The 4 Fundamentals | A Starbucks Coffee Blog

The 4 Fundamentals

It's not just the machine that makes great coffee. The "four fundamentals" of proportion, grind, water and freshness are even more important.

Armed with a little coffee knowledge, you can create great coffee with a coffee press, home brewer or espresso machine.


Use the right proportion of coffee to water – this is the most important step in making great coffee. For the most flavorful cup, we recommend 10 grams of coffee for every 180 milliliters of water. If coffee brewed this way is too strong for your taste, you can add a little hot water to your cup of brewed coffee.

Use 10 grams of coffee for 180 milliliters of water. Two tablespoons equals roughly to 10 grams.


Different brewing methods have different grind requirements, but in general – the shorter the brew time, the finer the grind. For example, coffee ground for an espresso machine should be very fine, because the brew cycle is only 18-23 seconds long. But for a coffee press, the coffee should be ground coarsely, because the water and coffee are in direct contact for four minutes.

  • Espresso machines: Fine grind
  • Drip coffee makers: Medium grind
  • Coffee press: Coarse grind

The shorter the brew time, the finer the grind.


A cup of coffee is 98 percent water. So the water you use to make coffee should taste clean, fresh, and free of impurities. Water heated to just off a boil (90° to 96° C) is perfect for extracting the coffee’s full range of flavors. Any cooler and the water can’t adequately do the job.

Clean water, better coffee.


Coffee is fresh produce, and its enemies are oxygen, light, heat, and moisture. To keep coffee fresh, store it in an opaque, airtight container at room temperature. You can store it that way for up to a week. For the best results, coffee should be ground just before brewing.

Fresh coffee is less than one week old.