Updated: Mar 5, 2020
When we meet new customers and speak to many of our current customers, one of the questions we constantly get asked is, “How much coffee do you use?” Without a doubt, the coffee industry has standardized the amount of coffee used to approximately 1 tablespoon of ground coffee per cup of water, and while this standardization has helped most coffee drinkers make coffee, there are some compelling reasons to weigh your coffee before and during brewing. This week, we’ll look at why you should (or shouldn’t) weigh your coffee.
Weighing coffee is more technically known as dosing in the coffee industry, and industry standards just about universally accept a 6:1 coffee to water ratio. Don’t take 6:1 quite as literally as it’s laid out. The “1” actually correlates to 100 grams (or mL) of water. If you remember from chemistry class, water is one of the few liquids that can be measured either in mass or volume using the metric system. As such, depending on where you get your information, the amount of water may be presented in either grams or milliliters.
But back to the point..
For just about every brewed coffee method (drip, pour over, French Press, etc.) we use roughly a 6:1 ratio of whole bean coffee to water, and while, depending on your personal tastes, you can adjust that ratio accordingly, there’s something to be said about the consistency of a cup from the 6:1 method.
When in doubt, always use 6 grams of coffee per 100 grams of water, and you’ll get a magnificent cup.
A case can also be made for a slightly stronger cup of coffee using a slightly more delicate dosage option. The video below published by Chris Baca, owner and roaster of Cat & Cloud, walks us through how to make a pour over coffee using a 1:16 ratio (1g of coffee to 16g of water). Baca recommends keeping your brew ratios somewhere within the 1:15 to 1:17 range, where a 1:15 will yield a stronger, more robust cup and a 1:17 will yield a more open, brighter cup.
But why do we weigh our coffee in the first place?
Why Do We Weigh Coffee?
No matter what, we always weigh our coffee when serving it to our friends and customers. The reason is quite simple: consistency. In order for us to maintain a consistent product brew after brew, we must maintain a consistent recipe. Have you ever added a pinch too much salt or forgot to add enough levain to your world famous recipes? Of course, you have! Did it turn out good? Sure, but was it as good as it could have been? That’s a matter of opinion.
When it comes down to it, weighing coffee is about creating a consistent cup. Once factors such as water temperature, water quality, and coffee freshness have been eliminated, properly dosing coffee is the next logical step to an excellent cup.
Do I Really Need to Weigh My Coffee?
That’s the question we’re after here, and the answer is simple: no, you do not have to weigh your coffee.
However, the questions you really need to be asking yourself is will weighing my coffee improve my cup and will weighing my coffee create a more consistent cup. Yes to both! What it really comes down to is do you want a cup of coffee or do you want an exceptional cup of coffee? We always believe in making something ordinary into something extraordinary at any given opportunity, and this is no different.
What we find more than anything, though, is that most people don’t have a kitchen scale in their home. At a day in age where Amazon literally will deliver the same day you order, this is a gap that can be bridged rather easily. An inexpensive, accurate kitchen scale can be had on Amazon for less than $20. A small investment to make an extraordinary cup of coffee. Plus, you’ll never have to play the “was that two scoops or three?” guessing game any more!
Whether you’re an average coffee drinker or an avid one, improving the quality of your cup is really nothing more than eliminating variables. Start with freshly roasted coffee beans from a local coffee roaster, grind your coffee fresh, and use a scale to take the guesswork out. Since we dove into specialty coffee, we’ve noticed a significant improvement in the quality of our coffee from cup to cup, and we honestly think you will too!