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EXPOSED: The coffee-brewing weapon baristas want to keep secret

by Adam Jenkins on May 02, 2019

Drink better coffee


There are times when precision is critical. There are times it's not.

Take vandalizing a wall as an example. When defacing somebody's garden wall it makes no odds exactly where you spray paint a rudimentary male reproductive organ. As long as it's a fairly good size and the basic biological elements are roughly in the right place, then the owner of the wall will be furious.

This is a fact my neighbor is well aware of. And while the artistic merit of their work leaves a lot to be desired, the emotional response it provoked simply can't be underestimated. I should imagine 99.9% of visitors are far less moved by the 15th Century genitalia in the Sistine Chapel than I was when taking in the spectacle on my brickwork for the first time.

Now, you might say I'm rambling, and I accept that you probably stumbled across this article expecting to discover how a humble weighing scale can upgrade coffee in a flash. But the fact of the matter is it's a public highway and I'm perfectly within my rights to park there.

Anyway, I digress. Precision. That's the point.

Despite what most people think, vandalism and coffee brewing are entirely different things. With a multitude of elements involved, getting just one "wrong" shows in the results.

You can get it right once and be happy. Then do what seems like more or less the same thing the next day and get completely different results. For some people that's fine. But wouldn't it be better to know you can recreate your dream brew every time? Of course it would. I'm sure even my neighbor would agree with that - and arguing with her is like negotiating with a herd of cats.

So without further ado, here's how to use a scale to achieve coffee greatness you can replicate day after day. 

NOTE: We've chosen pour over brewing for this example but the same principles of precision apply for French press, espresso or any other brewing method.

1. Grab your scale

1. Coffee Gator brewing scale

Specifically, Grab a Coffee Gator scale. It's sensitive enough to handle precise weights. You can choose whichever units you're most comfortable working with and critically, it has a timer. Don't worry, I'll explain why that's important shortly.

2. Weigh your coffee

2. weigh the beans

The easiest way to do this is to pop your brewer on the scale, press the 'Zero' button, then add the beans to the filter as shown. We're using 1 ounce of beans here for 13 ounces of water. 

3. Grind the coffee

3 grind the coffee

For pour over you want a medium grind that looks something like the picture here. If you like it strong you can grind it a little finer, or coarser if you prefer it a little more delicate.

Top Tip: Grind it fresh. Coffee stales quickly after grinding so grind and brew if you possibly can.

4. Measure your water

4. Measure the water

The measuring jug in this photo is just there to illustrate a point: An ounce of water weighs an ounce. (The same with a kilo and a litre). So you can place whatever vessel you have to hand on the scale, 'Zero' it and then fill it to get the exact quantity of water you need. In this case, thirteen ounces.

In theory, you could smash that jug to pieces with a lump hammer - you won't need it again. Note: Please ask the bill payer's permission.

Top Tip: In most cases tap water is fine. But try brewing with distilled or bottled water and you'll never look back.

5. Heat the water

5. Heat to the right temperature

Even a scale designed by NASA wouldn't heat your water and neither does ours. You'll need a kettle for that. Ideally one with a gooseneck spout for precision pouring and a built-in thermometer. The thermometer ensures you don't scorch your coffee and end up with a burnt tasting brew or under-expose it so it comes out weak as dishwater. The sweet spot is around 200°F (93°C).

6. Start the clock 

6. Bloom the coffee

7. Time the pouring

Timing is critical for perfect brewing. The usual rule of thumb for pour over is to aim for a three-minute exposure. So start the clock and take the first pour in a spiral motion from the center outwards - just enough to wet all the grounds. If the coffee is fresh and freshly ground, you'll see it puff up and bloom.

Pour the rest of the water in bursts and aim to use it all over the three minute period.

7. Enjoy and experiment

8. The perfect cup

Now is the time to drink the coffee. For best results, enjoy at an ambient room temperature, sitting in a comfortable chair and allowing the coffee to enter your mouth at a 45-degree angle. Only joking - drink it however you like.

But remember, now you've brewed like this it means you can repeat it or tweak it however you want. Not strong enough? Try reducing the grind size, increasing the weight of coffee or reducing the water volume. Too strong? Do the opposite but only ever change one element at a time until you've nailed your personal idea of perfection. The coffee world is now your oyster!

Check out our new scale yourself, exclusively on Amazon.com.

Shop Coffee Gator brewing scale on Amazon

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