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Beginners Reading - Weighing Espresso - Brew Ratios

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Part 1

Before starting to read, this post isn't about what brew ratio one should use, or what is the best dose to start with, but more a general reference as to why you 'might' want to entertain the idea of using scales and weight to help you make an espresso.

 

It is an often asked question as to why someone should buy scales, and start measuring your dose of coffee and the espresso it makes by weight.

 

But nearly all people when making espresso will measure to one degree or another - just in different ways, and with more or less accuracy.

 

For example you could;

 

-Measure your dose (the amount of coffee you are using) by filling up some portions of your grinder's doser, using a scoop or spoon, or levelling / scraping off ground coffee from a basket or setting your on-demand grinder to run for X seconds

 

-Measure your espresso (the amount of coffee that's made) via lines on a shot glass, or eyeballing the level in your favourite cup or stop it when it goes a different colour, or stop it after the same amount of time each shot

 

These are all forms of measuring, with a view to having some way of adjusting the variables in espresso to achieve a desired taste.

 

I would think that most forum members are using a combination of some of the above to help achieve a drink they like the taste of.

 

So measurement isn't a bad thing, everyone uses it. Weighing and using scales is a different and I would say more accurate method of measuring.

 

Why Weigh and Use scales ?

Again its measuring, just in a different way, to a more accurate level.

 

It also allows us to create and use a comparative/similar language and compare recipes and variables used (recipe being the amount of coffee used in weight vs amount of espresso it makes, over a period of time)

 

Frequently asked questions...

 

What do I weigh?

Measure the weight of coffee you are using, preferably after it is ground, preferably to the nearest 0.1g

Measure the weight of the espresso it makes, again to 0.1g if you can. Do not concern yourself with how much volume this is. Focus on the weight only.

 

Why is weighing my espresso better or more accurate than judging it by volume ?

1g of water equates roughly to 1ml of water

1ml of espresso doesn't equate to 1g of espresso though - weight is more accurate.

Where do you measure your volume to, at the peak of the crema?, or when it subsidies?

Also different coffees produce different amounts of crema. This isn't really giving you a common language or measurement to talk to other people about.

 

Weighing then allows you to have accurate measurements of two of the variables in espresso making and therefore either keep them constant or be able to make accurate changes and see the effects of them.

 

Weighing also allows you to talk in terms of a recipe or brew ratio, that you can use with other people.

example; I used an 18g dose of coffee to make 36g of espresso in 30 seconds

 

This along with a commentary on the taste (balanced, bitter, sweet, sour) allows other people to suggest how to improve the taste by changing some of the variables involved.

 

Next - How to Weigh - Brew Ratios Simplified.......

 

Article written by MrBoots2u

 

Credit & thanks to Andy Schecter whose work on brew ratio based on mass makes all our coffee lives a better place

Thanks To Glenn and MWJB for suggestions and error checking

 

 

Edited by Mrboots2u

I write a blog, it's nothing to do with coffee ...

https://rjwinc.wordpress.com

Instagram - rjw_inc

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Part 2

Again, before you start reading this, lets address what this isn't about so you aren't disappointed.

 

This isn't about perfect distribution or dosing techniques.

This isn't the only way to weigh, and whatever process you use will be dependant on the grinder, the scales, and the machine you use.

The examples used of a dose and weight of espresso made are simply only examples, based on the coffee, grinder and setting, and the machine I am using

These are not gospel, just examples.

 

At the end of this article the reader should understand what parts of the espresso making process need weighing, and a couple of suggestions on how.

 

You will need some scales that measure to 0.1 g accuracy and that will fit whatever cup or cups you want to make your espresso in.

There are plenty of these in eBay for around £5 ish and plenty of threads recommending which ones to use on the forum.

