Two tablespoons per cup. We have actually all heard it. It’s type of the stormy “golden ratio” when unavoidable coffee. Stick to the correct proportion of coffee to water and also you will have a an excellent chance of impending something drinkable. Ns was freshly asked on Quora (Hi, guys!) if, once preparing coffee, that made a difference if you to be measuring ground coffee or entirety bean coffee. I had a knee-jerk reaction however this got me come thinking. I decided to execute a tiny experiment and also here’s what ns found.

You are watching: How many tablespoons of whole coffee beans equals ground

Spoiler Alert: that does make a difference yet it is a meaningless one! two tablespoons of totality bean coffee, as soon as ground, will take up less volume. However that’s not the important question to answer. What’s important is whether or not that difference will meaningfully influence your perfect cup. Check out on to discover out exactly how I readjusted my mind!

Not together Straightforward as I Thought

This must be straightforward experiment to traction off, right? every I need to do is measure up a scoop that beans with a volume of two tablespoons, grind them, and also then measure up them again. If there is a difference, well, there’s a difference. Both easy and also peasy.

Well, my very first “thing” was that MY scoop holds 4 tablespoons. No large deal yet it was a thing and I felt choose I should mention it.

The Grinder

Well, no… that was no as basic as I had thought. Well, my very first “thing” was that MY scoop holds 4 tablespoons. No big deal however it to be “a thing” and I feel that ns should point out it. My first true stumbling block to be my new-to-me grinder.

You see, I freshly picked increase a brand-new grinder from a charity shop in Moreton-In-Marsh, a medium-sized village in England, a pair of hours outside of London. Mine beautiful wife discovered it for me. 😘😘


It is a stylish and really efficient grinder. The round basic does present a little challenge. It has actually a slim disinclination to stay in one place when wedged versus the strip on the stove. All-in-all, it was a nice upgrade from my old neck grinder. That does, however, have one other quirk in its style that comes into play for our tiny experiment.

The Deal-Breaker
I’m all set for my closeup.

You may notification that over there is a small gap between the funnel component of the grinder and the business part of the grinder: The burrs that do the actual work-related of grinding. That gap is notorious for recording the bits that coffee that have actually chipped turn off the beans while grinding. The chips popular music up out of the reservoir – some even make it every the means to the respond to – and also find their means into this gap. That is even large enough for whole coffee bean to get trapped inside. This is a variable that I wanted to remove as any coffee the did not end up in the last tally would result in an inaccurate last measure of ground coffee.

So I chose to walk old school.

The Mortar and also Pestle

My mam picked up this mortar and pestle native Ikea and it was precisely what I needed for this mini-experiment. The coffee beans would certainly go in, they would certainly be ground by my hand, and also other than a bit of residue left on the surfaces, every one of the ground coffee would certainly come out.

Mortar & Pestle would certainly be a an excellent name because that a pub.

I did not just come up with this idea out of thin air; over there is historical precedence for utilizing a mortar and pestle come grind coffee. Until the innovation of the coffee grinder in 15th-Century Turkey, it was the goto method. The is stated that Beethoven insisted that his coffee be made with exactly 60 beans ground in a mortar and also pestle. That’s fist to detail.

The Experiment

I measure a scoop of beans. The scoop has actually a volume of 4 tablespoons. I made decision that half-a-bean end the lip would be a reasonable means to balance out the empty room between the bean on the peak row.

It’s a Costa Rican – short acid and with notes of chocolate.

I then poured them into the mortar.

I obtained this shooting on the 2nd try.

And floor them.

This is harder and also takes much longer than you would certainly think.

And soil them.

Elapsed time: about 10 minutes. I definitely like my grinders more, now.

It take it a while, and also quite a little bit of elbow grease, to obtain the coffee come the consistency I usage to carry out my morning pour-over. In the end, ns made it but I will certainly not be trading in mine grinder any type of time soon.

The perfect product.

Carefully do the transport to the scoop, that became evident that I had my answer. Grinding whole bean coffee definitely reasons it to take up much less volume than when it was in totality bean form. My intuition is that this is since the smaller fragment size permits for smaller airspaces between the grinds. This makes sense to me and was what I had actually assumed indigenous the start.

But Wait just a Coffee picking Minute

However, what if while carrying the soil coffee to the scoop I additionally packed it much more tightly right into the scoop? What if ns didn’t pack it enough? This is a variable that I had not considered. I do not understand if there is any way to come to a agreement on this. It will come right into play in the conclusion.

So What?

So what, indeed. Just how does this information influence our morning cup the goodness? just how is this do us much better coffee makers? I chose that this called for a bit more analysis.

Weighing the Situation

The north scoop sweet in in ~ 12 grams.


My scoop of entirety coffee beans weighed in in ~ 14 grams.

I zeroed the out v the north scoop. It took so long to to fill the scoop with the ground coffee that i was can not to do the very same for that measurement.

Obviously, once finished, the ground coffee sweet the same.

26 grams (coffee & scoop) minus 12 grams (just the scoop) = 14 grams that coffee.

When I included the small amount of ground coffee essential to to fill the scoop, I ended up through the exact same weight. Hmm. That would certainly seem to suggest that the mass of the extra coffee was negligible – or at least within the margin of error on my kitchen scale. The is nominally an accurate and at greater weights, it appears to be accurate.


The answer come the early question, “Does floor coffee take up less volume than the totality beans prior to grinding” is a resounding yes. I measured a scoop the coffee, ground it v a mortar and also pestle to minimize any kind of loss and measured the soil coffee. The was clearly taking up less room in the scoop. I can have compacted the coffee considerably yet I did no think that remained in the heart of the inquiry. For that matter, I might probably have lofted the coffee as well. The was amazing to keep in mind that the load of the floor coffee necessary to to fill the scoop was negligible.

Let us remember the the underlying point of this practice was to recognize how finest to measure up coffee in bespeak to make a good cup of coffee. As we have actually discussed, to make the best cup possible, you should use the weight of the unbrewed coffee, whether entirety beans or pre-ground, not its volume. As I discussed in my post The ideal Coffee come Water proportion (Metric Style!), the correct proportion to use is 11 grams that coffee to 200 ml of water. My usual mug holds about 280 ml the brewed coffee (leaving room because that cream, of course), so mine scoop of soil coffee offers me the correct strength for my cup.

I am not some “supertaster” who can determine which side of the orchard the coffee to be grown in. I am not the type of guy who will resolve for nothing less than Esmeralda Gesha in my cup. The scoop is “good enough.” and also my takeaway is the the distinction in taste you are most likely to experience in between a scoop of entirety bean vs. A scoop of ground coffee is not worth the worry or the fuss. Just be consistent with the techniques you usage to prepare your cup, make adjustments together needed, and also you will never ever be disappointed.

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My last word ~ above this: there is a difference in between a tablespoon of entirety bean coffee and also the volume that takes increase after being ground. Yet it is a difference that does no make a difference to your cup.