By the time you have finished reading this article, you will know exactly what to look for in a coffee weighing scale, if you really need a scale with a timer or not and how to use your coffee scale and how to clean it.
Personally, I insist on the use of a coffee scale rather than using a generic kitchen scale as I have a thing for using the right tool for the right job.
Keep reading as we dig down and talk about coffee weighing scales.
What To Look For In A Coffee Weighing Scale?
The kind of coffee scale that you should be looking for should have a built-in timer, compact size so that it can fit on your drip tray and still large enough of a flat area to put your Chemex coffee maker, drip coffee maker, French press or any other such device or brewing apparatus, including a pour over coffee maker on without fear of it tipping over.
A reasonable battery life as you don’t want to keep recharging it or replacing batteries every few weeks.
Accuracy is obviously something to consider. Coffee enthusiasts will insist that you should only look for a scale that has the precision of two decimal places. While, as a coffee enthusiast myself, I respect their opinion, you have to think if you need that level of accuracy or not – 1/100th of a gram is an incredibly small measurement.
Two decimal places is literally accuracy to 10 milligrams, which is incredible. It is perfect for all coffee drinks and, it is really overkill, in my opinion. Accuracy to 1/10th of a gram (100 milligrams) is good enough.
A single gram is an incredibly small unit of measurement.
A tare button is important as you will need to zero out your scale when placing any brewing apparatus on it. A silicone mat or a heat-proof silicone pad will come in handy to keep your scale clean and prevent splashes of water from getting anywhere you don’t want it.
while no coffee scale is 100% waterproof, you will want some degree of water resistance from it due to the presence of water while you are brewing.
Most coffee scales will measure in grams and ounces and come with an auto-off function.
Read: Kitchen scale for coffee
Do I Really Need A Timer?
even though basic scales will get the job done as long as they are accurate and have a tare button for zeroing your scales, there are a few additional features that you will be missing that will make your coffee brewing more convenient.
One of those key features is a timer.
A timer helps you with brewing coffee to get your brew time exactly correct, every single time. With the weight of your coffee and the weight of your water 100% correct and calibrated to the coffee to water ratio, you will have a perfect ratio and with a perfect brew time, you will have a perfectly delicious cup of coffee every single time.
This is how hobby brewers will have for themselves a repeatable process and are able to emulate professional baristas and get similar results.
While it might seem like an unimportant feature, a timer is a great feature to have. It will turn your coffee scale into a 2 in 1 coffee brewing device where you will have control over 2 of the variables that directly affect how your coffee will taste.
To say that a timer is not necessary is an understatement and to not fully understand the science of coffee brewing and the creation of a repeatable process to get the same results every time.
Are Smart Coffee Scales Worth It?
Everything is smart these days, from your TV to your fridge, and yes, even your coffee scale. Naturally, the question arises, are they worth it?
The Bluetooth connectivity to your iPhone or Android device comes with a series of apps, including recipes, brew times and apps to monitor the variables and even a graph that plots the pour rate and more.
These are worth it if you are going to use them as a training device to track and monitor your progress and record your brews and extraction times and take yourself to the professional barista level, but for the every day home barista that wants to make great coffee an ordinary digital coffee scale will get the job done as long as you have the required functions of a brew timer, tare and auto-off as a minimum requirement.
A smart scale is cool to have, but it is not essential, it’s not a “must have”.
How Do You Use A Coffee Scale For French Press Coffee or Pour Over Coffee?
Using a coffee scale to make a French press coffee or pour over coffee is very easy. First place your French press on the scale and press the tare button and then slowly add your coffee grounds until you reach the desired weight of coffee grounds.
Now press the tare button again to zero your scales and slowly add your hot water, remembering to bloom your grounds. Keep adding your water until you reach your desired weight of water.
You should, at this point, have achieved your desired coffee to water ratio.
Set your timer for 60 seconds and stir your French press gently to ensure the coffee grounds mix well. Once your 60 seconds are up, depress the plunger and ensure it is just below the water level.
