Should you weigh out your ground coffee before brewing?

18 Jan 2022

Coffee

Want to get the most out of your morning cuppa? Here’s why weighing out your ground coffee can really make a difference…

If you’re anything like us, you can’t get enough of vibrant, aromatic coffee. Whether you use a cafetiere, enjoy a Moka pot espresso or appreciate the delicate notes of an AeroPress, did you know that precision is the key to the most satisfying cuppa? Weighing out your ground coffee may seem like an unnecessary extra step — can a gram here or there really make a difference? But there’s a reason expert baristas keep an eye on their digital scales, and it can take your coffee to the next level.

So, how can weighing out beans or ground coffee before brewing boost your drinking experience?

Ground coffee on weighing scales

Why do baristas weigh ground coffee?

A great cup of coffee is all about getting the perfect coffee-to-water ratio. For professional baristas, consistency is key. Of course, we all have different preferences, and no two cups of coffee will ever taste exactly the same, no matter how precise you strive to be. However, cafes aim to provide quality drinks that their customers can rely on. Much of this centres around getting a beautiful espresso — the base of cappuccinos, lattes, Americanos, and other barista drinks.

A delicious espresso pivots on a few factors. You want to ensure the right amount of water filters through the coffee at the optimum temperature — and at the correct pressure. But another vital factor is making sure there’s the ideal amount of coffee so that the water filters through at a pace that extracts flavour without burning the drink. How do you do that? By weighing the ground coffee!

Baristas try to ensure they get the same amount of ground coffee for every espresso.

Should I measure my ground coffee at home?

Have you ever woken up late and blearily eyeballed the amount of coffee going into your coffee maker? Don’t worry — we’ve all been there!

Many packs of coffee for home brewing will suggest measuring your beans or grounds in scoops or tablespoons. There’s no problem with preparing your coffee in this way. But it can still lead to variations in the coffee-to-water ratio. Do you add a level scoop, a heaped tablespoon? Ultimately, using scales gives you far more control over the exact amount.

What’s more, you may find the suggested amount of coffee too weak or strong for your taste. Weighing your coffee in grams gives you more room to tweak the ratio slightly and find the balance that works for you. After all, it’s easier to get an exact 5g than estimate just under half a tablespoon. And once you strike the right balance for your preferences, you’ll know. Every sip will make your taste buds sing!

Should I weigh whole beans or ground coffee?

If you’re using whole beans (which can help your coffee stay fresher for longer), some people suggest weighing them out before grinding.

However, there’s a chance that some particles of your ground coffee may get stuck in the coffee grinder. As such, you may get a more accurate measurement by grinding your beans before weighing them.

What about coffee grind?

You may notice that there’s a difference between a tablespoon of coarse-ground coffee and a tablespoon of very finely ground coffee. It’s worth checking what grind size will work best for your preferred brewing method.

Particle sizes and density will alter the amount in a scoop or spoon, so you can get a more accurate measurement by using scales.

Close-up: person weighing out coffee beans

Do different brewing methods affect how much ground coffee I should weigh out?

Whilst brewing up a top espresso in a coffee shop usually involves a professional espresso machine, the principle of getting a good coffee-to-water ratio is the same for other brewing methods. And each one generally requires a slightly different ratio.

Espresso machines use pressured water to extract coffee but other brewing equipment behaves differently. Particularly those that create long drinks. With some methods, you may lose some water content through evaporation.

If you like whipping up an espresso with a Moka pot, you’ll be using percolation (these stovetop pots have two chambers and filter hot water up through the coffee grounds). As with an espresso machine, you get a short, more concentrated drink when you use a Moka pot.

A cafetiere (French press), on the other hand, uses steeping — immersing the coffee particles in hot water to release flavour. AeroPress is another immersion method, although it also uses a light amount of pressure to push the steeped coffee through a filter.

Pour-over equipment, such as V60 and Chemex coffee makers use a drip method. This is where hot water filters through the ground coffee, extracting flavour as it goes.

How many grams of coffee do I need?

All this said, how much coffee should you be measuring? Well, a good place to start is to follow “The Golden Ratio.” This renowned ratio of 1:15, coffee to water proposes that you should use one gram of coffee for every 15 grams or millilitres of water. It’s a good option for immersion brewing methods such as French press where the coffee sits in the water for a substantial amount of time.

To put things into perspective, here’s a general starting point for different brewing techniques:

  • Immersion (cafetiere, AeroPress): 16g of coarse ground coffee for every 240ml of water, brewing for four minutes.
  • Pour-over (e.g. V60): 15g of medium ground coffee for every 250ml of water, brewing for three to four minutes.
  • Percolation (Moka pot): 20g of finely ground coffee per 300ml of water, heating gently until you hear the water start to gurgle.
  • Drip filter coffee machine: 16g of medium ground coffee for every 240ml of water (the timing will be automatic).
Pour-over coffee maker, mug, and coffee grinder

Coffee pods: weighed out for you

Perfectly measured ground coffee can indeed help you get the best brew for your morning cuppa. However, we can’t deny that grinding and measuring beans does add an extra couple of steps to the process. If you’re in a hurry, why not consider using coffee pods instead?

These handy little capsules contain just the right amount of ground coffee to get the most delicious results from your home coffee machine.

At Hotel Chocolat, our Rabot Estate Coffee Pods are the ideal way to get delectable coffee with minimal fuss and mess. Each pod is brimming with ground coffee, tamped and ready to go. We’ve also sealed them in aluminium for freshness. So whether you like your coffee mellow and soothing (try our Cashmere blend) or vibrant and fruity, like our Oh, Hello offering, you can be sure you’ll get maximum flavour.

Pair with our nifty Podster coffee machine for the ultimate espresso at the touch of a button!