At the end of the process we will have two accurate measurements

- the amount of coffee in the portafilter by weight

- the amount of espresso in the cup by weight

 

How you grind your coffee, and into what, will be dependant on the grinder you have, and there are lots of different ones

What you need to know is the amount of ground coffee that you are going to use in the espresso making process

 

Choose what you are going to put your ground coffee into

Here are some examples

- the basket itself

- straight into the portafilter

- a receptacle of your choice

 

Tare the scales (this zeroes them)

Grind your coffee into that weapon of your choice

Adjust the amount out to the exact dose you want

Distribute and tamp level ready for extraction

 

Below are a couple of examples

One I have ground the coffee direct into the basket and weighed

empty%20basket%202_zpsltdulww2.jpg

samll%20scales%202%20_zpskdzsdevj.jpg

 

One where the coffee has gone direct into the porta-filter to be weighed ready to be prepared

large%20scales%20_zpstdjql2qw.jpg

large%20ssacles%202%20_zpsmkkxpzs7.jpg

 

As long as you have an accurate weight of coffee being used then whatever method you choose is fine

I would aim to keep it simple, and not have to transfer the coffee ground from a number of receptacles before levelling and tamping though

 

Next we want to weigh that espresso we make

You should have in your mind an idea of the amount of espresso you want to make (in my example I'm aiming for 36g of espresso)

 

Choose your cup or shot glass

Put it on the scales , Tare the scales to zero

P1030240_zpspfbn2dlf.jpg

 

Put under your portafilter and start the shot

start%20shot_zpsl9agh5jx.jpg

 

Watch the weight on the scales

Aim to stop the shot when you hit the required target weight out (depending on your scale, there may be some lag and you will have to stop the shot before your target weight)

 

Take a note of the time this took if you're using a timer

I was pretty close to my target

 

As an aside if you are measuring by weight don't get hung up on how big or small in volume your espresso is. Your measurement is weight not volume in this process.

It may look a lot less than a 2 fl ounce shots you have previously prepared

 

36 g of espresso here looks like this as a volume

36g_zpsmopzirgj.jpg

 

this is fine, this is normal

 

At this point what we are interested in is how it tastes, not how much of it there is at this point

 

Taste it ..

 

We now have a recipe we can discuss with others

"I dosed 18g of coffee and made 36g of espresso in 27 seconds"

With the some added basic commentary on the taste it allows other people to try and replicate it, or to make suggestions based on how it tastes (sour, bitter, weak, strong)

 

The white large scales in the photos are Acaia scales .

These posts are in no way original or my own work but merely a summation of the knowledge gained on the forum in my time

 

Article written by MrBoots2u


I write a blog, it's nothing to do with coffee ...

https://rjwinc.wordpress.com

Instagram - rjw_inc

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Part 3

 

We now have a brew recipe - How does this help me, and what can I do with it?

 

Let’s recap first…

A brew ratio refers to the weight of coffee grounds in relation to the weight of espresso in the cup.

By changing the weight of the coffee dose, or the weight of liquid espresso in a shot, we therefore change the brew ratio.

Changing a brew ratio alone will change the taste, balance and mouthfeel of a drink - but adjusting the grind as well will restore flavour balance at different ratios.

 

As an aside, different brew ratios can be used to refer to varying descriptions of neat espresso, but what we are really describing is espresso of differing strengths, viscosity and mouth-feel.

 

For instance, a brew ratio of

 

 

  • 1:1 to 1:5 (18 grams in - 18.0 to 26.0 grams out) might be termed as a “ristretto” espresso.
  • 1:1.6 to a 1:2.5 ratio might be termed as a “normale” espresso.
  • 1:3 and over might be termed as a “lungo” espresso.

 

 

One could use the same bean and make an espresso using each of these ratios, then taste each shot to help understand the difference in clarity, balance and mouthfeel between them.

This will give an idea of what kind of strength and mouth-feel someone prefers.

 

Ultimately it is about preference and what you like in the cup

A brew ratio will help you replicate that.

 

So if you are new to espresso, or have a new bean that you are struggling with, how can you use the scales and a brew ratio to help you get a balanced cup?

Here is one approach that may prove helpful.

 

I’m going to start with a brew ratio of 1:2 as a starting point (this is my current preference - it makes a drink with the resulting thickness, balance and mouthfeel that I predominantly enjoy).

So I'm dosing at 18.0g & aiming to get 36.0g in the cup (dose will be dependent on the basket/headspace and equipment you are using).

When dialling in, I'm going to stick to this brew ratio, the only variable I am going to change is the coarseness/fineness of thegrind, to effect a change in taste in the cup

Let’s be clear – I’m keeping my dose, tamp pressure, and extraction temperature all constant, in this process.

 

So we are going to pull a range of shots and see which one we prefer the taste of, e.g;

 

 

  • 18.0g into 36.0g in 20-25 seconds.
  • 18.0g into 36.0g in 26-30 seconds, with a finer grind.
  • 18.0g into 36.0g in 31-35 seconds, with a finer grind still.

