When Do You Need A Coffee Scale? (A Quick Guide)

A coffee scale is something that many coffee lovers and coffee experts swear by using. A scale is considered to be one of the most important tools in modern coffee brewing, and many will not brew coffee without one, but when is it really important to use a coffee scale?

You need to use a coffee scale when brewing a precise coffee recipe. This may be a recipe that you are trying out or a recipe that you have refined in the search for your own personal perfect brew. A scale ensures accuracy, and most importantly, repeatability when brewing coffee.

Using a scale when brewing coffee is quite important if you are at all serious about perfecting the brewing process. There are some instances when a scale is not necessary, but most brews can be made better by using this simple tool. Let’s examine the instances when a coffee scale will drastically improve a brew and how it does so.

When Do You Need A Coffee Scale?

coffee scale barista

A coffee scale may seem a little redundant, or it may seem like overkill to the average coffee drinker, but for those who are at all serious about brewing excellent coffee, a set of coffee scales is essential equipment.

There are several instances when using a coffee scale drastically improves and streamlines the coffee brewing process, significantly improving the resulting cup of coffee for the drinker.

Let’s discuss some of the most important reasons why using a coffee scale is important and when it is absolutely necessary to use one.

When Refining A Coffee Recipe

One of the most important uses of a coffee scale is refining a coffee recipe. Every lover of coffee is constantly searching for their perfect cup, and using a scale is the only way to make small, precise, intentional adjustments to a recipe in order to improve it.

It is hard to brew coffee badly, which means there are plenty of good brewing methods, techniques, and recipes in the coffee community, but refining a good recipe into a great recipe requires making very small adjustments to improve the overall brew.

This may be for something as simple as a French-press brew or for something as complicated as a specialty espresso-based drink.

Refining a recipe means adding and subtracting very small amounts of each ingredient to increase the drinking experience of the coffee as much as possible. Using a scale is the best way to do this – accurately measuring both liquids and solids to make slight alterations in order to refine the recipe perfectly.

When Refining A Brewing Method

Refining a brewing method is another good example of when to use a coffee scale.

The way coffee is brewed entirely defines the output quality of the coffee. Bad brewing with good coffee creates a bad cup, while good brewing with inferior coffee elevates the coffee.

The only way to refine a brewing method is by timing each aspect of the brewing process and measuring the number of ingredients used in the recipe. This includes the coffee, the water, and any other ingredients used in the brewing process.

This is vital for very simple and very complex drinks alike. Without the use of a coffee scale, refining a brewing process to perfection is impossible. The only way to achieve a refined brewing method is to know exactly how long each step takes and exactly how much of each ingredient is used in order to make the appropriate alterations toward perfection.

When Recreating A Recipe Or Brewing Method

The same is true when recreating someone else’s brewing method or coffee recipe. If the recipe calls for exact mass measurements of any of the ingredients in the recipe or brewing method, the recipe is impossible to recreate accurately without using a coffee scale.

Most coffee scales have a built-in timer, which makes them a multi-faceted tool for coffee brewing and coffee recipes alike.

If a recipe or method is not recreated accurately, the full expression of the coffee will never be experienced as intended.

To Ensure Repeatability

Repeatability is another important concept in coffee making. If you happen to brew the best cup of coffee that you have ever experienced in your life but have no way of accurately repeating the recipe, the rest of your coffee-drinking existence will be forever tainted.

The ability to accurately repeat a recipe or recreate a cup of coffee is impossible without knowing exactly, to the gram, what went into the coffee, to begin with. 

A dedicated coffee scale is the best way to accurately measure the ingredients in a brew or recipe in order to recreate the brew or recipe if it is good.

Is A Coffee Scale Worthwhile?

A coffee scale is not a necessary tool for most coffee drinkers, but for those who enjoy experimenting with brewing and recipes and for those who are serious about extracting the best flavor from coffee beans, a coffee scale is worthwhile.

The biggest and best names in the world of coffee brewing and drinking swear by the use of coffee scales for making coffee, and many will not make a brew without using coffee scales.

Using a coffee scale adds an element of control to coffee brewing that makes the process smoother, more refined, and much less random. Without a coffee scale, every brew is a guess, and consistency is not an option.

Are Other Types Of Scales Good For Coffee?

kitchen scales

Coffee scales are a specific product designed for use in coffee brewing, but will other types of scales do the job?

Regular kitchen scales are useful for coffee brewing, I there is no other option. These scales are typically not as accurate as coffee scales, as coffee scales are designed to measure even the smallest amount of ground coffee which can be a very fine and light powder.

Regular scales are not usually this accurate, and they do not often possess other useful features for coffee brewing, such as timers and mobile app integration for brew tracking, but regular scales will work if there is no other option.

Any scale is better than no scale when brewing coffee.

Summary

Coffee scales may seem unimportant or unnecessary, but those who have brewed with this equipment will know that using a coffee scale is a step up in coffee quality.

Using a scale allows a coffee lover to accurately create their favorite coffee drink over and over again with a much lower chance of mistakes leading to bitter disappointment.

If you are at all serious about the quality and drinking experience of your coffee, then you need a coffee scale. Once you experience brewing with this tool, you will never want to brew with anything less!