Olivers latest column

"The V60 Drip Scale has the opposite effect. It makes me happy."

The last years Oliver Strand  of the New York Times published loads on information about the specialty coffee scene in the USA. With good apps he showed many coffee lovers the way to fine adresses. But Strand ha announced to stop with publishing about coffee for the NYT. As expected, also his latest article on the the V60 Drip Scale is informative.

By Oliver Strand New York Times

I’ve been good this year, which must be why I already have the V60 Drip Scale from Hario. A slim device with the footprint of an iPad Mini, it’s a step up for coffee scales. Actually, as far as I know it’s the only digital scale designed expressly for coffee. The engineers at Hario not only put a timer next to the readout screen, but added a couple of hidden features that address the specific needs of brewing coffee.

Why, some of you might wonder, do you need a scale with a timer to make coffee? Simple. The more systematic your method, the easier it is to brew coffee well. The traditional units for preparing coffee — a cup, a scoop — are so broad as to be useless, and in the haze of the early morning, you want to cut down on the guesswork: tare the scale, turn on the timer, and follow the numbers.

In this way, coffee is just like baking, a discipline in which professional recipes are measured out by weight for both liquids and solids. Weight is more accurate and consistent than volume — chances are your cup of flour won’t be the same as my cup of flour, but 100 grams of flour is always 100 grams — and if many of the cannelé and no-knead-bread recipes you find still use cups and teaspoons, it’s because some editors aren’t sure the reading public is ready to make the switch. There’s no such debate within professional kitchens. Weight won.

Weight is also the winner among coffee’s true believers. A scale is one of the four essential pieces of equipment, along with a timer, a grinder and a brewer. (Although the V60 Drip Scale is a part of Hario’s V60 system –– drip conestandserverkettle –– you should opt in as you see fit.)

Once you have your gear, you can decide to go down the wormhole of seeking out the most authoritative brewing recipe on the Internet. Or you can do what the pros do and use a ratio of grounds to water, then tweak the grind and scale up or down. Emma Bladyka, the coffee science manager at the Specialty Coffee Association of America, suggests starting at a ratio of 1 to 16.

These days, I’m using a ratio of 1 to 17 as my benchmark. Basically, I start with 20 grams of coffee in a rinsed filter, tare the scale, pour over 40 grams of water and let it bloom for one minute, then slowly add more hot water until the screen reads 340 grams.

Actually, the V60 Drip Scale only measures in grams, which is fine, because you should be using grams, which are more precise than ounces, and more intuitive. How much water do you use with .7 ounces of coffee? What about 1.25 ounces? Now try the math at 7 a.m.

The V60 Drip Scale is accurate and easy to read; the numbers doesn’t drift as you add water; it measures to the .1 gram for the first 200 grams (and .5 gram after); the 2-kilogram capacity is more than enough for the home; and I like how the built-in timer cuts down on countertop clutter. But the feature I appreciate the most is the generous lag before the automatic shut-off kicks in — the scale holds its numbers for a full five minutes after the most recent activity. Over the last few years I have purchased six digital scales, all of which turn off at around 90 seconds. That isn’t always enough time to get things going, and when the screen goes blank just as I’m adding the water I find myself tapping that deep reserve of anger we save for when technology lets us down.

If I haven’t recommended a scale until now, it’s because I’ve been unhappy with every one that I own. The V60 Drip Scale has the opposite effect. It makes me happy. The scale does more than weigh coffee and look good while doing it — it helps my mood. That’s a gift worth 

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