 

 

Taste each one & note down which one you prefer.

The one you prefer is a good pint for starting to dial in a coffee .

You may prefer different coffee's at different brew ratios , this is fine , nothing is absolute , and there is no " one size fits all "

 

EDIT July 2017

lets be clear if a 1:2 ratio aint tasty dont stick to it , change it , it's a number / ratio that is a decent starting point and with most fair water , and decent grinder should get you to a ball park extraction , but again it will not suit all coffees and all preferences. So please experiment , dont just stick with it and hope you will get to like it . Taste your espresso before you add milk to it , try and work out some basic tastes - bitter , sweet, acidic , sour , strong , weak and then what it is you like , don't like ...

Article written by Mrboots2u

 

Next article

Changing the brew ratio- what will it do. EDIT didn't do this , go look here , its way better than anything i can come up with

https://baristahustle.com/blogs/barista-hustle/the-espresso-compass

Again this is not my original own work but a summation of ideas and knowledge built up whilst enjoying coffee

Thanks to MWJB for his patience an help , ideas and corrections

Credit & thanks to Andy Schecter whose work on brew ratio based on mass makes all our coffee lives a better place and this article possible.

Edited by Mrboots2u
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I write a blog, it's nothing to do with coffee ...

https://rjwinc.wordpress.com

Instagram - rjw_inc

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These are just copies across from existing articles .....

Here to make it easier to direct to if people need em , read in one place , with one link ....


I write a blog, it's nothing to do with coffee ...

https://rjwinc.wordpress.com

Instagram - rjw_inc

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Really helpful post, thanks! Now to research scales lol

 

These ones seem to be popular amongst members here. I don't own a set of these specific ones but I might order some as I really like the look of them especially the display itself.

 

http://pages.ebay.com/link/?nav=item.view&alt=web&id=150989286512

 

1000g x 0.1g LCD Mini Digital Jewelry Pocket GRAM Scale UK

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These ones seem to be popular amongst members here. I don't own a set of these specific ones but I might order some as I really like the look of them especially the display itself.

 

http://pages.ebay.com/link/?nav=item.view&alt=web&id=150989286512

 

1000g x 0.1g LCD Mini Digital Jewelry Pocket GRAM Scale UK

 

They do look good! The ones I have currently have a rubbish display. I have ordered a pair of these to try out


Profitec 700 | Compak E8

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They do look good! The ones I have currently have a rubbish display. I have ordered a pair of these to try out

 

That's the one I bought the other day, use them all the time now.


Input: 'Terranovered’ Versalab M3 + Mahlkonig EK43 Turkish burrs + Niche

Output: KVdW Speedster + V60 + AeroPress + Syphon + Bialetti Induction Moka Pot + Bialetti Mucka Express + jar of instant for visitors..

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Really helpful post, thanks! Now to research scales lol

 

These ones seem to be popular amongst members here. I don't own a set of these specific ones but I might order some as I really like the look of them especially the display itself.

 

http://pages.ebay.com/link/?nav=item...d=150989286512

 

 

1000g x 0.1g LCD Mini Digital Jewelry Pocket GRAM Scale UK

 

 

 

How are folks finding these scales. I've Bought myself a set and find that after tare-ing them they slowly start to creep up in weight. 30 secs can add a couple of grams. Have I got myself a dud set or just a quirk from a set of scales that cost a fiver?

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With regards to the weighing of the output. Is that primarily due to having to stop the machine manually? When at the desired weight/volume?

 

Whereas, for example the sage DB, la spaz and others, shut off the extraction automatically. Obviously you can still weigh to check the output and then change the volume of water to extract?

 

just trying get my head round the ease of use of it being auto rarther than having switch it off yourself

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With regards to the weighing of the output. Is that primarily due to having to stop the machine manually? When at the desired weight/volume?

 

Whereas, for example the sage DB, la spaz and others, shut off the extraction automatically. Obviously you can still weigh to check the output and then change the volume of water to extract?

 

just trying get my head round the ease of use of it being auto rarther than having switch it off yourself

 

I presume you are refering to the volumetrics that these machines offer.?

Ease = hitting a button when you get to a value on a scale .....not that hard ?


