Those of you who follow the specialty coffee scene online may have read some of the buzz surrounding the Acaia coffee scale recently. If not, you’re about to! The Acaia Pearl scales are an exciting new product that has the potential to significantly impact the quality and consistency of coffee programs both for café professionals and home coffee passionate.
Why all the buzz? As I’ve experienced in my search for great scales for the last few years, there’s never been a truly great set of scales that fulfill all the needs across filter and espresso coffee preparation and will hold up to the task. The Acaia scales look like they’re going to change that unfortunate landscape of compromise! This new product is a result of the combined effort of engineer Rex Tseng who’s family have been manufacturing medical and industrial scales for 30 years, and designer Fujiki Takao, long-time product designer and passionate coffee brewer. Their combined passion for product design and coffee led to the foundation of their company, and their first project is the beautiful Acaia Pearl scale.
Housed in a sleek, pearl white body, the scales definitely look like something that’s been birthed in Silicon Valley. There’s a huge range of features to the Acaia that add up to make it such a huge leap forward &mdash’ let’s cover off on the key ones.
The Acaia scales utilise a built in Lithium Ion battery to provide 20 – 30hours of usage time and you can recharge the juice with a micro-USB cable; just hook it up to any wall socket USB charger or laptop and you’re good to go.
The mono-body construction of the Acaia Scales not only looks cool but is essential in resolving the biggest challenge in this environment — water damage. It’s not exactly surprising, given what you’re using them for, that over time, your scales will get liquid spilt on them and be around dirty surfaces. Some other scales on the market have resolved this on the surface of the scale by reducing exposed buttons but have left the underside vulnerable to water seepage from the drip tray. The Acaia’s wrapped surface and lack of battery opening on the base addresses both of these issues — any spillage on the top surface can be easily wiped off without seeping into buttons and its rubberised base provides stability while avoiding easy openings for damaging water.
One of the most revolutionary ways that the Acaia Scales is badass is that it has an App! Using Bluetooth 4.0 technology, the Acaia scales will pair with your handy iPhone or other smart device and will allow for data transmit to the custom built app. This nifty bit of software has a number of ways to interact with it; hit ‘play’ on the app as you start your Pourover on the scales, it’ll record the amount of water you dispense into the brew, over the time it takes you to prepare and a cumulative ‘total water pour’ bar will rise in the background. Alternatively, pre-set your desired bloom amount and contact time along with your total brew time & water grams and the app will prompt you on appropriate pouring times during your preparation with elegant bells and countdown timers.
There’s a whole bunch of other features on the app alone though — not to mention the potential for future development! Once you prepare an awesome coffee and capture your pour rate and bloom times, you can also log data such as brew ratio, origin, roast level and flavour notes. Snap a quick photo of your final aromatic cup, attach it to the profile and you can upload it to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for others to download onto their app and try your technique. Cool huh?! And yes, the scale can be used without the app and still has some neato timer and weight readouts built into the hardware itself.
I could honestly talk for days about the Acaia Scales and their high rating on the neat-o-meter and that probably speaks volumes about the ingenuity behind this great new bit of gear. Here’s a further quick snapshot of some other notables:
- Accuracy: Highest internal resolution up to one million counts allows readability for up to 10th of a gram.
- Speed: Ultrafast 20ms response time.
- Stability: Auto zero tracking, creeping compensation technology to provide industrial grade stability.
- Built in Stopwatch: Track blooming, pouring and infusion time without a fuss, along with the two-way timer that syncs with the App.
- Heat pad/portafilter holder included: the rubber heat buffering pad which is included with the Acaia scale can be flipped upside down to support a portafilter — booyah.
- Automated Auto-off Customisation: The acaia will not shut down during coffee brewing, auto-off feature is also customisable with mobile app.
- Flash-able firmware: the scale will always be up-to-date
- Clean and Bright Interface: Works in standalone mode and easy to read.
- Mobile App Compatible: Works with iPhone and Android with Bluetooth 4.0 support. Check out our list at the bottom of this page to make sure you’re device is compatible!
- Awarded Already: Although only just launched, the Acaia Scales recently won Product of the Year and the Peoples Choice Award at the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s annual trade show!
As you can see, there’s a whole lot packed into this neat little scale — it’s not often that a product comes out with as much potential to improve people’s experience in preparing coffee as the Acaia Scales. Rex, Aaron and Johnny and the rest of the Acaia team are a passionate crew that have obviously put a stack of thought and care into their first product; with this kind of approach, we can’t wait to see where they go next!
It gives us great pleasure to be bringing this scale to Australia, be sure to get in early to experience this great scale for yourself. Acaia Scales available:
Acaia Lunar Scale
This sophisticated and modern scale is designed to time and weigh out your espresso extractions. Pair with an Acaia Lunar Weighing Plate to provide extension to hold a portafilter or two standard cappuccino cups side-by-side.
App Compatibility: iPhone 4S (late 2011), iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, iPod Touch 5th Generation (late 2012), iPad 3rd Generation (early 2012), iPad4th Generation, iPad Air, iPad Mini 1st Generation, iPad Mini 2nd Generation, Android 4.3+ devices with BLE support. Check out the full list at http://www.acaia.co/pages/manual
© Photos provided with permission by Emily Bartlett. All rights reserved by photographer