[Homeroast] Weight vs. Volume

Phil Palmintere phil.palmintere at gmail.com
Fri Dec 12 09:36:06 CST 2014


I weigh whole beans using an inexpensive scale from Harbor Freight with a
0.1 gram resolution.  I do this get 225 grams of greens to roast (Gene
Café), and I also weigh beans for use with a Clever Coffee Dripper (my "go
to" method of a cup of coffee in the morning; my preferred ratio is 22.7
grams of beans to 12 fluid oz. of water).

I think the scale was under $10.

But, it is not really that accurate.  I weigh the beans 2 or 3 times, and
the variation reported by the scale can be as much as half a gram or so.

Phil


-----Original Message-----
From: Homeroast [mailto:homeroast-bounces at lists.sweetmariascoffee.com] On
Behalf Of John Nanci
Sent: Friday, December 12, 2014 7:29 AM
To: A list to discuss home coffee roasting. There are rules for this list,
available at http://www.sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html
Subject: Re: [Homeroast] Weight vs. Volume

My experience (both as a shot puller and chemist) is that there can be
larger than acceptable variations in volume when compared against weight and
that weight is the value you want to hold constant.  It's why 'good' bakers
weigh ingredients.  It's why chemists weigh reagents (even liquid ones many
times).  If the beans were spherical, then maybe I could see using volume,
but beans don't pack in a predictable manner.  2 or 3 beans are being
discussed.  I can take a volume measure, 'level' it, add 5 beans, level it
again and not see any difference at all.

So, if it matters to you, weight is the way to go.

That said, I use my portafilter to measure out my shots.  As level as I can
make it.  And simply enjoy the slight variation.  They are never bad....just
not 100% repeatable.

John

At 07:18 AM 12/12/2014, you wrote:
>I personally feel that weighing is faster, easier, and more precise 
>than measuring volume, and of course plan to continue weighing. I brew 
>with a moka pot and also weigh water, again because it seems faster, 
>easier, and more precise than trying to measure by volume.
>
>Brian
>
>On Thu, Dec 11, 2014 at 3:55 PM, John Dodson <j_dodson at sbcglobal.net>
wrote:
> >
> > I inquired about scales a few months ago.  I had a Salter food scale 
> > with a resolution of 2.0 grams.  From the groups input I purchased a 
> > Escali (from SM) resolution 0.1 grams. I took my old scale and put 
> > just enough coffee to get to 22 grams, checked the weight on the 
> > Escali 21.6 added 4 beans to get to 22. Then I put the beans back on 
> > the Salter the weight was still 22 added one bean at a time 10 beans 
> > until it just registered 24 grams, put the beans back on the Escali 
> > and they weighed 22.6 grams.  I am pretty good at eyeballing 22 
> > grams of beans but with the higher resolution scale I usually need to
add or subtract 2 or 3 beans.  For what its worth.
> >
> > John
> >
> >
> >
> > On Thursday, December 11, 2014 12:56 PM, Larry Dorman 
> > <ldorman at gmail.com>
> > wrote:
> >
> >
> >
> > So I've read for a long time about people weighing out a specific 
> > number of grams of whole beans before grinding for espresso.  I had 
> > always just eyeballed it and gone by rough volume.  However, I got a 
> > small gram scale and started weighing primarily for the purposes of 
> > reducing waste, but also to see if I could appreciate the difference in
the cup.
> >
> > I've been weighing for a couple months now and my experience has been:
> >
> > 1)  The proper grams changes per roast... sometimes very little (1/5 
> > gram) and other times by a lot (1.5 grams)
> >
> > 2)  Once I find the right grams for a give roast I do reduce both 
> > over and under grinding incidents.
> >
> > 3)  I've had a slight improvement in the cup due to greater 
> > consistency in how much coffee I end up with in the portafilter.
> >
> > So...  I can appreciate that there has been value in weighing the beans.
> > However, it seems I might be able to achieve the same by actually 
> > measuring volume instead of eyeballing it.  This could be as simple 
> > as drawing a line in the receptacle I'm currently using when I weigh.
> >
> > Any thoughts and other first-hand experiences anyone would like to 
> > share on the matter?
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