Weights and measures

More and more the obsession with weights is becoming a frustration. Like just about everyone I know I was taught initially that 7 grams of coffee was the correct amount for a shot of espresso.

I never really understood how “they” arrived at the figure of 7 grams so I didn’t understand why 8 or even 6 grams might actually be ok.

What is important, rather than weight, is volume. Now I realize that weight gives a much more workable measurement for a recipe than a volume. 52cm2 of coffee doesn’t really tell me how much I should be dosing but as we move away from preset dosing into grinding to order, and just about everyone is dosing over 8g per shot, then volume does become relevant.

The idea of a recipe is that it aids replication. People are beginning to understand that coffee is organic – it is not constant. The same coffee roasted differently will have a different density and hence a different weight for the same necessary volume. Is it likely that the concept of a recipe for the advanced barista will become defunct, instead moving towards an education about weight, volume and the need to use our taste buds to guide us – coupled with an understanding of our machine (and pre-infusion etc) – to getting the very best out of a particular blend and coffee.

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