Question on dosing quantity versus grind - Page 2

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.

#11: Post by Shutterman »


Thank you very much for that tip from Heather Perrry. I briefly tested it out this morning and I can see where this will be quite useful. I plan on another full-training session this weekend and this will come it quite handy. And yes...using a larger cup seems to be the way to go.


I appreciate the notion that should we wish to weigh a given dose that we need to approach weighing it with whatever we're comfortable with. But when it comes to talking or posting with others, doesn't that mean that each of us would be quoting weights for different things...thus losing any useful discussion about the measured weight of the dose?

In other words, one method that I've used to weigh my dose is to tare the basket, and measure what comes out of the grinder (sweeping it totally clean) before distributing. A second method has been to weigh my grind after distribution but before tamping. the first case I may get something like 19 grams and in the second I may get 15 to 17 grams (just making these numbers up).

Now...if I go to compare either of these weights to someone else's comments, say yours, for example, where you say, "For example on my machine, 17-18 grams is the extraction "sweet spot" for evenness", I'm at a loss to be able make a comparison. I'm assuming you mean you're talking about weighing it after any excess coffee (if any) has been brushed off in the distribution process, but I'm not really sure. (Also...even though you don't tare the basket anymore, I am assuming you are still excluding the weight of the basket itself in your quote.)

I realize that a majority of baristas aren't pulling out 0.01 tolerance scales and measuring doses, but on those times (which seems to be fairly common) when someone does mention the weight of the dose, if would be nice if it the method of measuring was described. Otherwise, unless a common ground for measuring is stated or understood, such weight quotes would seem to have little meaning, and in fact could be counterproductive.

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#12: Post by HB »

Shutterman wrote:Otherwise, unless a common ground for measuring is stated or understood, such weight quotes would seem to have little meaning, and in fact could be counterproductive.
That's pretty much my viewpoint - quoting weights to 0.5 grams has little meaning unless you're both using the exact same espresso machine calibrated to similar brew pressure and temperature. It's somewhat helpful to say "17 grams in a Faema-style basket", but the unstated assumption is that such a weight is close to average for that basket used in a standard E61 group. On the other extreme, if I used the same basket on a Cimbali Junior or Elektra A3, quoting the weight used on an E61 is nearly meaningless.

At the risk of forfeiting the right to my secret HB decoder ring, I'll confess that I work in relative terms. For example, Mike Walsh and I will share grind / temperature settings relative to a known coffee (e.g., "Set your grinder to 1-1/2 clicks below Toscano rested four days"). Dosing instructions may be even more vague ("Downdose slightly") and usually have to be adjusted to the shared knowledge of the espresso machine in question because some prefer downdosing, updosing, or "standard" dosing. However, for your own consistency, such levels of precision are helpful for reducing shot-to-shot variance.
Dan Kehn


#13: Post by Shutterman »

HB wrote:At the risk of forfeiting the right to my secret HB decoder ring, I'll confess that I work in relative terms.
Ahhhh...I have been to the mountaintop! :lol:

As you've explained it, and given all the variables you've cited, working in relative terms when it comes to weight makes sense. I understand your earlier advice to work with measuring in a way that I'm comfortable with a bit better now. While measuring with my sensitive Escali scale is interesting and fun, I think I've had better success (so far, at least) with using my extra double basket method to scoop out my dose of beans. This seems to provide as much consistancy as anything else.

BTW, your site (and others like it) continues to be a wonderful source of info. I'm grateful it is here. Without it, I would probably be struggling far more than I am. But hey...learning and developing these skills is half the fun.

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#14: Post by cannonfodder »

I dose right into the awaiting portafilter, no scales and no scoops. You just grind until it is right. How do you know what is right, practice and the cup will tell you.

I find that if I grind to a small mound and then sweep level I get right at 15 grams in my LM ridgeless double basket. If I grind to a small mound, rap the portafilter down once, then level and tamp it get 17 grams. If I grind to a mound, level off the top, then finger squash the grounds into the PF then level I get around 19grams.

Most of these are in the Tamp and Dose Techniques Digest
Dave Stephens


#15: Post by Shutterman »

The fact that you've specified that your gram weights are after you've leveled and/or distributed helps. This is about what I'm getting as well. As I go forward, I may spot check myself with a scale now and then, but I don't plan on using it as part of my regular routine. I too dose directly into the portafilter, well, actually, right into the portafilter through a yogurt cup as I use the WDT method.

And once again...thanks for the tip on when to end the pour. I found that most helpful and now have a much better feel for what it is I'm looking for when I'm watching the stream.


Abe Carmeli
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#16: Post by Abe Carmeli »

HB wrote:I watched Abe Carmeli's technique at EspressoFest 2006. He had asked me to bring a Macap auto-tamper ("I have my own scale"). He weighed the basket after dosing and leveling, then tamped with the auto-tamper using a small scrap of sheetmetal as the basket's platform across the auto-tamper's portafilter rest. At the time I thought, "Sheesh, Abe has really gone overboard. I gave up on taring the basket weight ages ago. And an auto-tamper. Puh-leez, who can't tamp consistently?" Although I still think he's a wound a little too tight - even for me - one can't argue with results. He was firing on all cylinders at EspressoFest.
Wound too tight eh? :). Sadly, I must agree with you; my idiosyncrasies can fill up a volume as thick as the crema on those shots. But for the record, at home I do both, hand tamp and auto tamp and it depends mostly on my mood or level of consciousness at 6:00 a.m. As to dosing by volume, I never liked it because I'm too darn anal, and the 1/2 gram increments I often use to find the coffee sweet spot are easier to achieve with a gram scale. Chris Tacy will passionately disagree with me on this, but luckily, he's nowhere to be found.
Abe Carmeli

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#17: Post by RegulatorJohnson »

i gave up using a scale a few months ago.

i dose by using a time-o-lite darkroom enlarger timer. i went for the "vintage" one cuz its cheaper and looks like the ones in my jr high photolab.

you can change the time/dose very easy. i do the normal overflow then level thing. but the next time a bit less time. then reduce time until there is little or no extra coffee to scrape out. this is about 3 shots with new beans. but its usually within 1-3 seconds for most of the beans i use. i have learned that different beans take more time/coffee to produce the nice thick drippy ristretto....mmmmmmmmm ok now i need one.

i also grind straight into basket, doserless grinder, but i do the random circular-type-jiggle to distribute the coffee and i try to keep the manipulation before the tamp to a minimum.

i have weighed my pucks and they are consistent weights using the timer.

when using the timer, having the beans flow consistently to the burrs when grinding becomes very important.

thanks for the time.