffee beans certainly aren’t cheap, so knowing your per-cup investment can be handy to understand how much your caffeine thirst is costing you.
The number of cups of coffee you’ll get out of a pound of beans depends on a few different variables, so today we’re going to do a deep dive on the topic.
How Many Cups Of Coffee In A Pound?
Unfortunately, there’s no one answer to the question of how many cups of coffee you can get out of a pound of coffee beans.
The amount of coffee you’ll be able to make will vary depending on the method you use to brew.
As a starting point, and a baseline, we can start with standard automatic drip coffee brewing.
You can get about 32 8-ounce cups of coffee out of a pound of coffee beans with this method, based on the ratios used and the end amount of coffee in your cup.
So, how did we get this answer?
- One pound of coffee is approximately 454 grams
- One drip-brewed coffee is ½ ounce (approximately 14 grams) of ground coffee to 8 ounces (or 236 mL) of water
- 454/14 = 32.43 which we’ve chosen to round down to 32
But the math does change depending on the brewing method, in no small part because other methods use different ratios.
If you’re an experienced french press coffee fan, you already know that the ratios for brewing this method are different from those for automatic drip or other types of coffee.
In fact, french press coffee uses approximately 0.67 ounces (about 19.7 grams) of ground coffee to 8 ounces (236mL) of water.
Using the same math as above and simply dividing the amount of coffee we start with by the amount used in each cup, we get 454/19.7 = just under 24 cups (23.8 to be exact).
It’s not a huge difference, but french press coffee is a much stronger brew. So, therefore, even though you don’t get as many cups of coffee, it’s still worth spending on quality coffee for the best experience.
Pour over brewing isn’t super different in ratios than automatic drip coffee makers, even though the results are distinct.
If you like the ritual of brewing your coffee by hand in this method, the good news is that you get good mileage from your coffee.
- Pour over coffee uses the same ½ ounce (14 g) of coffee to 8 ounces (236mL) of water per cup
- As before, 454 grams of coffee in a pound
- 454/14 = 32 cups of coffee
This result is consistent with the similarities between pour over and automatic drip brewing methods, but it may surprise you to learn how things play out when it comes to espresso drinks.
While espresso grind is much finer than your typical drip coffee maker or french press, you get on average about a liter and a half of espresso from one pound of coffee grounds. Although, the water ratio can be different depending on whether you want your espresso shots ristretto, lungo, or so on.
If you’re following brewing best practices, your results should be relatively consistent for the method you’re using, but there are some other factors that can impact how many cups of coffee you get from a pound of coffee beans.
Coffee beverages are very adaptable–and everyone likes their coffee in their own particular way.
It Also Depends On How You Like Your Coffee
No two coffee lovers take their coffee exactly the same way. Maybe you prefer grinding your own fresh before you brew it.
These all play a role in how many cups you’ll get from each bag of coffee
Coffee drinkers can customize every level of the brewing procedure, and that can change the number of cups of coffee you get from a pound of beans.
How you take your cup of coffee, and the amount of coffee you use, along with what size cup of coffee you’re using as your standard of measurement, will play a role in how many cups you get from a pound, just as much as the methods you use.
Strong Bold Brews
The number of servings of coffee in a pound that you’ll get is going to, of course, change if you prefer to brew your coffee stronger.
If you’re one of those people who like their coffee to look like motor oil, your number of cups is going to come out smaller compared to someone using the standard brewing process.
Of necessity, to brew stronger coffee, you have to either use a higher amount of ground coffee or a lower ratio of water.
Still, of course, if you use less water rather than more ground coffee, you’re going to end up with less coffee.
If you’re using a drip coffee machine, you could fill the basket with enough coffee for 12 cups but only brew six–but then you’ll only have six cups of coffee.
How many cups of coffee you’ll get by upping the amount of coffee grounds will depend a bit on how much stronger you make your coffee.
So by tinkering with our original numbers, we can come to some averages:
- The standard ratio for automatic drip coffee makers is ½ ounce (14 grams) of coffee grounds for 8 ounces (236mL) of water
- As mentioned before, this comes out to about 32 cups
- If you double the coffee bean ratio, that comes out to 1 full ounce (28 grams) of ground coffee per 8 ounces of water
- This cuts you down to a little over 16 cups or half the original number of cups of coffee
Of course, you might not double your coffee bean ratio, or at least you may not do that every time you brew.
If you only increase by half, it’ll be between 16 and 32 cups–but the exact figure will take knowing exactly how much stronger you make your coffee compared to standard.
The inverse is true as well. So if you’re one of the people that likes to brew your coffee a little weaker, you’ll get more out of one pound of coffee in the deal.
There are also simpler ways of making your coffee beverage less intense in flavor, such as adding water or milk to your cup.
A lot of coffee shop regulars will just request more room when they visit their favorite coffee shops and barista for this reason.
