The 5 Best Coffee Scales of 2020
You’ve got a great grinder that consistently spits out the right size coffee. Your brew setup would make a barista blush.
Now you’re wondering how to make next level coffee in the morning. Surprisingly, the answer could be an upgrade in your coffee scale.
If you don’t weigh your coffee, or if you rely on a standard, imprecise kitchen scale, you will have trouble brewing a quality cup day in and day out.
Whether you prefer espresso, pour over, or some other brew method, a coffee scale can help you get the results you want. Read on to find out which scale might take you to coffee heaven.
Best if You Want
Hario V60 Scale and Timer
Brewista Smart Scale II
Apexstone Kitchen Scale
Nourish Digital Kitchen Scale
Acaia Pearl — The High Tech Coffee Scale
When you think of a kitchen scale, high tech probably isn’t the first thing to pop into your head. Acaia wants to change that with their connected and precise, but still stylish, coffee scales. With just a power button and tare button on the front, the Acaia Pearl Coffee Scale might look simple, but it is loaded with features.
If you want to keep everything simple, the Acaia Pearl can do that. The power and tare buttons are all you need to brew great pour overs or weigh coffee for other methods. They are touch sensitive, which allows you to use them for different functions depending on how long you hold them down.
With different modes available, it can get a little complicated to operate with just two buttons. That’s where the connectivity comes in.
Smart devices help you bring 21st century technology to centuries-old processes. Using Bluetooth to connect to your phone, the Acaia allows you to change settings (like audio alerts, auto-off timer, etc.) and record recipes.
This makes data collection simple, so now you can experiment with different recipes and even share your results with friends.
You don’t need to worry about fooling with batteries either since the Acaia battery lasts for more than 25 hours. (Brewing marathon, anyone?) And when it gets low, you can recharge with a USB cable.
Despite all the flashiness, the real test of a coffee scale is how precise and responsive it is. The Acaia leads the pack here as well. It is accurate to .1 grams and responds in real time. This is perfect for brewing great pour overs and pulling consistent espresso shots.
Some users might not be ready for the sophistication and features of a high-end digital scale. But if you want to step your game up to professional brewing, the Acaia is hard to beat in both black and white pearl.
Hario V60 Scale and Timer — The All Around Coffee Scale
Hario is well known for their quality coffee gear, particularly their pour over rigs, which bring excellent glassware to the table. It should be no surprise, then, that they also make a fine scale that is great for pour over brewing.
One feature that helps the Hario scale stand out is the inclusion of a dedicated timer display. Rather than being stuck with knowing just the weight or just the time, this scale shows both at once. This means you can time pours for drip coffee or pulls for espresso.
This scale is relatively slim and fits easily into a kitchen drawer. But you might choose to leave it on the counter anyway because its clean design likely fits right in with your other gear. It won’t be winning any design awards, but it delivers plenty of function in an unassuming package.
Like the Acaia Pearl, the Hario scale does everything you need with just two buttons. The on/off controls power with a long press and tare with a short push.
The timer button starts with a short press and resets when you hold it down. That is really all the functionality you need for solid pour over recipes.
Since it measures accurately to .1 grams, the Hario is great for getting exactly the amount of coffee you want, whether it is for espresso, drip, French Press, pour over, or some other brewing method.
With its ample base, you can brew directly on top of the scale, measuring time and weight as you brew. Unlike some other models, the Hario does not have a heat or water resistant cover. Unless you get really sloppy with your brewing, though, you likely won’t have any issues.
The scale is also responsive, allowing you to measure coffee and water in near real time. It isn’t quite as fast as the Acaia, but it is quick enough for most uses.
One downside is that sometimes the display is a bit hard to read. It doesn’t have the colored backlighting of some other models, so it can be tough to make out in low light. This likely won’t be an issue in most kitchens, but you might consider it if you like to brew at dusk while camping.
Overall, the Hario V60 drip scale provides an excellent entry point into precision brewing. It is a step up from a standard kitchen scale without requiring a large investment.
Brewista Smart Scale II — The Best Coffee Scale for Espresso
If you brew in a slightly less controlled environment, or just want durable scale you can depend on, you might take a second look at the Brewista Smart Scale II, particularly if you like to use a scale when making espresso.
The Brewista addresses many of the minor flaws in the Hario scale. Designed for regular use by baristas pulling espresso in a hurry, the Brewista takes a bold approach to the coffee scale.
With its orange and black color scheme, the Brewista does not shy away from attention. Fortunately, this scale is not all flash and no magic.
It uses a water-resistant nano-coating to keep the important parts protected. And it adds even more protection with a silicone cover.
When it comes to operation, the display shows both timer and scale in strong contrast with an orange backlit display. Not everyone may like the orange, but you can’t deny its ability grab attention.
The Brewista also comes ready to roll with multiple pre-programmed modes for brewing espresso with no fuss. These programs allow you to brew quickly without messing with the tare button. They are great for baristas, which translates to convenience for the home brewer as well.
If you spend all day using the scale, you might need to recharge the battery. That is simple with its micro-USB charging port. Just plug it in overnight, and you’ll be ready to go in the morning. If you use it for lighter home use, you won’t even need to recharge that often.
When you’re trying to recreate the coffee shop experience at home, it often helps to use the tools of the professionals. Since the Brewista was designed for working baristas, it is a great addition to the kitchen of any serious home brewer.
