Dosing in Coffee

Dosing in Coffee

Most of us cannot live without a morning cup of coffee, and we may even have a preferred coffee brand to throw in our percolator or French press. 

Some coffee lovers dedicate themselves to mastering the art of coffee making. Such coffee connoisseurs have broken down brewing into an exact science known as dosing in coffee. Below, we will explore the concept, definition, and procedures involved in dosing in coffee. 

What Is “Dosing” In Coffee?

Dosing in coffee mirrors the practice of dosing in medicine. It is the practice of exacting the measurement of coffee grounds to create the perfect shot of espresso.

Dosing in Coffee involves grinding the coffee to a designated and deliberate fineness and measuring the perfect amount to fill the filter basket in an espresso machine. In coffee shops, this usually involves specific tools, like dosing grinders that dispense an accurately measured amount of coffee grounds to pack into a single or double filter basket. 

Many coffee shops also use a dosing cup to distribute the coffee grounds in the espresso filter basket evenly.

At home, dosing can be a manual practice akin to using your finger or flat object to pack a cup of flour evenly. Again, the most important aspect of dosing is getting the measurement and distribution right. As with baking a cake or dessert, eyeing coffee grounds measurements isn’t good enough. 

There is a perfect amount of coffee grounds and a specific packing and smoothing procedure involved in making an espresso that is just the right strength, texture, and flavor.

What Makes Dosing in Coffee Essential?

If you’re wondering whether it’s worth it to follow meticulous measuring procedures involved in dosing, the following sections prove why dosing in coffee is what any barista worth their salt adheres to. 

Getting the Flavor Right

Dosing in coffee ensures that your coffee is flavorful because it delivers the most accurate measurements for the most accurate proportions of water to coffee grounds. Making a delicious espresso isn’t just a matter of throwing coffee grounds into the espresso machine and hoping for the best.

If you underdose coffee grounds, the espresso machine will force water and steam too quickly through the grounds. The result will be a weak, tasteless shot of espresso that is underwhelming to your taste buds and your energy level. 

If you pack too many coffee grounds, the espresso shot will taste too bitter to consume and definitively ruin an espresso drink with milk. 

Tamping and Dosing

Tamping and dosing go hand in hand. Where dosing is the exact measurement of coffee grounds for an espresso shot, tamping refers to the correct method of packing and evenly distributing the coffee grounds in the coffee filter basket. Again, think about smoothing flour or sugar in a cup measure.

Coffee Tamper

Just as underdosing will result in weak espresso, tamping incorrectly will result in the water or steam saturating a disproportionate density of grounds, likewise resulting in bad flavor and consistency.

Most espresso machines have a compressing tool on the side of the machine that packs and spreads the coffee grounds to a perfectly even mound inside the coffee filter. If you don’t have a compressing tool or espresso machine, all you need is your finger!


The correct execution of tamping and dosing not only results in the best flavor but also the best consistency and mouth feel. Before you even taste a shot of espresso, you will be able to gauge if the espresso is up to par visually.

The rule of thumb for perfect consistency is to focus on the thickness of the crema, which is the thin layer of foam that collects on the top of an espresso shot. 

A correctly dosed and tamped espresso will deliver a golden foam with brown streaks that overlies a thick, rich, velvety espresso shot. 

Caffeine Control

Half the point of drinking coffee is to get a quick jolt of energetic euphoria to fuel your morning or afternoon. If you don’t measure and pack your grounds correctly, you won’t be able to control the caffeine content.

This can be disastrous at either extreme. If you underdose or unevenly tamp the watered-down, tasteless espresso will also skimp on caffeine, leaving you bereft of energy.

If you put too much coffee grounds in, the over-caffeinated, bitter-tasting espresso shot will give you the dreaded jitters. 

How to Properly Dose Coffee?

Properly dosing coffee is a tedious practice to do manually, which is why you’ll usually only see it done with consistency at coffee bars with espresso machines.

Coffee houses have industrial grinders with various modes to exact grind size and dispensary. They also have scales. The scales will measure the weight of the beans before grinding them to ensure that every single shot is 7 grams and a double is 14 grams. 

Another method is to preset the grinder to a specific time that dispenses the exact gram measurements of coffee grounds, so you don’t have to weigh them every time.

Coffee Measuring Scale

How Should You Optimize Your Dosing Concerning the Roast?

Roast level is a key factor in correct dosing because light and dark roast have different porosity, resulting in different densities. Dark roast beans are more porous than light roast beans.

Thus, water passes quickly through the dark roast, making for better extraction. Light roast is less porous, effectively blocking the movement of water and making it harder to extract espresso. 

With this in mind, you can use higher doses of dark roast and lower doses of light roast to make the perfect espresso.

What is a Dosing Cup?

Dosing cups are a barista or home barista’s best friend. Their design allows them to latch onto a grinder to catch every last coffee ground. You can also use them to measure whole beans or grounds to know the exact dosage you’ll be packing into the espresso filter basket.

The dosing cup is also usually the same diameter as the espresso filter, so there’s no leakage when you transfer the proper dose of coffee grounds to the filter. 

Coffee Dosing Cup


Dosing in coffee is a foolproof way to ensure consistent quality in espresso-making. It requires baristas to exact measurements of ground coffee to provide the optimal density through which steam and water flow to deliver a rich and flavorful espresso.

You can try dosing in coffee at home with a scale and dosing cup or the tools provided by your home espresso machine. Let us know how your dosing in coffee experience went in the comments below.

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