Best Coffee Scale 2019 – How To Choose A Coffee Brewing Scale
How To Choose The Best Coffee Scale
For casual coffee drinkers, they are probably okay measuring coffee with a plastic spoon. Once a coffee drinker starts to get more serious, though, a coffee brewing scale is the next logical step in coffee brewing perfection. Choosing the best coffee scale for your home is not difficult if you know where to look and what to consider before buying.
Choosing A Coffee Brewing Scale
In this post, we help coffee aficionados figure out what is the best coffee scale for them. I walk through why using an espresso scale helps to brew a better cup of coffee. And, I share our tips on what to look for when purchasing a scale to make sure you get the best one for your kitchen. Why not use the secret tool that professional baristas have been using for decades in order to make coffee-house quality coffee at home?
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The Best Scale For Coffee
We include detailed coffee scale reviews below, but if you are short on time, feel free to use the table below to see our best picks. We recommend using Amazon for making your purchase. First, we find Amazon to have the best coffee accessories in terms of price and quality. Second, we try to recommend products that are part of Amazon Prime, which provides purchasers with free and often super-fast delivery. (Get 30 days of Prime free here.)
What Is A Coffee Scale?
At its most basic, a coffee scale is used to weigh the water and grinds used to make coffee. Instead of measuring by scoopful or teaspoon or tablespoon, grams are used to measure. Using grams instead of scoops ensures consistency for each brew.
So, how does this work? Coffee recipes require a certain amount or ratio of coffee to water. The amount of coffee is normally measured in grams. Simple coffee recipes might suggest measurement in scoops or grams. More advanced coffee recipes will use a ratio.
For example, a recipe might suggest a 1:17 ratio of coffee to water. After a few cups, you can adjust the ratio based on what you like. Most recipes are in the range of 1:15 to 1:19. If you use too much water and too little coffee the coffee will be over-extracted. The opposite is also a problem. The goal is to have a well-balanced coffee.
Why Use A Coffee Scale?
When looking to make the perfect cup of coffee, it’s important to measure the right amount of ground coffee. A coffee weighing scale eliminates the guesswork and ensures you measure the precise amount need for each cup. It ensures consistency in each cup as well.
When I first started making my own coffee, back in college, I followed the instructions on the back of the Folgers or Maxwell House coffee can. I plunked the coffee into the filter of my drip coffee machine and figured that was enough. Even now, when someone suggestions that I need a teaspoon of coffee or a certain number of grams of coffee, I know there is more to the story than my old plunk and pray method.
Even when a coffee brewing method calls for a tablespoon of coffee per cup, what does that mean? Is that a heaped tablespoon? A level tablespoon? A rounded tablespoon? Are measurements meant for coffee beans or coffee grounds? There’s a big difference.
All coffee beans vary in both size and density. Measuring the ground beans by volume alone doesn’t really work. There are a lot of variations depending on how fine the coffee is ground and what type of brewing method is used. Each method requires a different ratio of ground coffee to water. This is where having a quality coffee scale can help.
How Does A Tare Function Work?
A tare function is rather unique to coffee scales. At its most basic, it allows you to separately weigh the coffee and the container it is in. It allows for more precise brewing.
This option allows you to put your brewer or filter on, press the tare function to “zero it out.” and then add the coffee you need. If you are using a pour-over or portable brewer (including a Chemex or Melitta) place the brewer on top of the scale, with the filter already in it. Then, tare it with the tare function. Add the ground coffee and start brewing. If you are using a regular drip coffee maker, place the filter on the scale, tare it, and add the coffee. Then, place the coffee and filter into the drip machine like normal.
How To Use The Tare Function
First, measure the beans before you grind them. If using a pour-over, French press, Chemex or similar style brewing device, place it on the scale. Pour in the ground coffee. Then press that tare function to zero it out. Now, you will know how many grams of water to pour for the perfect cup.
