What Is Coffee Dosing? Get It Right Or Your Coffee Is Bad

what is coffee dosing

Coffee Dosing – Your Ticket To A Perfect Cup

There’s nothing like a good cup of coffee. We know this, right? But what if you could have a stellar cup every time?

Coffee dosing is the way to go if you want to brew spectacular coffee. 

Coffee dosing is the measurement of the best coffee to water ratio required to brew to achieve the desired strength and flavor. Dosing can be done with measuring spoons or a scale and by adjusting the amounts to satisfy personal preference. Coffee dosing is the key to brewing consistent tasting coffee.  

When you taste that perfect sip of balanced brew, you just know it. It’s also easy to tell a bad cup of coffee from a cup of joe that’s done right.

Coffee dosing plays a large role in what makes a good or a bad cup of coffee. Dosing refers to the proper grind quantity needed for an espresso or other automatic coffee maker filter basket. It’s like taking a dose of medicine. Too much is too strong while not enough creates an ineffective result.  

Discover what is coffee dosing and how it can make or break your coffee beverage.  

Key Takeaways

This article discusses the definition of coffee or espresso dosing, the importance of coffee dosing, dosing cups, and filter use, and whether it’s important to tamp espresso to get a good drink. 

  • Coffee can be dosed in various weights to brew light, medium, or bold coffee
  • Doses can be measured by hand using measuring spoons or by scale for exact measure.
  • Coffee beans can change flavor profiles. Experiment to get the taste you like best.
  • Proper coffee dosing can be the difference between average and excellent tasting coffee

Why is it Important to Dose Coffee?

Getting the coffee dose right isn’t something that you’re going to want to skip even if you’re short on time. In fact, using the correct dose is likely the single most important thing that you can do to make the difference between good and bad coffee. 

If you’re using an automatic espresso machine, you don’t need to worry about trying to get the water ratio right if the machine lets you pre program this volume.

 Where you’ll need to pay special attention is the dry ground coffee dose.

Also known as the “input”, a dose of dry coffee is measured in grams (or tablespoons) and poured into the portafilter basket for espresso or paper filter for most other methods..

Consistency is key when it comes to coffee dosing. Switching up the coffee dose can make some funny (or not-so-funny) things happen to your brew.

What Do You Need To Dose Coffee

The equipment needed for coffee dosing is straightforward. The chances are that you have them laying around in the kitchen. 

  • Measuring spoons in grams or tablespoons
  • A coffee scale is nice to have if you want to be precise. But it’s not mandatory
  • Dosing cups can also be used. But for the purpose of this article, we are going with the 2 most basic dosing methods of spoons and scales.

How To Dose Coffee And Espresso

These instructions guide you step-by-step on how to dose coffee and espresso. The basic instructions assume that a coffee grinder is used. 

But, pre-ground coffee can be used for dosing. Pick a fine grind for espresso, medium for drip, or whatever is recommended by the manufacturer.

Common Coffee Doses

Fine-tuning your coffee dose can help keep flavor consistent. I put these tables together as a guide to help with measuring your doses. These doses  are what is commonly used to brew coffee in light, medium, or bold flavors.

I used average serving size but keep in mind that this can vary based on your desired taste, beans used, and size of the device. 

How To Use The Coffee Dosing Charts:
AeroPress. If I wanted a light tasting coffee. I would use 1.1-1.2 tbsp. of fine ground coffee with 8 oz. of water. If you are using metric, use the guideline from the table I provided for grams and milliliters.

Common coffee doses in tablespoons (tbsp)

Brewing MethodGrind SizeCoffee Serving (oz)Light (g)Medium (g)Bold (g)
AeroPressFine8 oz1.1-1.2 tbsp1.2-1.3 tbsp1.3-1.4 tbsp
ChemexMedium-Fine6 oz1.1-1.2 tbsp1.2-1.3 tbsp1.3-1.4 tbsp
Drip CoffeeMedium6 oz1 tbsp2 tbsp3 tbsp
EspressoFine1.5 oz1.5-2 tbsp
French PressCourse8 oz2 tbsp3 tbsp4 tbsp
Pour OverMedium-Fine8 oz1.1-1.2 tbsp1.2-1.3 tbsp1.3-1.4 tbsp

Common coffee doses in grams (g)

Brewing MethodGrind SizeCoffee Serving (ml)Light (g)Medium (g)Bold (g)
AeroPressFine200-240 ml15-17 g17-19 g19-21 g
ChemexMedium-Fine300-360 ml15-17 g17-19 g19-21 g
Drip CoffeeMedium237 ml15 g30 g45 g
EspressoFine30 ml6-8 g
French PressCourse240 ml30 g45 g60 g
Pour OverMedium-Fine237 ml15-17 g17-19 g19-21 g

How To Dose Espresso

An espresso dose refers to the weight of the dry coffee grind that’s used to make every espresso recipe in the book.

