Why you should be using a coffee scale?

May 01, 2021


You've noticed baristas using scales before, surely. Or you've seen them advertised somewhere before as "coffee scales". This term doesn't refer to a scale used to weigh only coffee; a coffee scale is a scale one uses to brew coffee.

Basically, a scale keeps you sticking to the recipe. Recipes call for very precise quantities of ground coffee and water. Sometimes you'll read directions like "pour 100 grams of water, then stir". Well, how are you supposed to know how much you’ve poured?

Of course, there are plenty of kitchen scales that could do the job, but coffee scales are sized enough so as to fit most brewing devices for pour over, french press, etc. You just place the device on the scale, tare it, and start brewing. The scale will tell you just how much weight has been added--- that way you can follow recipes to the letter and get consistent results!

The advantages of using a scale

  • You can properly follow recipes, using the exact amount of water, coffee, or milk that is described in the recipes. This is important for us to get the same good results each time we make coffee instead of making it more of a hit and miss.
  • Calculate ratios by yourself. Ratios determine the strength of your coffee, and knowing exactly which ratio makes coffee as strong as you like it will make your mornings much better.
  • Waste less coffee. Sometimes we use more coffee than we should be using because we eyeball it and end up pouring way too much because we think it will make for stronger coffee. This can be remedied by just knowing how much coffee is needed and using a scale to use that exact amount.
  • Create your own recipes. With a scale, it’s now possible for you to play around with coffee and water ratios, amounts, and the timing. Experiment a little, know exactly what amounts you’re using and when, and create your very own unique recipe!

Once you have a scale, you can start getting to know more about ratios. Ratios are the relation of water to coffee and vice versa. A 1:14 ratio would mean one part coffee to fourteen parts of water.

If you want to use a 1:14 ratio for your coffee, you would start by choosing the amount of ground coffee you’re going to use, and that’ll tell you how much water you need. Say you want to use about 20 grams of coffee: That means you need 280 grams of water.

There’s a lot of ratios that can be used, but we’ll leave you with a short but useful list of each brewing method and what ratios they tend to use:

Espresso: 1:2 - 1:3
Cold Brew: 1:5 - 1:8
French Press: 1:11 - 1:18
Pour Over: 1:13 - 1:17

With those ratios as a guideline, you should be now ready to start brewing coffee paying more attention to ratios. To do that, of course, you’ll have to make use of your brand new coffee scale!

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