If you are an avid coffee drinker and you love making your own coffee at home, then coffee scales may be a wise investment.
In this article, we’ll explain what coffee scales are and how they can be a great asset to your at-home coffee stations.
What are coffee scales?
Coffee scales are essentially weighing scales that are specialised for use in brewing coffee – they are created to be accurate down to .1 of a gram, ensuring you achieve the perfect coffee every time.
Some coffee scales even feature a timer, so you can accurately measure the amount of time the coffee takes to brew.
A quick look at the scales included in our guide can be seen below:
Why should you weigh your coffee?
Weighing out your coffee is important, especially when you are trying to achieve the best brew possible.
Every coffee will have an optimum point in each variable in the brewing process, including weight of coffee, grind size, water temperature and water pressure.
Oftentimes, you will see baristas using coffee scales when setting up the coffee machines. They will weigh how much coffee they grind into the portafilter basket, the amount of coffee that’s brewed, and then adjust the variables accordingly.
Can you use any kitchen scales to weigh coffee?
Using kitchen scales is not usually recommended, as they do not provide the accuracy you need to weigh your coffee.
Coffee scales are specifically designed to fit under your coffee machine in order to weigh in real time coffee as it is pulled.
Regular scales usually have a time off setting, meaning they will not stay on long enough for you to brew your coffee completely. Regular scales may also shut off half way through the brewing process, leaving you wondering where you stopped and started.
You ideally need your coffee scales to:
- Have .1 accuracy
- Be able to measure rapid weight change by gram
- Stay on throughout the whole brewing process
A lot of kitchen scales cannot offer all of these things. It’s therefore best to stick to proper coffee scales.
What kind of scale do you need for coffee?
If you’re looking for scales for your coffee, you should look for ones which are specifically designed to weigh coffee.
Depending on the types of coffee you use, you may want to choose a different set of scales. For example, if you use very fine ground coffee, you may want to choose a different scale to someone who uses a more coarse grind.
Do you need coffee scales for all types of brewing methods?
Whilst you don’t necessarily have to have a set of coffee scales, they can be used for all different methods of brewing coffee, including:
- Automatic drip coffee makers
- Espresso machines
- French press
- Pour over coffee machine
Scales are more accurate for these methods compared to using a spoon, and it can greatly increase the flavour of your preferred brewing method, as well as allowing you to achieve the same great taste every time.
How to choose the best coffee scales
If you’re looking for a set of coffee scales, there are a few features you should look out for. These are:
The size of the coffee scales that you need will depend on the size of your coffee machine. Although you may want to opt for a bigger set of scales, it may not correctly fit in your machine which can lead to inaccurate measurements.
Always measure the space you have in your machine, and check the product specifications online. This is especially important if you have limited space due to using machines like an espresso maker.
When it comes to brewing your coffee, finding the right ratio of water to coffee is essential. Different beans can be more or less dense, making it difficult to use volumetric measurements compared to weighted ones.
You should ideally look for scales which have .1 accuracy so you can see your true brew ratio. This will make it easier in the future to replicate.
Using a scale that allows you to play around with different brew ratios is ideal as it will enable you to find the perfect shot. Some coffees taste better with a 1:2 ratio of ground coffee and liquid espresso, whilst others taste better with a 1:1 ratio.
If you want control over the flavour of your coffee, look for scales which allow for some experimentation.
As long as your scale is functional, how it looks is completely up to you. Some scales come in a really sleek design, which will sit complimentary to your coffee machine. Others come in bright colours which will stand out in your kitchen.
How much should you spend on coffee scales?
If you’re currently looking for coffee scales, you’ll have probably noticed that some sit at the cheaper end of the spectrum from about £10-£20, whilst others can cost beyond £100.
Cheap coffee scales often tend to struggle with latency, meaning it can take a few seconds for the weight to update.
They also tend to be less precise with the weight, and can suffer from weight variance. This could mean if you weigh the same amount multiple times, you could end up with different results.
Buying a middle of the range is probably the best idea. You will be able to get a reliable set of scales for a relatively reasonable price.
However, if you’re using manual brew methods and aren’t too bothered about lagging or .1 accuracy, there are scales out there that do the job just fine.
You may spend a bit more money on your scales if you want:
- Better responsiveness
- Better precision
- Better durability
- Rechargeable battery
Cheaper coffee scales
There are plenty of affordable options to choose from if you are unsure of what scales to go for.
The Bemece Digital Kitchen Coffee Scale is an affordable option. It claims to have a high precision sensor, with .1 accuracy. It also features a timer option, allowing you to time your coffee to ensure the consistency of each cup.
Coffee Gator’s Digital Coffee Scale is slightly more expensive, but it is still relatively affordable compared to other scales. The scales measure grounds, ounces, grams as well as volume, making it very versatile for its price point.
The best coffee scales
To get more accuracy and reliability in your coffee scales, you may want to opt for a slightly more expensive price point.
The Hario VST-2000B 1-Piece Coffee Drip Scale is a great model for pour-over machines. It is simple to use, compatible with larger brewing jugs and also features an auto-off function. These scales measure in .1 gram increments.
CHiATO’s Coffee Scales have both manual and automatic operating modes, allowing you to choose what suits you best. It also has a built-in brewing timer, available from 59 seconds to 9 minutes. However, it does have a less accurate reading on +0.3.
For a top of the range model, the Felicita Parallel Electronic Coffee Scale is a high-end piece of equipment. It has lots of features including auto timers, auto tare, a large rechargeable battery and responsive, lag free design. However, it is on the more expensive side.
FAQs about Coffee Scales
How do you weigh espresso?
- Place your dry, empty portafilter onto the scale and tare it.
- For a single dose, weigh approximately 14 grams for a single basket and 18-21 grams for a double basket. Pour the whole beans into the empty hopper and grind.
For timed dosing, manually grind into your portafilter until the grinds fill the basket and begin to peek over the rim. Weigh your portafilter again to check you have the right dose in the basket. Add or remove grinds as necessary to achieve the right amount.
- Tamp the grinds and lock the portafilter into your machine’s group head.
- Place the cup you’re going to use on the drip tray, on top of the scale. You can now begin pulling your shot!
How accurate do coffee scales need to be?
Ideally, you should be looking for coffee scales which have an accuracy down to .5. If the scales are less accurate than this, it is hard to get a really precise measurement of your coffee grounds.
Is it worth getting coffee scales?
If you want a perfect brew every time with a consistent taste, then yes, it is worth getting yourself some coffee scales.
Using coffee scales will leave you with a fuller, more balanced brew.