The ultimate goal for anyone brewing coffee at home is to make themselves the most delicious coffee they can. There are many ways to do this: buy great coffee, grind it fresh and at the correct coarseness, and make sure you have the proper amount of ingredients. You would weigh your flour, butter, and sugar when making a cake. Why not consider getting the scales out when making your coffee? Could it make a difference? Is a coffee scale necessary?
If you want to make the tastiest coffee possible, then yes, you need a coffee scale. To make delicious coffee, you need to know the exact amount of coffee and water you are using.
Knowing precisely how that perfect cup of coffee was made allows you to create said coffee repeatedly. Equally, if it’s not perfect, you can adjust the amounts easily to improve it.
Why are Scoops Not Sufficient?
Scoops are not sufficient because they are not very accurate. The same amount of coffee by weight can take up a different volume depending on how it’s ground. A scoop of coarsely ground coffee (for a cafetiere) will weigh less than a scoop of finely ground coffee (for an espresso).
Also, have you ever tried to scoop two identical weights of anything? It’s almost impossible!
Does it Need to be a Coffee Scale Specifically?
No, any scale that is accurate to the nearest gram will improve your coffee, but if you’re going to buy a scale especially for coffee, then a scale that goes to the nearest 0.5 of a gram (or even better, 0.1g), is going to make all the difference.
What defines a coffee scale from a regular scale is usually a scale combined with a timer. A timer isn’t necessary; you can use a stopwatch or your phone to time while weighing with your scale).
In this post, I will review scales in three categories: budget, mid-range and high-end. All the scales I’m reviewing are available on Amazon, and I will put a link to each one, so you can do a full technical specification read there if you wish.
Budget Scales that Give you More Bang for your Buck
These were the first scales I ever used for brewing coffee. I bought them because they were on offer in my local Tesco for a tenner. You do need digital scales for coffee, and although these are not ideal because you can only measure to the nearest gram (ideally, we want 0.5g as a minimum), they are a great value. The Salter Digital Kitchen Scale is simple to use, weighs up to 5kg (so you can also use it as your standard kitchen scale), and handles a spill. They’re also 18cm long, so plenty of room if you’re brewing coffee into a jug or Chemex.
A pair of scales that weigh down to 0.01g. What is not to love? Not much if you are only making espressos. These pocket rockets (and they really will fit in your pocket) are great if you’re weighing small amounts of coffee to make an espresso. They fit the basket from your group handle on them and slide nicely onto your drip tray to weigh the volume of your espresso (you may need to remove the lid, though). However, if you’re brewing any real volume of coffee, they will only weigh up to 200g, and you can not fit a jug on them. Overall, they’re great for your espresso machine.
The JiaJiaTao Digital Kitchen Scale lies between the previous two scales, larger than the pocket scales (just big enough to fit a jug) and smaller than the Salter scales (small enough to fit on most espresso machines drip trays). It weighs up to 3kg but has an accuracy of 0.1g. To clean, simply wipe down with a damp towel. Another positive about this scale is that it has an auto shut off after 60 seconds to preserve the batteries. The downside is that it can’t be submerged in water.
Mid-Range Scales (Practicality Without Breaking the Bank)
A friend of mine who runs a small coffee roastery swears by these scales. This scale offers high precision that can accurately measure .1g to 2kg. What I love about this particular scale is how durable and thin it is. Not only does it include a timer, but there is also a button that calculates the net weight of ingredients by subtracting the weight of the bowl or cup on its own. Another plus to this scale is the battery life; it can last up to ten hours. One negative about this product is that it can’t be submerged in water.
The Hairo V60 Scale is minimalistic in function and design. It’s built for precise measurements, up to 0.1g of accuracy, and comes with a drip timer for perfect bloom times and pours each time. I love how it includes an auto shut-off after 5 minutes of no use, which is great to save on battery life. The negatives to this scale are that it cannot get wet and has a slightly slower response time when adding coffee beans, so you have to move slower when pouring them. If you are like me and often in a rush in the mornings, this may cause you some frustration.
High-End Scales for Ultimate Accuracy and a Bit of Vanity
The Acaia Pearl Model S Professional-Grade Digital Smart Coffee Scale is my favorite high-end coffee scale. If you are a coffee enthusiast and don’t mind the price tag of nearly $300, then this is the scale for you. With its sleek design, it monitors the weight, time, and flow rates as you brew your coffee.
My favorite function is the ability to link to your iPhone or Android when downloading the Acaia app. It allows you to explore all the possibilities of coffee making. These scales include a timer, they’re accurate, and they can link up to your phone via an app so you can monitor and record every technical of your brew.
This model can do everything you need, can stand being covered in water and coffee, and are easy to clean. Batteries are not needed since you are able to plug the scale in to charge, and I must say the battery life is excellent. I have a set of these scales (the original pearl, not the new ‘S’ model), and they have been going for years.
My only issues with these scales are that the charging port can get damaged if not carefully plugged in. Although this piece can be replaced it will cost you if they are out of warranty. Also, they’re perfect for any filter brew but too big to fit on the drip tray of an espresso machine.
I’ve never owned, but always coveted, the Acaia Luna scale. It’s a stunning, miniature version of the Pearl. It’s small enough to use on your espresso machine drip tray, and you can buy (at an additional cost) a magnetic weighing plate that will fit your group handle on. Ideal for making espresso, but too small for anything other than a single cup filter brewer.
Our list of preferred coffee scales was chosen based on precision, tare function, size, and battery life. Depending on your personal preferences and what you are looking for in a coffee scale, the budget scales may be enough for you. But if you are a true coffee enthusiast, then one of the Acaia models is something you would love to have in your kitchen and show off to all your other coffee-loving friends.