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. And for espresso, it's almost a requirement.
A few reasons why scales are important
- Accuracy (precision). When it comes to perfecting good coffee, finding the right ratio of ground coffee to water is essential. While guessing can sometimes result in a good cup of coffee, this will not always be the case.
- Consistency (repeatability). Once coffee and water are measured, a scale enables you to repeat this with the SAME result every time!
- Eliminates waste. When using a grind time function on your grinder, it is often easy to grind too much coffee then you will use, causing wasted coffee.
With coffee, it is all about finding 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 a lot of frustration and wasted shots.
How to use a scale when making coffee
Coffee recipes require a certain amount of coffee and water, typically measured in grams. If you are just getting started, it's a good idea to follow a recipe but then fine-tune it to your personal taste preferences. Maybe the recipe suggests a 1:17 coffee to water ratio, but you prefer your coffee a bit stronger. This is where a scale helps you to understand exactly what you like.
Measure the beans before you grind them. Place your brewing device (Chemex, pour over, french press, etc) on the scale and after you pour in your coffee grounds, tare the scale to zero. Based on the recipe or ratio you are using, you will now know exactly how many grams of water to pour. Below are a few scales we recommend.
Types of scales:
Jennings CJ-4000 $29
Pros: Affordable; multi-purpose (can weigh in grams, ounces, pounds); durable, with a 20-year manufacturer warranty
Cons: Doesn’t come with a timer; less aesthetically pleasing with a slightly bulkier footprint, and doesn’t weigh to the tenth, so not ideal for espresso.
Pros: Sleek look; simultaneously measures weight and extraction time for the perfect pour-over brew; thin profile allows you to place on the drip tray under your portafilter for pulling shots; auto off
Cons: A bit pricey; not waterproof; only weighs in grams; no warranty
Pros: Automatically tares; water-safe; built-in timer; programmable auto off; clean simple look.
Cons: a bit pricey
Posted by Adam Raper on