Using a scale improves the flavor of your coffee. When you're able to better evaluate your taste, you can tweak your brew technique, brew time, and coffee-to-water ratio in pursuit of it.
Why Coffee Scales are Important
- Accuracy – When it comes to perfecting good coffee, finding the right ratio of ground coffee to water is essential. Different beans can be more or less dense, making volumetric measurements inaccurate compared to weighted measurements. The volume of your espresso can vary widely depending on freshness and roast level, making a scale that much more useful in seeing your true brew ratio.
- Consistency and Repeatability – Once coffee and water are measured, a scale enables you to repeat this with the same result every time! This is especially important when serving customers.
- Reducing Waste – When using a grind time function on your grinder it is often easy to grind more coffee than you'll use, resulting in wasted coffee. Using weighted single doses can reduce your waste almost entirely.
- Experimentation – Using a scale allows you to play around with different espresso brew ratios so you can find that perfect shot. Some coffees will taste better with a 1:2 ratio. While other coffees may have a more satisfying body at a 1:1 ratio. If you want more control over the flavor of your coffee a scale is an invaluable tool.
Different Scales for Different Brew Methods
A scale can be useful for all different methods of coffee. For automatic drip coffee makers, French press/immersion, pour overs, iced coffee, AeroPress, etc., a scale will be more accurate than using a tablespoon to measure and can greatly increase the flavor of your preferred method. The goal is to find the right ratio between coffee and water and being able to repeat that result every time. For espresso, it will allow you to take things to the next level and will eliminate frustration and wasted shots.
How to Use a Scale When Making Espresso
- Step 1: Place your empty (and dry) portafilter on the scale and tare it.
- Step 2a: For single dosing, weigh approximately 18 grams for a double basket, or 20 grams for a triple basket. Pour the whole beans into the empty hopper and grind.
- Step 2b: For timed dosing, manually grind into your portafilter until the grinds fill the basket and begin to peek over the rim. Weigh your portafilter again to check that you have the proper dose for that basket size. Add or remove grinds as necessary to achieve this dose.
- Step 3: Tamp the grinds and lock the portafilter into your machine's group head.
- Step 4: Tare the cup you’re going to pull your shot into and place the cup and scale on the drip tray. You can now begin pulling your shot! Make sure to take note of the weight of you liquid espresso and time when you stop your shot.
Brew ratio and shot time can have a dramatic impact on the flavor you taste in your coffee. We recommend starting off with a brew ratio of 1:1.5, aiming for shot times of 25 - 30 seconds.
Our Favorite Scales For Pour Over Coffee
Voltage Coffee Supply recommends the Acaia Pearl Scale when making pour over. Though its ultramodern design is definitely eye-catching, we like the Pearl for its timer, ability to charge, and water resistance. It also features Bluetooth connectivity which enables baristas to use it with the Brewmaster app to monitor their average pour rate - crucial information for perfecting your pour over technique.
As accurate gram scales have become more affordable, the options for good ones have proliferated. The Hario Scale, is a less expensive alternative to the Pearl that’s durable, travel-friendly, and with its wide platform, admirably spill-resistant. We like that it doesn’t turn off automatically, which makes it easier to use when he’s making multiple cups of coffee.
Our Favorite Scale For Espresso
Designed for espresso machine drip trays, the Acaia Lunar is aesthetically functional for your weighing needs. The espresso scale is built with anodized aluminum. Its electronic parts and LED display are treated with a water-resistant spray to prevent water damage.
With an ultra-fast response time and high accuracy, you'll be able to track consistency across all of your espresso shots.