Grind size is essential when making coffee, but it’s not the only variable. Another factor to consider is dose, which is to say – how much coffee are you grinding?
There are three main ways to dose coffee for a grind – by volume, by time, and by weight.
Each method has its merits and will improve the quality and consistency of your brews at home.
Grind by Volume
Probably the most common dosing method is to use a volumetric measurement like “scoops” or tablespoons. This is a relatively consistent and fairly repeatable system to use, especially compared to just guessing. Once you have a good idea of how many scoops of coffee you need to grind in order to make your coffee, the process is much easier and your coffee tastes better more often!
The downside to volume as a dosing measure is that it’s not very accurate – a tablespoon of large Guatemalan beans and a tablespoon of Kenyan Peaberry aren’t necessarily the same amount of coffee objectively. To improve accuracy and consistency in our coffee, we need a little more precision.
Grind by Time
Using a grinder that runs on a timer, like the Virtuoso+, gives you much higher precision and repeatability. These machines grind coffee for a set amount of time that you get to specify, resulting in almost exactly the same amount of coffee in every dose. Just dial-in the timer so that you know how many seconds you need the grinder to run, and you’ll be set going forward!
The downside here is that grinding by time, while super precise, is not exact. Different beans will grind at different speeds depending on size, roast intensity, and density, and you can see a few grams of variation dose-to-dose. It’s a great way to seriously up your game in terms of consistency between brews, but it’s not the best we can do.
Grind by Weight
Grinding by weight is the absolute most accurate method for dosing. A grinder with a built-in scale will produce exactly as much coffee as you need – every single time. This means you can make coffee with a level of precision and intentionality that was previously unavailable on volume- and time-based dosing.
With grind by weight – like you see on the Sette 270Wi, Vario-W, and Forte – just program your dose precisely (say 18.4 grams for espresso) and the machine does the work for you. Now, you can focus instead on tiny micro-adjustments to fine-tune your extraction, or explore time, temperature, and turbulence now that you know for sure that dose and grind are nailed down.
With grind-by-weight, making coffee like a pro is easier than ever.
Better and Better
However you dose your coffee – by volume, time, or weight – the repeatability of doing so is a major step toward improving your coffee at home. Master one, then consider the next as you continue on your coffee journey!