102 – Scales (Preview)

When you talk about scales in the coffee brewing world we need to consider more than you might think. It’s about weight, volume, and density. When you understand this, you will be onto a better cup of coffee.

Weight is an object’s relative mass or the quantity of matter contained by it, giving rise to a downward force. Volume is the amount of space an object occupies. Density is the degree of compactness of a substance.

If you simply use a scoop, you are working only with the volume and density of a group of beans. Using the eye only, you may see what you think is the right amount for a cup of coffee. But using a scale, you are taking into account weight, volume, and density.


A good scale will tell you the weight (possibly in various denominations such as ounces and grams.) It will also let you bring the starting weight as zero (also known as the tare.) An added plus is a timer. That way, you can have it all in one place as you work your pour over.

Some coffee shops use a less accurate scale for the weight of solid beans prior to grinding. Then they use a more precise scale for the espresso, where the grind size is more intricate. Then they use a good scale with weight and timer for the pour overs.

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