What’s up with weighing everything when brewing…~!?

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Re: What’s up with weighing everything when brewing…~!?

Postby Christopher Schooley on Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:06 pm

I do think that Jim's point is valid. I would definitely say that grind is probably a bigger issue at home then brew ratios (even though the ratios along with grind, water quality and temperature all work in relation to each other but we all know that, or something). That would be a pretty awesome home or shop brewing tool, a cheap and effective way to check your particle size quickly. There's the Ro-Tap of course and there's this http://bit.ly/hWSWn9 which goes for $200, but what if we could make something that was simplified to measure a more finite range for individual brew methods and could sell for $25 or less a piece?
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Re: What’s up with weighing everything when brewing…~!?

Postby Ric Rhinehart on Tue Mar 29, 2011 4:28 pm

I'm still so thrilled to learn that a customer is grinding coffee at home! When it turns out they are using a burr grinder I sometimes faint in ecstasy. I hear ya Eton, its all in the presentation. My hope is that we all strike an appropriate balance between passionate commitment to coffee and absolute fanaticism. Passion builds converts, fanaticism drives off potential devotees.

Having said all of that, it is important to make an accurate assessment of the likely control points for all of the variables. If you are weighing coffee and water, are you also measuring temperature at point of contact? Are you considering grind particle size and total particle distribution? Are you measuring outcomes and adjusting appropriately?

Ideally we understand everything we can about our process, control variables efficiently, and still embrace the art of great coffee. BTW Eton, great performance in the Brewers Cup.

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Re: What’s up with weighing everything when brewing…~!?

Postby Andy Schecter on Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:26 pm

Christopher Schooley wrote:I would definitely say that grind is probably a bigger issue at home then brew ratios (even though the ratios along with grind, water quality and temperature all work in relation to each other but we all know that, or something). That would be a pretty awesome home or shop brewing tool, a cheap and effective way to check your particle size quickly.


It's far from $25, but if one keeps water, temperature, brew ratio, timing and agitation as constant as possible, then a refractometer will give you a pretty good reading on average grind size (the finer the grind, the higher the TDS).
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Re: What’s up with weighing everything when brewing…~!?

Postby theotherone on Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:24 pm

BTW... just curious and semi-off topic but... how many of you weigh/measure your cupping. Not just coffee... water, water temp, extraction yield, etc... all the stuff ppl are doing for manual brewing. I bet you do it for drip but not on the table... :twisted: Or maybe im just going out on a limb here. I have a feeling im going to get killed... :twisted:


Yes! Thanks for bringing this up. I weigh everything, every time. How are you supposed to evaluate coffee properly if you have varied extractions in each cup? The bloom is deceptive, and it's impressive how uneven my weights are when I just fill to the top. 10 grams of variance is a lot when you're only brewing with a total of 170g - 200g grams of water. I was recently cupping with some folks at their roasting works. I wasn't surprised that they didn't weigh their water, but was astounded that every cup on the table was very under extracted. When extracting coffee for cupping, the same amount of care put into brewing should be applied, and applied with even more rigor.

I also agree that it is up to the barista to actively engage the customer, and to educate them without implying some sort of elitism. It's not the scale that alienates the customers, it's the barista that doesn't engage them because they're busy looking at the scale. I think we have a problem with the customer service, not the coffee service.


Too true. It's not the scale's fault that you have bad customer service, it's the barista. But that's going to have to be another thread.
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Re: What’s up with weighing everything when brewing…~!?

Postby Christopher Schooley on Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:51 pm

Yeah Andy, a refractometer is pro'lly a good idea for a shop, but for home use something easy and cheap that could give you a decent idea of where your grinds are would be a good thing. Wrong topic I guess though. I don't weigh the water on my cupping table.
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Re: What’s up with weighing everything when brewing…~!?

Postby James Hoffmann on Fri Apr 01, 2011 9:09 am

We use a slightly modded uber for cupping - it has a short font so the dispense is much closer to the bowl. We've done specific weighing with the built in scales, though don't now weigh every bowl as we found the variation we were getting wasn't significant when bowls were filled while people paid attention. (We use 12g of coffee +/-0.1g and 200g of water +/5g). Perhaps the band should be tighter on the water but because of the nature of infusion we don't see particularly noticeable changes in extraction as a result of this variance.

It is nice that every bowl gets exactly the same water temp, which kettles etc aren't quite as good at - especially across 20+ bowls.

The downside is having to bring and remove cups to the water, though we're building a new cupping table that should help reduce this problem a little.
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Re: What’s up with weighing everything when brewing…~!?

Postby Alistair Durie on Tue Feb 07, 2012 6:43 pm

Reader Response:

I found this topic particularly interesting, because the initial concern was that weighing would seem too complicated for home coffee brewers, and would potentially turn home brewers off.

Well, I am a home coffee brewer and I use my scales everyday. I can't argue that someone could make a good or even great cup of coffee without a scale, but I can argue that it would be difficult for the home brewer to make A consistent great cup of coffee without a scale. We just don't have the production to give us enough practice to know what 27 grams looks like. So a scale is a must for someone, like me, looking for consistency.

I also agree that you are really talking about a certain level of coffee consumer. Most coffee consumers probably don't frequent your shops and are happy with their Mr. Coffee machines. I know I had one 10 years ago. I also had a blade grinder 5 years ago. Now I use great freshly roasted beans, filtered water, a Vario W grinder, bueno kettle, Chemex or v60 pour over, scale, timer, and MojoToGo app for my iPhone. Why? All to produce a more consistent great cup of coffee. I think as coffee shops bought better, fresher beans and improved their technique for brewing, their product got better. As the product got better some coffee consumers wanted to make better coffee. I would have been brewing coffee like this at home years ago if I had tasted great coffee back then. I happen to feel my investment in making coffee at home was well worth the money, and far less of an investment then my bar, spirits, glassware, and bar tools for making great cocktails.

My point is, don't worry about how the consumer view scales, we are still pretty much the same. There are those that want to make great coffee and are willing to buy your beans, invest in different brewing tools, and take advise.
There are also those that only use coffee to deliver caffeine, that only care about taste as a matter of how much sugar and cream to add, and are probably irritated that they have to wait 4-5 minutes for their coffee to brew. Everyone else is somewhere in between on this journey.

Thanks, feel free to share.

Dutch DeVries
Pittsburgh, PA
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