Measuring Coffee

Comparison of volumes of coffee beans and ground coffee

I like freshly ground coffee, so I only grind as much as I need. So, what happens if you buy coffee that’s already ground, is 1/4 cup of coffee beans the same as 1/4 cup ground coffee? It turns out, no.

The photo above shows how much a level scoop of coffee beans weighs and shows the same weight of coffee beans after being finely ground (the espresso grind I use). Not all the ground coffee fits in a level scoop.

Weights of equal volumes of ground coffee and water
Weights of equal volumes of ground coffee and water

It turns out that only about 85% of the ground coffee fits in the scoop. I spooned in the ground coffee and did not pack it down. Incidentally, the test scoop is the one included with the AeroPress coffee maker.

Using the weight of the water the scoop holds and knowing that one fluid ounce of water weighs 1.043 ounces, the scoop holds a little more than 1 1/3 fluid ounces (which is a bit more than 2 2/3 Tablespoons, or a bit more than 8 teaspoons, or about 40 milliliters).

After I began writing up the results, I wondered if changing the grind of the coffee would give a different result.

Weights of a scoop of coarsely ground coffee and 50 coffee beans
Weights of a scoop of coarsely ground coffee and 50 coffee beans

The photo above shows the weight of a scoop of coarsely ground coffee (similar to a Folgers grind). It’s a little less than the fine grind… but by how much? I wanted to know in terms of how many coffee beens, so I counted out 50 coffee beans and measured their weight. One coffee bean weighs about 0.0044 ounces. The difference between the fine and course grinds is about 2 1/4 coffee beans.

For the curious, one level scoop holds about 92 coffee beans.

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