Why Weigh Your Drip Pour? It's Not Just Geekery. It's Science.
June 08, 2014
One of the first questions anyone asks when they want to improve their coffee is "how much coffee should I use?" The coffee-to-water ratio varies depending on the brewing method you choose and, frankly, upon your own taste buds.
The Golden Ratio - How Much Coffee Should I Use?
The standard brewing ratio (the golden ratio) for drip coffee is 60g of coffee to 1 liter of water. You should consider that a starting point rather than an ironclad rule. If you want your coffee stronger, use more coffee. If it's too strong, use less coffee. Keep in mind that as little as a gram of coffee can make a big difference in your finished cup.
There are standard ratios for the various brewing methods, and they're usually expressed in terms of grams of coffee to milliliters of water; that is, coffee is expressed as a weight and water as volume. The reason we weigh coffee instead of measuring it by the scoop is because the same amount of coffee by weight takes up different amounts of volume depending on the grind. A teaspoon of coffee beans will not produce a teaspoon of ground coffee, but 15g of coffee beans will produce 15g of ground coffee, no matter how finely you grind it. In other words, when you weigh out 15g of coffee, it will always be the same amount of coffee. That's important for the sake of getting consistent results.
Why You Want to Weigh Your Water, Too
For the most part, you don't have the same issue with water, which is why it's okay to measure water by volume most of the time. When you're making pourover coffee, however, it's a little more difficult to get an accurate and precise measurement for the water by volume. If you measure before you heat your water, you'll lose some to evaporation. If you measure after you heat your water, your water won't be at the right brewing temperature. The trick to getting the precise amount of water you want for your drip coffee is to weigh your coffee as you pour. For that, you need an accurate gram scale with a stable platform that's large enough to hold your mug or carafe. There are many gram scales on the market, and a few of them are specifically marketed as "drip scales," but few of them actually offer the features that baristas really need when pouring hand crafted drip coffees.
The Hario Pour Over Scale and Timer is one scale that really deserves to be called a "drip scale." It offers a number of important features that aren't standard on gram scales that aren't designed specifically for brewing. Those features include:
Simultaneous timer and weight readout so you don't have to switch back and forth between weight and timing while pouring. That allows you to keep an eye on bloom time and brew time as well as the amount of water you're pouring for your brew.
Programmable auto-off. You decide how long you want the scale to stay on. A lot of digital scales automatically shut off at two or three minutes, which can put a bit of a crimp into your style if you happen to be in the middle of a pour. The Hario lets you program your scale to shut off when you want it to.
The weighing platform is generously sized, and will easily fit a Chemex, Solo or other drip brewer.
The digital readout is large and easy to read from most angles, so you don't have to squint or bend down to read the numbers.
Style. Like everything made by Hario, the pour over scale is sleek and pretty enough to sit out on your counter all the time.
And if you really want to do it up right, you can add the Hario V60 Drip Station which is designed to fit the V60 dripper, the Hario drip scale and the Hario V60 carafe and turn your counter top into a classy drip coffee station.
How to Weigh Your Drip Pour
Check out Hario's instructional video on using the Hario Drip Scale for pointers on how to use the drip scale to get the best possible flavor from your coffee: