One of the trickier coffee concepts to master is TDS. Die-hard coffee geeks can go on for days about “TDS” and “yield” numbers, but if you don’t have the fundamentals, it all sounds like coffee science gibberish. We’ll explore TDS more throughout our coffee hacks series, but lets start with the very basics.


TDS stands for “Total Dissolved Solids,” and is usually expressed as a percentage. In other words, it’s how much actual coffee matter is in the water that you call coffee. When you brew, coffee particles dissolve and become suspended in the water. The coffee becomes part of the liquid, much like salt water. By fiddling with factors like time, temperature, and ratios, you can control the amount of coffee in your coffee. Our Coffee Geeks have it down to an exact science.

For a great tasting cup, most brewers shoot for a TDS between 1.2 and 1.4 percent. That means that when you drink coffee, about 1.3% is actual dissolved coffee parts and the rest is water.

When it comes to brewing and extraction, this is only half the story. Next time, we’ll talk about “yield” and how it relates to TDS. Check back weekly for more tips about coffee, and if you have a question you would like to see answered, shoot an email to

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