Whether you are brewing coffee in an aeropress, sipping on your V60 pourover or pulling shots with a fancy espresso machine, no coffee-snob setup is complete without a proper scale.
Whilst preparing our coffee setup for our upcoming espresso machine (the Flair Signature Espresso Maker) I've been researching scales. As with grinders, there is a wide range based on how snobby you want to get.
TLDR; I went for the €29,95 Revall digital scale. It's one of the cheaper / more affordable scales that has a built in timer and is able to weigh up to 3kg for Aeropress / V60 compatibility.
From my point of view, there are two main aspects that differentiate the scales. The first one are the features and the second one the specifications.
I've seen a combination of the following features in most scales:
- Tare: Reset the scale to 0 after putting a coffee vessel / dosing cup / brew device on the scale. All digital scales seem to have this feature, which is great.
- Timer: I've had a hard time finding non-coffee specific scales with a simple timer. Once a scale is labeled with "coffee" or "barista" and include a timer, the price skyrockets immediately.
- Automatic scale modes: Usually when a scale is marked "smart", it contains automatic scale modes. These scale modes for instance start the timer when weight is added, stop the timer when no weight is being added or even tare the scale automatically after adding the cup on the scale.
- Bluetooth and app connectivity: The high end coffee scales expose their weightsensor through a bluetooth connection, which enables you to link the scale to your mobile phone and unlock a whole plethora of advanced features. This includes the automatic scale modes as described in the previous point, but can also show pretty graphs and allow you to log your brews and ratio's.
On top of the features, there are a couple of specifications that have to match your specific coffee setup:
- Size (or "will it fit under my espresso machine?"): This one might seem like a no brainer, but the size of the scale is very important if you want to fit it under an espresso machine. But beware: smaller scales also have smaller maximum weights making them less versatile.
- Maximum weight: This is one that got me by surprise. The smallest scales (that fit under espresso machines) have a small range of maximum weight. If you want to use your scale to measure an aeropress with a mug, or even a V60 with a pot, you are going to need more than a kilogram of weighing range.
- Waterproofness: Scales that are marked for coffee usually have better water resistance than ordinary kitchen scales. In my case I have opted for a cheaper model
- Precision: Most smaller scales have a precision of 0.1 grams, which is good for weighing coffeebeans (some between 1 and 2 grams in weight). Bigger scales sometimes have a precision of 1 gram, so be careful about that.
The first setup I tried out was the cheapest one: a simple small pocket-scale (€17,99 Korona Anja) with a separate simple timer (€11,99 ADE TD 1601). In the end this was a mistake for my setup, for I had missed some important details and found some quirks that irked me. The scale had a maximum weight of 500 grams, making it unusable for aeropress and the timer beeped so loudly it messes up my, otherwise very zen-ly, coffee routine. The built quality of both units was actually quite okay, and the quickness/responsiveness was fine.
Based on my dwellings on reddit
/r/coffee youtube and other coffee sources the €178,00 ACAIA Pearl seems to be the holy grail of smart coffee scales. It has all the features, good form factor, waterproofness and will probably last forever. It is ridiulously expensive though, and will probably be something to upgrade to over time once you are able to appreciate these advanced features. Loads of people opt for the cheaper solutions and will rebuy a cheaper scale multiple times before they hit the same expense as this advanced scale.
Medium / Affordable pricepoint
Which brings us to the medium pricepoint, where I found the €29,95 Revall digital scale. It has a built in timer, weighs up to 3kg, has an accuracy of 0,1 gram, bright display and is perfectly suitable for both aeropress, V60 and even espresso measurements. It even fits and works under the Flair Signature Espresso Maker.