When preparing espresso coffee the importance of dosing coffee can not be underestimated. The term dosing coffee simply refers to grinding the correct or needed quantity of coffee for a given filter basket, think of it as if you were taking a 'dose' of medicine. Too much - not good, not enough - won't be effective. In a commercial situation or for more highly specified grinders it is possible that you would be using a 'dosing' grinder, this is a grinder which delivers a set quantity of coffee. These usually work by allowing the grinder to keep the dosing chamber full, when you pull on a lever it doses one portion of coffee into a porter filter - one for a single basket, two for a double. This is fine for a high volume situation where the coffee doesn't sit for long enough to stale.
For home or low volume situations I prefer the method of manual dosing, put simply this is grinding how much you need - when you need it. This gives you the benefit of knowing that your coffee will be as fresh as can be. Regardless of which method you choose to use the aim is to get a consistent measurement of coffee delivered to the filter basket, for a standard double sized basket this is approximately 14 grams of coffee.
So...how do you manual dose? Well I'll explain below.
- Start by filling your filter basket with ground coffee, you want this to be heaped.
- Holding the port filter in one hand, with your spare hand take your index finger and make a hook shape.
- Using your hooked finger - start on the edge most distant from you and sweep it back over the heaped coffee. Stop halfway across the heap.
- Take your hooked finger and from the back of the basket take it all the way back across - sweeping away from you.
- At this point you have now distributed your coffee grounds. They should be evenly spread across the whole basket and should be a little mounded in the shape of your hooked finger.
By following these few steps you have successfully dosed and distributed your coffee. At this stage it is ready to be tamped, brewed and enjoyed!