Thoughts on measuring: scale vs. no scale

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
snaab

#1: Post by snaab »

not a poll but I am curious about what the group thinks with regard to scales - a "nice to have" or a "need to have"? I have been dosing by volume and while I can get pretty consistent results, there is definitely some variation and a low but not insignificant number of sink shots....

and now the question - recommendations for a scale that will get the job done? no need for bells and whistles, just consistent, accurate measurements.

thanks

User avatar
cafeIKE

#2: Post by cafeIKE »


User avatar
HB
Admin

#3: Post by HB »

snaab wrote:not a poll but I am curious about what the group thinks with regard to scales - a "nice to have" or a "need to have"? I have been dosing by volume and while I can get pretty consistent results, there is definitely some variation and a low but not insignificant number of sink shots...
Why not? If anything, it's an inexpensive way of calibrating your volumetric dosing.
Dan Kehn

User avatar
malachi

#4: Post by malachi »

A scale is invaluable for learning how to dose consistently.
Once you become consistent - it is still useful as it can be brought out periodically to recalibrate.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

User avatar
GC7
Supporter ♡

#5: Post by GC7 »

I still weigh my doses on a digital scale but I understand now when others state that they can "see" a consistent dose without using one and just recalibrate occasionally. I find myself constantly guessing the weight of the grinds before putting on the scale and I'm pretty close most of the time. I keep using my routine just because I don't make lots of drinks so it wastes only a little time and I'm kind of compulsive once I get into a routine that works :roll:

EricL

#6: Post by EricL »

And, if nothing else it can help you save money, compared to eyeballing it. I have very little waste now that I've started using a scale. As cheap as they are on eBay, why not.

Any number of vendors on eBay with 1000g x 0.1g accuracy scales for around $12.

User avatar
Randy G.

#7: Post by Randy G. »

Is it time for a "weighing twaddle" thread? I do not weigh my dose nor have I ever done so. It is so easy to dose by volume (through various methods) that I feel weighing is unnecessary. And really, is it not volume that counts and not mass? Why not teach new baristas to dose accurately so that adding unnecessary steps and handling of the coffee is not necessary?
Espresso! My Espresso! - http://www.EspressoMyEspresso.com
LMWDP #644

zin1953

#8: Post by zin1953 »

snaab wrote: a "nice to have" or a "need to have"?
Yes.

For 25+ years, I never had a scale. I did acquire a scale when I acquired my Elektra, in part because I heard it was a machine that was very sensitive to overdosing -- a) it is, and b) I was.

But having acquired a scale, and "toning down" my dose, I find I am now consistently dosing 14.0-14.5 grams for a double. I do not use the scale any more. It's "eyeball," not weight. But -- like my thermometer -- it's a tool I pull out every so often as a "double check," as a way to prevent bad habits from creeping in . . .

Cheers,
Jason
A morning without coffee is sleep. -- Anon.

User avatar
another_jim
Team HB

#9: Post by another_jim »

As a weighing twaddler myself, I have to say that the only point where volumetric dosing becomes really accurate is when you feel the depth of the puck as you tamp. If it turns out you were wrong with your grinder timing or prior basket fill eyeballing, there's a good deal of backtracking to be done. I usually weight the beans, then dose. There are variances in the final dose when doing this, but no more than when volume dosing; and this technique has zero waste and zero "do overs."
Jim Schulman

User avatar
HB
Admin

#10: Post by HB »

Randy G. wrote:And really, is it not volume that counts and not mass? Why not teach new baristas to dose accurately so that adding unnecessary steps and handling of the coffee is not necessary?
Depending on the grinder, the volume will vary dramatically (e.g., your Kony on one extreme, the Macap MC4 on the other). Rather than twiddle grind settings, lately I manipulate the weight. Tapping the basket while dosing is accurate enough for practiced baristas, but a scale is a good sanity check. From Exercises for tuning your barista techniques, I recommended:
HB wrote:Volumetric coffee dosing - for a long time I was into weighing beans either before or after grinding to confirm the dosage. Sometimes when I'm first testing a machine the old habit will return, but generally I'm a basket volume guy. If I'm overstocked with beans, that's one place they'll be put to use: Dose, weigh, dose, weigh (repeat five times). My target accuracy is within 0.5 grams and I won't get too irritable if it remains within 0.7 grams.
Lately I've been dropping in/dropping out baskets, so weighing becomes a necessity since my basket volumes are slightly different. Try it, you'll find that 1 gram more/less makes an easily recognizable difference.
Dan Kehn