How to Check the Accuracy of Your Tea Scale

I found this article and thought I’d share it here. I used to cater and have been using kitchen/gram scales for many years. I have 2 small gram scales for the kitchen-one for tea and herbs, one for food. If you are OCD about measuring your tea, you’ll enjoy the article.

This article is from Alice Medrich @ Food52.

Now you have a scale (right?) and you are wondering if it’s really accurate.

You could just weigh a 4-ounce stick of butter (or a pound or a kilo) to see if the scale is in the ballpark. If it’s close enough, you may be satisfied — after all you’re a baker, not a rocket scientist, right? On the other hand, if you weigh small quantities, like salt and leavenings, or if you just believe that a tool should do what it’s supposed to do, read on.

You could use calibration weights (purchased online) to check your scale’s accuracy, or you can use ordinary pocket change. I vote for the pocket change (and instant gratification).

Set the scale to zero and weigh a coin or two: A new penny should weigh 2.5 grams (see note below), 2 pennies should weigh 5 grams, and a nickel should also weigh 5 grams. Don’t worry if your coins are not fresh from the mint, but don’t use any that look really old and worn — when in doubt, try more coins before deciding your scale is off. If a coin or two weighs the correct amount, you can stop there. But those of you who just can’t give it a rest might also like to weigh a whole handful of coins just to make sure accuracy is maintained.

What if your scale is off? If it has a calibration feature (check the manual), follow the instructions to recalibrate. If there is no calibration feature, return a new scale to the store with a disapproving and slightly inconvenienced expression on your face. If your scale is not so new, write to the company and tell them how much you’ve loved their scale but that, alas, it seems to be out of calibration and ask if they could fix it for you. They might ask you to send it in. Do it. They just might send you a new one instead. It has happened…

Note: Only scales meant to be accurate to .5 grams (or less) will register the correct 2.5 grams for a single penny. If your scale is meant to be accurate to only 1 gram (like mine), the weight of a single penny will be rounded up to 3 grams. Stay calm and add a second penny: If the two pennies weigh 5 grams, then all’s right with the world.

10 Replies
t-ching said

Interesting! I’ve had my kitchen scale for a few years, I’ll be sure to check it tonight :D

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mrmopar said

Awesome post. I never thought about the coin trick…rushes off to check scale…

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I want to try the coin trick! Will also be checking soon too!

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Brian said

the ole nickle trick was a good way to measure certain things back in highschool……

LOL! It certainly was…

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Rasseru said

3.56g for penny weight in the uk

Oh, thanks for that @Rasseru. Did not mean to ignore the rest of the tea drinking planet.

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Cwyn said

I’m not really sure accuracy matters as much with tea, for me, as much as for calculating postage.

Brian said

i just keep sticking on forever stamps until it looks good. :-P

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I do the same thing and always try to have a variety of good looking Forever stamps on hand. Even with a gram scale, I almost never weigh my outgoing mail.

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