Apexstone Kitchen Scale — The Budget Coffee Scale
If you’re unsure whether a coffee scale can be a real game changer in your brewing routine (it can), you might want to start with a smaller investment in gear. This scale handles all the basics without breaking the coffee budget.
It has a clear backlit LCD screen (in blue or green) that makes the numbers easy to read. The range is also nice because it measures from .1 g to 3000 g, which should handle any coffee task plus a few regular kitchen tasks as well.
When using the silicone mat, you don’t need to worry about water or heat interfering with the scale. And while the build is plastic, it should hold up pretty well to general use. It isn’t the scale you want to run a coffee shop with, but it will get the job done.
With four buttons on the front (On/Off, Tare, Units, Timer), you don’t need to worry about learning multiple uses for the same button. Just press and go. And since they are tactile, you won’t accidentally press them like you might with touch sensitive options.
This scale is on the long side at just over 7.5 inches, so it probably isn’t the greatest travel option. And it might not fit well in an espresso setup. It doesn’t have the fastest response time either, so you probably don’t want to rely on it for quick results.
Overall, though, it is an inexpensive way to up your coffee game, even if that just means moving from an unreliable scoop to a more scientific weight measurement.
Nourish Digital Kitchen Scale — The Minimal, Multipurpose Scale
Another great option for the budget-conscious coffee buff is the Nourish Digital Scale. It is more of a general kitchen scale, so don’t expect to find it on the counter of the geekiest of coffee geeks. It works well for general weighing, though, and can conserve space in a busy kitchen where you don’t want more than one scale.
That’s because the Nourish scale has a wide range, measuring from 1 gram to 11 pounds. So it is handy for measuring your drip coffee or French Press brew. And then you can use it to weigh fruit or maybe bag your own freshly roasted beans.
With its curved corners and thin profile, the Nourish scale looks great on any counter. While it is thin, it isn’t exactly compact, so you might not want to use it for travel brewing.
If you’re brewing pour overs or need a timer for espresso or French Roast, you’ll need to pull out your smartphone or other kitchen timer because the Nourish scale doesn’t have a timer feature.
For a multi-functional scale that will do more than coffee (and look great while doing it), the Nourish is a reasonable choice at a low price point.
What to Consider When Choosing a Coffee Scale
There are lots of options for scales, from general purpose models to those built specifically for the coffee connoisseur. If you’re looking for information on what scale is best for you, you’ll want to think about the following when you browse.
Every brewing method can benefit from a decent scale. They allow you to more accurately measure your coffee to deliver consistent results over time. That applies for French Press and cold brew as much as with espresso or pour over.
But when you are measuring water weight as well or trying to produce accurate timing, a scale designed for coffee brewing is even more useful. So think about the features you need to match your preferred brewing method.
For any manual brewing method, you likely want a timer with your scale. This will help you know when to plunge the French Press or when to lift the kettle for a pour over.
The best scales usually have a dual display which allows you to see both the weight and time together. This prevents you from needing to switch back and forth in the middle of your brew.
If you’re brewing drip or cold brew, a timer is not really necessary at all.
The point of a scale is to give you consistent results that let you dial in the perfect water to coffee ratio no matter what kind of brew you’re working on. For that to pay off, you need a scale that is accurate with small quantities.
Whenever possible, you want a scale that is accurate to .1 grams. This will help you with espresso and pour over in particular, but it is useful for other methods too.
For drip, French Press, and cold brew, you might be able to get away with a little less precision, but you want accuracy to 1 gram at the minimum.
We’ve all left an appliance running at some point. The consequences can range from inconvenient (like a lonely lamp) to dangerous (hot iron, anyone?). With your scale, the main reason for an auto-off is to protect battery life.
But if the timer is too short, it can also mean a frustrating pour over. It’s tough to remember how many grams of water you’ve already poured when your scale turns off unexpectedly.
The better scales disable the auto-off feature if they detect something on the scale. Or, they allow you to customize how long it should wait before shutting down.
For the most part, coffee recipes list grams. If you prefer to work in ounces, though, make sure your scale matches your preferences or has an option to switch.
Do you have loads of counter space? Or just enough room for your coffee machine? Do you like to brew when travelling or camping?
You’ll want to think about size when choosing a scale because you’ll find both compact and larger models. Also, think about whether you need your scale to fit on the drip tray of your espresso machine.
You might be thinking that a scale is a pretty straightforward appliance. And many of them are. But you can also dial up the options with scales built specifically for coffee brewing.
The higher end scales provide pre-programmed modes that help you brew espresso or pour over quickly with options like auto-tare and automatically starting timers.
Others dial up the features even more by connecting to your smartphone to allow you to follow recipes and record brewing methods. Of course, if all you need is a scale to measure how much you’re putting in the drip maker, you likely don’t need to spring for the advanced programming options. (The machine does that for you.)
As you get more experienced brewing your own coffee, you learn about the essentials to top-notch brew. Many people know that a grinder is essential or that a gooseneck kettle can make life a lot easier.
The coffee scale, though, is one of the often overlooked pieces of gear that can radically transform your brewing process, particularly when you get into the manual brew game. If you have a favorite scale not on the list, let me know what it is and why you think it’s the best coffee scale available.