What is a Coffee Refractometer?
A refractometer is a laboratory or field device used to measure the index of refraction. In simple terms, it is a tool that can test the concentration of various fluids and solutions whether that be a soft drink for example or tea or coffee etc.
In the case of coffee, it can measure the percentage of dissolved solids (coffee) per cup. In other words, it can be used to measure, and produce, the desired strength of coffee every time.
Extensive research has been done, of course, into how most people like their coffee and what thus constitutes a quality brew. As it turns out, it is extremely difficult to consistently produce just the right standard of coffee every time, especially if you are making individual cups for many people a day. This is where a coffee refractometer comes in. This device stores a formula that serves as an ideal benchmark to strive for. If a coffee sample matches this benchmark, then a coffee house owner can better guarantee just the right taste every time as indicated in this review of refractometers.
Who Uses a Refractometer for Coffee?
Refractometer RF15 with Automatic Temperature Compensation (0-32 Brix)
This is not a tool that you would generally need at home since you can usually figure out quite quickly the best mix of beans and water to suit your taste. However, some home brewers do prefer to perfect the art and believe it or not there are some refractometers that are priced to suit the home expert, one of which is reviewed in this article.
But people who run coffee houses need to satisfy the palette of many, many people. These are the people who would have a need for a refractometer to make sure that they can consistently provide top quality coffee to all of their customers all of the time.
It’s about reputation, good will and consistency. Failure to deliver that exact taste everyday is likely to drive customers away. Customers want to know above all else that they can be assured of that same great taste every time they return to their favorite coffee house. And coffee houses are the perfect spot for socializing. Happy customers are more likely to bring along their friends if they are always impressed by a top quality brew.
How Does a Refractometer Help Make Better Coffee?
A refractometer controls how much coffee ends up in a cup of coffee and how much time it is brewed so it is perfect. Apparently, a lot can go wrong in the last five minutes of brewing a coffee. The secret to making coffee that is not weak or too strong, sour or bitter, is in measuring the reflective index so that you get that perfect cup of coffee every time.
It is the strength of the beverage that makes it taste the way it does. So it is the job of a refractometer to make sure you only extract the right amount of dis-solvable coffee, which is usually around 18 to 22 percent. This is really quite technical, which is why coffee houses should only hire trained people who understand the art of making a good coffee. And in actual fact, a refractometer is used for quality control purposes not only in a coffee roaster but also in training baristas. You can see now why so many coffee houses require their employees to have a barista qualification.
A Coffee Refractometer from Amazon
The market is now flooded with affordable coffee refractometers but Amazon has one of the best ranges.
Vee Gee Scientific BTX-1 Handheld Refractometer
The Vee Gee Scientific BTX-1 Handheld Refractometer measures the sugar content in a variety of drinks, not least of which is coffee.
Regardless of the temperature in your work environment, the Vee Gee BTX-1 can give you reliable coffee temperature readings every time. And the rubber hand grip further guards against any possible ‘contamination’ of readings.
The scale is very easy to see.
Other refractometers for coffee include the Atago 3452 PR-201a Palette Series Portable Digital Refractometer and the Atago 2352 MASTER-53T Hand-Held Refractometer
But there are many others. So if you are looking to buy a coffee refractometer, you can check out the whole range here and access customer reviews at the same time.
Featured image by Stuart Miles, freedigitalphotos.net