I write a blog, it's nothing to do with coffee ...

https://rjwinc.wordpress.com

Instagram - rjw_inc

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Great article, I measure 18g of grind coffee and time it to about 25sec, its still a little bitter to my taste. Is it too much coffee or what? and 18g is it double or single shot ? thx


:: Rocket R58 :: Mahlkonig K30 :: Mazzer SJ-E :: IMS 18g :: VST 18g :: Push Tamper :: Torr Tamper :: Motta 0.5ml :: Ohaus Navigator XT :: Loveramics ::

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Great article, I measure 18g of grind coffee and time it to about 25sec, its still a little bitter to my taste. Is it too much coffee or what? and 18g is it double or single shot ? thx

How much coffee in weight are you getting out over 25 seconds and in what basket


I write a blog, it's nothing to do with coffee ...

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Instagram - rjw_inc

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How much coffee in weight are you getting out over 25 seconds and in what basket

 

I dunno, I didnt weight it. I judge from flow and timing. It looks good to me with good crema, from time to time. I'm only asking because i dont know how to adjust taste, I wonder if it could be coffee itself.


:: Rocket R58 :: Mahlkonig K30 :: Mazzer SJ-E :: IMS 18g :: VST 18g :: Push Tamper :: Torr Tamper :: Motta 0.5ml :: Ohaus Navigator XT :: Loveramics ::

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I dunno, I didnt weight it. I judge from flow and timing. It looks good to me with good crema, from time to time. I'm only asking because i dont know how to adjust taste, I wonder if it could be coffee itself.

If you dont know what the weight of espresso is out , then i cant help make a recommendation on how to adjust the taste.....

This isn't meant to be rude but that is point of the article - a common language to help you adjust a shot , and to help you understand the variables that are effecting the taste in your cup

to help adjust taste

WEIGHT THE OUTPUT ( read the article :) )


I write a blog, it's nothing to do with coffee ...

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Instagram - rjw_inc

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How are folks finding these scales. I've Bought myself a set and find that after tare-ing them they slowly start to creep up in weight. 30 secs can add a couple of grams. Have I got myself a dud set or just a quirk from a set of scales that cost a fiver?

Creeping up a couple of grams sounds rather a lot. Hard to know the cause but bear in mind that vibration (e.g. on drip tray with pump running ) can cause inaccuracies, as can heat (e.g. putting a hot portafilter on the weighing platform to tare it before filling the basket). Also they need to be stable and level which a drip tray isn't always, so the coffee environment isn't ideal for accurate measurement. But I've only seen my scales (2kg/0.1g SmartWeigh, amazon £15) drift by about 0.3g if they do (which they don't usually).


Rocket R58Ceado E37SAeropressAerGrind • Puck Puck cold brew widget • VST 18g basket • Torr Goldfinger 58.5 convex black Ti/walnut tamper • Torr Goldfinger 58.5 flat sharp edge tamper • Big bag o' beans • Triumph Street Triple 675R

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[/color]Next article

Changing the brew ratio- what will it do..[/color][/color]

 

Hello Mrb2u did you already have that final article written about changing the brew (you mentioned in a reply in the thread that you were moving existing articles), just wondered if this was already written but not moved here yet?


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Hello Mrb2u did you already have that final article written about changing the brew (you mentioned in a reply in the thread that you were moving existing articles), just wondered if this was already written but not moved here yet?

 

He probably hasn't worked out the answers required to write said article :p


DE1Pro, EK43 SSP, bloody tasty coffee!

GrindScience.com - My blog of coffee related ramblings

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He probably hasn't worked out the answers required to write said article :p

 

This comment upset Mrboots2U so much, that he won't even reply to me now :(


Everything my heart could desire (more or less). . .

 

https://cupperjoe.com

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This comment upset Mrboots2U so much, that he won't even reply to me now :(

 

I doubt it, he's just too busy refracting his breakfast.


DE1Pro, EK43 SSP, bloody tasty coffee!

GrindScience.com - My blog of coffee related ramblings

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I doubt it, he's just too busy refracting his breakfast.

 

Getting muesli through those syringe filters is a faff though.


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I doubt it, he's just too busy refracting his breakfast.

Getting the tds on his apple juice right is a constant source of frustration. And he drinks it from a latte glass!

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Getting the tds on his apple juice right is a constant source of frustration. And he drinks it from a latte glass!

NEVER drink apple juice from a latte glass!!! It's for coffee....


DE1Pro, EK43 SSP, bloody tasty coffee!

GrindScience.com - My blog of coffee related ramblings

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