Coffee Scale Buying Guide Pro Tip
If you are purchasing a brewing scale for accuracy and consistency, particularly to use as a pour-over scale, I would recommend investing in one with the tare function. Without it, you might need to do some calculations in your head to get the weight right. I know I stink at math in my head.
What Is The Least Count For A Scale
The least count is a way to refer to what the scale is capable of measuring. Scales can range from being able to weigh to the nearest gram while others are to the nearest .1 gram and others are in between that range. When using a kitchen scale for weight loss, for example, the nearest gram is probably sufficient. When wanting accuracy for ground coffee, .1 gram is ideal.
Is A Digital Coffee Scale Right For You?
There are a few benefits to purchasing a coffee scale. Here are some things to consider:
Consistency And Precision
You know how some days you take a sip of coffee at home and think to yourself “damn, that’s a good cup of coffee today” and other days your coffee just tastes okay. Using a scale to get the perfect coffee weight can eliminate this problem by ensuring a consistently great cup every day. Consider the precision of the coffee scale as well. Some measure in .1 or .5 gram increments. Some won’t way less than one gram. If you want to be super-consistent and super-exact, choose a scale that allows for greater precision.
If you are consistently measuring your coffee and water correctly you will be getting the most out of your coffee beans. This means using the right amount of beans and in some cases fewer beans that you might otherwise use. Over time, this could actually save money. Investing even $20 or $30 in a quality coffee grind scale is worth the investment for quality coffee.
Battery Life And Power
Some coffee scales are battery powered, some are rechargeable, and some use a USB or AC power adapter. If you only plan to use the scale occasionally, a battery-powered scale might be sufficient. If you plan to use it more often, or multiple times a day, you probably don’t want to be replacing batteries. In this case, use a rechargeable battery-powered scale.
Size Of The Coffee Scale
Size matters when choosing a scale for a few reasons. Most important is that it takes up counter space or storage space when it’s not being used. They can range in size from slightly larger than a coffee cup to much larger, like the size of a laptop. Smaller scales are also more portable. It’s easier to travel with them if you choose. If your scale is too big for your kitchen or your needs, you might not end up using it as much. That said, if your scale is larger it can be used for other measurements in the kitchen besides just coffee. It also can work better as a coffee pour-over scale because there will be more space for the pour-over device.
Best Espresso Scale Pro Tip
If you go with a smaller scale to conserve space, look for one with a bowl on top to easily pile up the coffee beans or grounds. This saves counter space while ensuring the scale will do everything you want it to do.
Style And Design
Not all scales are designed the same. The style of a coffee scale might not be as important as a coffee maker you keep on your counter. But, style might still be important to you. Some kitchen scales look functional whereas others look space age and contemporary.
Type Of Coffee Brewing Method
A good coffee scale can work whether you brew your coffee in a drip coffee maker, a pour-over coffee maker, or a French press. If you are merely measuring beans or ground coffee and a filter you probably have more flexibility in which you choose. If you plan to use the coffee scale to brew anything in the pour-over family, i.e. you are making coffee on your scale, other issues should be considered. This includes water-resistance and a tare function.
Unlike measuring dry ingredients, using a scale to make coffee can get messy. If you plan to use the scale for pour-over coffee, choosing one that is water-resistant is best. A water-proof scale might not be needed, particularly because it can be unnecessarily expensive.
LCD Screen And Panel
Unlike the old days of plain-old kitchen scales, most modern coffee scales are digital. They have an LCD screen with touch controls. This makes it easier to use and easier to clean as well. Older-style scales with actual buttons get messy over time and ground coffee could get stuck within the scale.
Some scales come with additional features. Some of these can be helpful but are probably not essential. For example, a built-in timer will help you time how long it takes to brew your coffee, adding more precision. A coffee scale with timer allows your scale to continue working until you’re done with your brewing. It will then turn off automatically.