How many cups of coffee you’ll get per pound also depends on the size of the cup you use. This may be somewhat obvious, but the coffee cup you use does play a pretty significant role.
If you’re sticking with an 8-ounce coffee cup, then, of course, your measurements will be pretty standard to the ones we’ve mentioned above.
But just like if you’re using more coffee per cup, if your cup is larger than 8 ounces, you’re going to get fewer total cups in a pound of coffee beans. Using our examples from before:
- If your cup is 12 ounces, you’ll get just over 21 cups of automatic drip coffee or pour over brew and 16 cups of french press.
- If your mug is 16 ounces, you’ll get 16 cups of pour over or automatic drip coffee and 12 cups of french press coffee.
- If your mug is 20 ounces (like the Starbucks Venti), you’ll get just shy of 13 cups of pour over or drip coffee and a little over 9 and a half cups of french press coffee.
If you want to do the math on your specialty coffee cups, it’s pretty simple: take the standard total volume (in either ounces or mL) and divide it by the volume of your drinking vessel.
So, in this case, 32 8-ounce cups for automatic drip or pour over (256 ounces) divided by 12 ounces, which equals 21 and ⅓ cups.
If you’re not sure about the volume of the cups you’re using, fill them up with water and pour it into a measuring cup.
How Many Tablespoons Of Coffee Will You Get From One Pound?
Another way to think about the question is in tablespoons.
While some people measure their coffee by weight, to be more exact, most just use a tablespoon for dosing out their coffee.
But different factors can contribute to the number of tablespoons of coffee you get from a one-pound bag. Some of the factors might surprise you.
What Roast Coffee Is It?
Did you know that the roast of your coffee beans can impact weight significantly?
You may have noticed that some coffee beans look a little smaller than others, though it can be hard to compare unless you’re looking directly at the beans that are roasted.
Of course, there are many reasons that the beans might be smaller or even weigh differently–they are a natural product.
But one of those reasons is the roast. Drying and roasting coffee evaporates most of the liquids out of the beans, which is why coffee roasters lose about 4 ounces of weight per pound of green coffee on average.
The longer you roast the beans, the more of the original weight you lose. As a result, lighter roast coffees will have fewer beans in a pound bag.
They contain more liquids (in the form of the volatile oils that make coffee so delicious), so each bean is heavier. The opposite is true of darker roast coffee.
With dark roast, you get more individual beans (and therefore more volume) in your coffee packaging per weight.
So if you want to stretch out your specialty coffee dollars, it may be worth buying a pound of dark roast–you’ll get more coffee for the same weight. But, of course, if you prefer the flavor of light roasts, stick with it; just know that you won’t get as many tablespoons.
Ground Or Whole Bean?
Weight is weight, but as anyone who’s thought through the question of “which is heavier: a pound of feathers or a pound of steel” will tell you, it takes a lot more feathers to get to a pound.
By the same reasoning, the number of tablespoons of coffee in a pound will vary a great deal depending on if your bag of coffee is full of ground or whole beans.
Ground beans, unsurprisingly, take up way less space than whole beans.
As a result, you can fit a larger volume of coffee grounds in the average one-pound container compared to whole bean coffee. Therefore, you’ll get more tablespoons per pound of ground coffee.
Not every tablespoon is created equal!
The unit of measurement comes from a simpler time: it originally referred to the spoon one used to eat with instead of the spoon one might use for stirring coffee or tea (known as a coffee spoon or teaspoon).
Of course, that measurement has been standardized over time, but it’s still not perfectly consistent.
It’s more exact to measure your coffee by weight, but most people still use the tablespoon measurement for convenience.
The problem there is that a tablespoon can hold a different volume depending on who made it, even with standard measures! If you’re using an actual table or “soup” spoon, that will already be different from a tablespoon from a measuring set.
But even if you’re using a measuring set tablespoon, that may be different from another company’s volume.
And then there are the specialized tablespoons sold in coffee shops and gourmet stores; those are also very inconsistent through different products.
As a result of all this, the number of tablespoons of ground coffee in a pound may vary a lot depending on the spoon you’re using.
So it’s important to either use the same spoon every time, or you can choose to change over to measuring by weight to get a more accurate understanding of how many cups of coffee in a pound you’re getting.
So how many cups will you get from a pound of coffee?
That will depend on several different factors. Your brewing method for coffee at home, the ratio of grounds to water you use, the size of your coffee cups all play a role.
Even the size of your tablespoons will make a difference, depending on the coffee measurement method you prefer.
Different coffee types may also impact how many cups you get out of a pound of beans, along with the grinding level.
Measuring by weight rather than by tablespoon may give you a more exact average across the coffee types, but it’s up to you to decide how exact you want to get.
If you want to bring the coffee shop home with you, it’s good to know your per-cup price.
While you’re playing barista at home, you can experiment with all of these factors to give yourself the best cup of coffee and understand where your money is really going vs just the amount of coffee you’re gulping down.