My coffee ritual at home has gotten out of control: At some point, I went from making coffee every morning to feeling more like a barista in my own home. During the transition my wife decided that rather than attempt to follow the current procedures, if I’m not at home she’d just go out for coffee. My last tweak to the process was the purchase of a kitchen scale.
One of the reasons that weighing beans is recommended is there can be a wide variance between beans, depending on their roast level, drying process, and other factors. Articles about brewing technique always mention the water-to-coffee ratio in terms of fluid ounces to grams. Sometimes you will see an approximation of grams to tablespoons, which is how I had been measuring out my coffee.
A search for kitchen scales on amazon.com will call up models in the $15 to $25 price range –making the investment decision one you won’t lose sleep over. I was more worried about further alienating my wife than the cost of a scale. Hopefully my wife will love me for who I am, because my inner coffee geek won the battle.
The biggest benefit I’ve seen to using a scale is in consistency in flavor, regardless of the size or number of cups. The use of a scale has replaced measuring out of coffee with a tablespoon. The formula I’m using is one that I got in a Counter Culture Coffee training class: 1.63 grams of coffee for every ounce of water.
I decided to purchase the American Weigh EDGE Stainless Steel Digital Kitchen Scale, which sells for $16.99 on amazon.com. This scale measures pounds/ounces, fluid ounces, grams and milliliters. In making my morning brew I use the fluid ounces and grams settings. If, for example, I’m making a single 8-ounce cup of coffee in myclever dripper, I measure out 13 grams of beans, put them in my grinder and then place the clever dripper, filter and ground coffee onto the scale. I set the scale to measure fluid ounces and add 8 ounces of hot water. I like that I’m not lifting the clever dripper every 5 seconds to see how full the cup is, inevitably ending up with leftover coffee in the filter that won’t fit into my cup — though producing a repeatedly good cup of coffee is a pretty good byproduct a well.
One thing worth mentioning is that all the scales have a tare function, so when you place your empty bean hopper on the scale you won’t have to subtract out the weight of the hopper.
Bringing a kitchen scale into my coffee routine has simplified the process of caffeine delivery. Frankly, my morning pot of coffee has not changed that much; however my single-cup and half-pot experience has greatly improved. I can now count on a good cup of coffee regardless of the amount by just dialing in using the scale.