Ask Steve | Do I have to use a scale?

Steve, Director of Coffee

Steve, Director of Coffee

Dear Steve,

Back when I used to buy regular non specialty coffee-there was always these convenient instructions on the bag.  Something like "two heaping tablespoons of coffee for each 6 oz cup". 

Specialty coffee is better.  I do know that.  But I miss those directions!

On your website, and most websites, you guys are talking grams and using a scale.  A scale seems a bit much.  It is early, you know?

So do I have to use a scale?  Can you explain why?  I think I can get into it if I can understand it.  Also do you have a recommendation for a scale my brain can figure out pre coffee at 6 AM?

Thanks for all your help,
Weighing my options


Dear Weighing my options,

We in the specialty coffee game love using scales when brewing coffee. And we love encouraging our customers to use them too. It’s true. Most people don’t use scales to make coffee though, so why do the professionals?

Professionals in every field use extra tools to accomplish their goals compared to the average person. Think about it, chefs, carpenters, athletes, musicians...… coffee pros, they all use extra stuff that you or I might not use to do their thang. When you’re a professional, there’s just more at stake, heck people are paying you! Things like quality and repeatability are more a part of the process for professionals compared to weekend warriors. Hence, extra gadgets.

What advantage is there to using a scale to brew coffee? Simply put, accuracy. One of the keys to brewing delicious coffee is the ratio of coffee to water. 2 tablespoons coffee to 6 oz of water is a good ratio (keep using that!) but you can get a bit more accuracy using a scale.

With a scale, you can use the same unit of measure, grams, for the coffee and the water, making brew ratios simpler and more accurate. A typical coffee to water ratio is 1:16. If you have 25g of coffee, multiply by 16 to get the amount of water you need, if you have 750 mL(1mL=1g) of water, divide by 16 to get the amount of coffee you need.  

Do you have to use a scale? Of course not! But I do recommend it.

*I like the Jennings CJ4000 model, btw.

-Steve