[Homeroast] Weight vs. Volume

Michael Koenig koenig.mike at icloud.com
Fri Dec 12 10:10:16 CST 2014


I used to pull espresso shots only by volume, even though as a chemist I knew it was lousy technique.  I would fill my basket and level. I knew there was some variability, but I would deal with it, primarily because I used to weigh stuff all day in the lab and this would be too much like work.  I checked and would usually end up +- 1 gram but this would not work with really light roasts. 

I splurged and got a Baratza forte grinder so now dose by weight and get much better reproducibility.  Bad shots are now rare unless I'm dialing in a wildly different coffee, so I'm much happier dosing by weight. 

--mike





Sent from my iPhone

> On Dec 12, 2014, at 10:28 AM, John Nanci <john at chocolatealchemy.com> wrote:
> 
> 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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