I don’t fully subscribe to the notion that we need to approach coffee-making as scientific as possible because I find a a big part of baristaring is art.
But then I realized that we use the 2-group Astoria Plus 4 You TS at the cafe and a clear shot glass with red measurement indicators. So it’s easy for me to say that coffee making should not lean too much on the scientific side.
The powerhouse espresso machine we use actually have a lot of the science done for us.
Now I can see why baristas who are using a less high-tech machine would find a gram weighing scale essential to brewing consistent tasting espresso based drinks.
I also remembered once upon a time when we took on a job for a portable cafe counter in a corporate event. We used a smaller lower-end machine for the portability. It didn’t come with an LCD indicator screen for monitoring… which led to some moments which I prefer not to recall in detail.
Nevertheless, after careful and deliberate contemplating, I can totally see why a digital coffee scale can be a blessing in certain setups.
So I have to backtrack on what I stated in the first sentence… just a little.
As you can probably tell, I’m talking about weighing scales for espresso machines. Those for pour overs are a different breed altogether. A larger breed which we will discuss another day.
A mini scale can help to monitor and measure the amount of ground the grinding has dispensed, and also the amount of espresso that has trickled down the portafilter right into the cup.
When your espresso machine is unable to automatically do that for you, these pocket-sized scales can be a god-send.
In case you wonder why they need to be smaller sized than regular kitchen food scales, it’s because they need to fit into the space of the drip tray (with limited breath) of an espresso machine if required.
Being pocket-sized also makes it easier to bring with you wherever you go. A digital one is also ideal instead of one that measures with a needle for the purpose of accuracy.
While not absolutely necessary, a waterproof feature would also be preferred.
Here are some of the best digital coffee scales around today.
1) Acaia Lunar
I have to confess.
My jaw dropped to the floor when I saw the retail price of this device.
Why would anyone spend this kind of money for an espresso scale?
But then I remembered what I mentioned earlier and accept that some people will see the added value of precision devices like this when their espresso machine don’t do the measuring for them.
Yet even though I don’t think that this scale from Acaia is good value, there’s no denying that it is a top-of-the-line device in this category.
- 5.3 x 5.5 x 2.2 inches
- 1.41 pounds
- USB rechargeable lithium-ion battery
The Acaia Lunar scale has a matte black housing, with an LCD screen installed as a strip across the body.
2 touch buttons are situated on either ends that serve as it’s control panel. That’s without mentioning capabilities via the mobile app.
Among it’s many functions found in the settings menu, the most useful feature is that it’s capable of starting the timer as soon as the first drop of espresso lands on the cup. Enabling one to time the brewing to perfection.
It’s waterproof and has a multitude of settings that are meant to make the job of the barista so much easier.
A word of warning. Even though this is not an essential item for making lattes and cappuccinos, it is one of those things that you cannot do without once you start using them.
We will do a full review of this product soon.
2) Brewista Smart Scale 2
The Brewista smart scale 2 is the upgraded follow up to the hugely popular version 1.
While the Lunar is just the right size for commercial espresso machines, this digital coffee scale is the smallest of the lot.
So if you need a scale as small as possible with water repelling features, this is the most suited for your needs.
It looks kind of cute at this size too 😀
- 5 x 4.2 x 0.7 inches
- 8.8 ounces
- USB rechargeable lithium-ion battery
The brewsta smart scale proudly claims to be water resistance with it completely sealed body, it comes with a silicone protective pad to protect the device from water spillage.
On top of that it also has a protective cover and nano coating that further emphasizes it’s water resistant feature.
So even though the device is not exactly rated IP68 like your iPhone, you are given the tools to keep it safe from water damage.
The LCD has an orange back-lit light and measures up to the accuracy of 0.1g.
It has 6 operating modes to select from that caters to both pour over and espresso preparation.
3) CoastLine Digital Pro Pocket Scale
This model from CoastLine is small enough to fit into any space, and accurate enough to measure in 0.01 ounce increments.
- 4 x 5 x 0.8 inches
- 3.2 ounces
- 2 AAA batteries (included)
While being slightly smaller in dimensions to the Brewista, it does not have water resistant characteristics.
However, it comes with a tray that can capture any spillage you might encounter.
Constructed with stainless steel, it has all the basic elements required to measure espresso straight from the machine.
Amazingly durable for it’s size and lightweight appearance, it comes fitted with a vibrant blue back-lit LCD digital display that makes reading it a breeze even in low-lighting conditions.
While I think it’s too small to use as a pour over coffee scale, a lot of users are using it for exactly that purpose.
At under $20, this practical coffee scale offers great value when you consider the price of the Acaia and Brewsta.
It is capable of doing it’s main tasks well. And even though it’s not waterproof, the use of the tray that comes along in the package will help you keep a lid on spills.
Which one to buy?
Frankly speaking, I cannot see why anyone would buy the Acaia Lunar if they are just making lattes and mocha for their own consumption in the comfort of home.
Unless you have money to burn, this product even though is the best digital coffee scale, it is simply too expensive for a regular kitchen counter.
However, if you run a cafe or a restaurant of some sort that serves a lot of espresso based beverages, this can improve your efficiency in operations… if your budget allows it.
Otherwise, the Brewsta is no slouch either. And it costs less than half of the Acaia.
If you are pragmatic, have a tight budget, or just need one at home, then the CoastLine would be able to serve your needs until circumstances render it incapable of meeting your expectations anymore.
Or else, just stick to the the kitchen scale.