Why you should weigh your coffee

Specialty coffee demands more than standard coffee and so do your customers. What can you do to up the game? Simple – weigh your dose!

Coffee is a natural product and there are a multitude of factors that are highly changeable in the espresso making process. Espresso recipe is the very best way to ensure consistency of each espresso shot. Without it your shots will always be hit and miss as far as consistency is concerned.

All ground coffee is not equal; a coarse grind will yield more volumetrically than a fine grind. The out-dated skill of “eyeballing” your dose just doesn’t weigh up and is vastly inconsistent from dose to dose. While we use barista technique to control the evenness of the extraction, the espresso recipe is about controlling the level of extraction, as well as the flavour and quality of the espresso.

Acaia Scales Pullman Tamper and Karvan Coffee

Weighing your espresso dose needs to become part of your barista technique. If you are an experienced barista, weighing your dose will not take long to incorporate into your normal routine. For beginners this is a great way to help eliminate inconsistencies, as well as building up your confidence and speed.

The dose of coffee needed for each extraction is very specific and is determined by the size of your basket. Espresso baskets come in a variety of sizes commonly ranging from 15g to 24g. With only a very small variation of 0.2g on either side of your target weight for your particular basket, the use of good quality scales is a must, ensure that you use a scale with accuracy to 0.1g

Just like any skill, effective dosing is something that just takes a bit of practice; the more you do it the easier and quicker it gets. Once practiced its usually a matter of checking that your dose is correct and maybe making some small adjustments. You soon get to know how much you may need to add or sweep off to reach your target range.

Watch our video below for the process.

Key points to remember

  • Determine the size of your basket for your dose and keep to only 0.2g of your target weight. A 20g basket can go as low as 19.8g, as high as 20.2g or anything in between.
  • Don’t forget to tare the empty portafilter on the scales before adding coffee; this removes the weight of the handle so that you only have the weight of the coffee grinds. Note: your handles might be slightly different weights so make sure you tare each one in-between each extraction.
  • Keep the surface of your dose smooth and flat when making adjustments.
  • Dose is the first and crucial step in maintaining your espresso recipe, without weighing its very hard to achieve consistency and maintain the rest of the recipe factors and will effect brew ratio. (Further reading: Dialling in your brew).
  • “On demand” or automatic grinders do a great job at getting you close to your target weight but are by no means consistent in they amount they dose each time – scales are still needed when using an auto grinder to make any adjustments needed.
  • Practise make perfect – don’t worry if you find weighing a bit hard at first, stick with it and you will soon get the hang of it and knowing you are on your way to making consistently excellent espresso every time is well worth the practise.

Need help with your weighing? – contact us to book in barista training or book a class online here

-Summah, Barista Trainer