Set your brew time using the timer function and let it brew away. Once it is ready, push slowly and evenly on your plunger until it reaches the bottom and pour your coffee and enjoy.
Using your coffee scale to make pour over coffee is just as easy. Simply put your coffee filter, be it a cloth filter, a mesh filter basket or a paper filter on your scale and press the tare button to zero the sales.
Then proceed to weight your coffee grounds with the grounds inside your filter until you have the desired weight.
Now put your brewing apparatus on top of your scale with the filter and coffee in place and press the tare button to reset your scales to zero. Add your hot water slowly as per the brewing method and monitor the weight of your brew until you reach the desired weight. You will now have a coffee with a perfect ratio of coffee to water.
Simply pour and enjoy your coffee.
How To Use Your Coffee Scale For Making Espresso
There is nothing difficult about weighing your coffee for any brewing method. It just requires a little thought.
Put your empty portafilter on your coffee scale and then press the tare button. Weigh your coffee, 14 grams to 18 grams depending on a double or single basket.
Tamp your grinds ensure a good quality flat tamp.
Now put your coffee scale on your drip tray. Put your cup or cups on top of your scale and press tare.
Note: for a good coffee to water ratio, you are seeking a 1:1.5 ratio. If you use 20 grams of coffee, your shot should weigh 30 grams.
You should still time the shot of espresso as it should take 25-30 seconds with a +/- 5 second variance. If your coffee is fresh, and the coffee to water ratio is correct, your pulling of the shot should be in this range. If it is out, it may not be at peak flavor.
Why Use A Scale When Brewing Coffee?
There are two reasons for using a coffee scale. Both of them will lead to you brewing exceptionally brilliant coffee. Firstly, you will get precise coffee to water ratios. This is only half the battle.
The second part is the timer that literally all coffee scales have. The timer will help you to get exact brew times, and you know that precision extraction times + perfect precise coffee to water ratios = perfect coffee.
All you need to pay attention to is your grind quality and consistency, your water temperature and the freshness of your coffee beans.
When you measure by weight, you have much more accuracy than when you are measuring by volume, as the weight contained in each scoop will vary and is not exact.
Greater Consistency – The Precision Factor
This is the very reason why, at Latte Love Brew, we love coffee scales – precision and consistency. The use of coffee scales you know how many grams of coffee, how many grams of water by weight for all coffee beans and all brewing methods and record the exact brewing time.
This precision factor will help you to create a repeatable process for the various coffee drinks that you are brewing.
This is what will lead to you getting exactly the same tasting coffee every single time.
Frequently Asked Questions About Coffee Weighing Scales
What Kind Of Scale Do You Need For Coffee?
The best kind of scale that you should use for coffee brewing is the kind of scale that is designed for the purpose of brewing coffee. It should have an accuracy of at least 0.1 grams and gives precise measurements. A digital display is best as they are easy to read and look for a coffee scale that has a timer to help you get accurate brew times.
Are Coffee Scales Worth It?
a coffee scale is most certainly worth it. I consider a coffee scale to be one of the most undervalued and under rated tools to help you make great coffee every single time. With a coffee scale you will be accurate and precise coffee to water ratios and precision brew times.
Can You Use Food Scale For Coffee?
In my opinion, no.
You will most likely not have the degree of accuracy that you need for making an excellent cup of coffee. You will also be missing the important and much appreciated built-in timer for timing your brew. You can temporarily use a food scale if you have lost your coffee scale, or if it is broken.
Why Do You Weigh Pour Over Coffee?
The main reason for weighing pour over coffee is for greater accuracy. If you measure by volume with a scoop or tablespoon, you get a varying amount each time due to the different density in coffee beans based on roast levels. When you measure by weight, you will get the same amount every single time for all beans and all roast levels.
Final Thoughts, Frappé-Ing It All Up, Coffee Weighing Scale
There is no question about it, a coffee weighing scale is an important tool to have and to learn how to use it properly.
Key features that it must have are, tare function as you will use them a lot, a timer as this will help you to get perfect brew times. A silicon mat or heat pad is useful too.
These, above all are the essential features to look for.