The weight of a dose can vary depending on whether you prefer a lighter or more intense espresso. While most espresso doses range from 5 to 30 grams, the average range for a modern espresso shot runs closer to 18 to 21 grams.

Espresso taste has a lot to do with the bean you choose. It also means knowing how to adjust a recipe effectively to create a better beverage flavor. It’s best to remove variables and keep your dose consistent when you’re trying to reproduce top-notch espresso flavor.

Any good espresso recipe will take the dose, yield, and time into consideration to make coffee taste consistent from brew to brew.:

Sometimes baristas aren’t able to control exact time or yield because of the machine used. But the one thing that you can do is ensure that your dose of dry ground coffee is measured correctly.

Get your dose right consistently and you’re well on your way to creating the perfect espresso shot every time.

Espresso Dosing Step by Step

  1. Fine grind coffee beans using a grinder (single serve grinder is best)
  2. Measure 7 to 9 grams of espresso per ounce of water with a scale or measuring spoon.
  3. Add the ground coffee to the portafilter
  4. Tamp the coffee firmly
  5. Attach the portafilter to your espresso machine
  6. Start the espresso brewing cycle 
  7. Stop brewing when you have the desired amount. This will be 1.5 to 2 ounces for a single shot 
  8. Drink it straight-up or add to your favorite coffee drink

How To Dose A Single Cup of Coffee

In the world of coffee grinding, there are two basic ways to dose a cup of coffee. If you don’t have a coffee grinder, that’s ok. You can use pre-ground coffee too.

This first method is the most common one used in the U.S. First, fill your coffee grinder hopper with coffee beans to the brim. Grind the amount of coffee desired in tablespoons or grams. That’s about as straight-forward as it gets.

The second method, single-dosing, is less common. A single dose involves starting with an empty coffee grinder hopper instead of a full. To single dose a cup of coffee, weigh out the exact coffee bean amount that you need for your brew.

For example, if you need 30 grams of ground coffee, measure out 30 grams of beans, and put that single brew dose into the grinder. This basically means that you measure out the coffee beans that you need for your cup or brew and just grind that amount of beans.

Single dosing may not seem as convenient, but it creates a better aroma, locks in flavor, and prevents loss of taste due to oxidation since the hopper isn’t just sitting there full of pre-ground coffee. It also helps you get a meticulous weight for a consistent dose every time. 

If you prefer to always single dose coffee, then using a single dose coffee grinder is the way to go. It’s convenient and since beans are freshly ground, your coffee will be better than most pre-ground that’s sat around for awhile.

Single-dosing works best if you are using a pour over method to brew your coffee. Always take time to bloom your coffee. You’ll get a nice rich flavor every time. Check out my article about coffee blooming to get the inside.

Single Cup Coffee Dosing Step By Step

  1. Measure 15-20 g of coffee determined by your preferred intensity.
  2. Grind your brands to a medium fine grind using a coffee grinder.
  3. Add the grounds to your pour over filter.
  4. Pour hot water enough to bloom the coffee.
  5. Pour the hot water according to your pour over device instructions.

How To Dose Drip Coffee

Drip coffee is the staple of most households. It’s loved far and wide for the sheer volume of coffee it can pump out for friends and family, or a savory pot of your own. You are bound the brew drip coffee at some point because of that.

And it is convenient too. It’s a favorite “set and forget” coffee ritual for many of us. Pre-ground coffee is the most common used for drip. But like the other methods, grinding is preferred and dosing follows the same guidelines.

Drip Coffee Dosing Step By Step

  1. Measure the amount of coffee you want to brew.
  2. Grind the beans to a medium ground.
  3. Measure or weigh the desired amount for light, medium, or bold intensity
  4. Add a filter to the coffee filter basket.
  5. Add the coffee
  6. Press brew according to your drip coffee maker instructions.

Final Thoughts

Getting your dose right with correct measurements and proper tamping can help you make a fantastic shot of espresso or coffee every time. Dosing coffee is easy with tools like measuring spoons. But grinding coffee before dosing provides a flavor that is more balanced and smoother than winging it manually.


Christopher Mize

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