Scales might have an auto-off function or a no auto-off function. An auto-off function can save battery life. It prevents you from walking away from your cup of coffee and forgetting to turn the scale off.
If you plan on using it as a pour-over coffee scale, though, a no auto-off might be better so that the scale doesn’t turn off before your brewing is complete. A compromise would be to choose one with an auto-off at least five minutes long, which gives just enough time.
Best Coffee Scale Reviews
Now that we’ve covered everything to consider before purchasing your scale, here are our top recommendations with a detailed review for each.
Hario v60 Scale And Timer
The Hario v60 Drip Scale and Timer is one of the most popular Hario scales on the market. I talked above about the importance of weighing the coffee beans. But when you are able to time the pour as well, an even better brew results. The Hario Drip Scale includes a built-in timer with a simple button to start and stop the timer. There is also an auto power-off function as well as a tare function.
It’s a super-accurate scale as well, with ranges between 0.2 and three grams in .1 gram increments. The scale maxes out at four pounds. Even though the Hario coffee scale is super-accurate and has a great reputation in the coffee industry, it’s still a good value. This makes it perfect for everyday coffee drinkers.
Acacia Lunar Coffee Scale
The Acacia scales are innovative and interactive and some of the best on the market. This means the Acaia Lunar Interactive Espresso Brewing Scaleincludes a timer, LED display, and even Bluetooth technology. It’s one of the most accurate barista scales on the market. It comes with a 100-gram calibration weight to make sure it stays as accurate as possible over time. The Acacia coffee scale is more expensive, but it is also of a super high quality. It’s built to last with premium aluminum casing. It’s also water-resistant.
There is a “weigh to brew” mode that automatically starts the timer when the scale detects an increasing weight, like the start of a brew or espresso extraction. Another alternative would be the Acacia Pearl Coffee Scale, which is more for home brewers whereas the Lunar is professional grade.
Eravsow Digital Coffee Scale
The Eravsow Digital Hand Drip Coffee Scale has stainless steel precision sensors. The stainless steel platform is easy to clean. It can measure in ounces, grams, and fluid ounces, which makes it pretty easy to use. There is a built-in timer. And the display is easy-to-read, including a backlit LCD screen, zero/tare function, and auto-shut off function.
Comes with a one-year, risk free warranty. The Eravsow is also one of the best-value scales in terms of price.
Bonavita Coffee Scale
The Bonavita Rechargeable Coffee Scale has a unique nano-coating, which helps to prevent water damage. This includes a small rubber gasket in the battery lid to keep water and steam out. Whereas most of the scales on our list are battery powered, the Bonavita scale is rechargeable with a simple USB cord. There are both manual and pour-over modes, which are both available in ounces or grams. The pour-over mode includes an auto-timer as well as auto-tare.
Bonavita is a coffee maker company. They produce their own Bonavita Wide Base Porcelain Immersion Dripper, which fits securely on this coffee scale. Not a bad idea to purchase a scale produced by a coffee maker company.
Jennings CJ4000 Scale
The Jennings CJ-4000 Compact Digital Weight Scale is probably more known as a general kitchen scale, but works well for coffee too. It can weigh up to 4000 grams (or four kilograms). It weighs in .5 gram increments. The backlight display is bright and easy to see. There are tare, auto-off, and counting functions as well. There is AC adapter instead of solely battery power. Most important, there is a 20 year manufacturer’s warranty making it risk free.
Pros: Flat plastic top to aid in measuring and clean up
Least Count: .5 grams
FAQs - The Best Digital Coffee Scale
For people who are more concerned with convenience over taste, estimated measures are probably sufficient. A lot of coffee drinkers are and there is nothing wrong with that. It’s why coffee pods and pre-measured cups are so popular. If looking at ways to improve the aroma and flavor of your coffee, a scale can be instrumental.
A quality coffee scale provides more accurate and consistent measurements. This means a better cup of coffee each and every time. Most coffee scales can be used for measuring other things as well.
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