The Acaia Lunar has long been regarded as the gold standard when it comes to coffee scales. It is THE coffee scale for speed, precision, and accuracy.
This luxury scale is extremely popular among baristas and home brewers alike. The one downside is the hefty price tag. The Acaia Lunar scale costs almost as much as an entry-level espresso machine!
In this article, we are going to weigh up the Acaia Lunar and seek to answer the question of is the Acaia Lunar worth it? Is the Acaia Lunar coffee scale an overpriced tool or a worthwhile investment?
Acaia Lunar- In Summary
The Acaia Lunar is the best espresso scale on the market for precision, accuracy, and speed. While it comes with a hefty price tag, this scale is a must-have for the committed espresso lover. It has a stunning design, excellent user experience, and a stack of helpful brewing modes. The Acaia Lunar is the coffee scale you will never feel the need to upgrade from.
Acaia Lunar Review
There is no denying that the Acaia Lunar is a stunningly elegant scale. Some have dubbed it the Cadillac of coffee scales and they would not be wrong. The Acaia Lunar is hand-crafted of high-quality materials, with each scale being checked and calibrated before being sent out.
The scale is composed of anodized aluminum available in three sleek colors: white, black, or silver. The Acaia scales have a reputation for being durable and able to stand the test of time.
The Lunar has been carefully designed with espresso in mind. To start with, it has a very compact footprint, measuring 105mm x 105mm with a height of just 15mm. The small size means that it fits perfectly on the espresso machine’s drip tray.
The Acaia Lunar scale has an inverted design, with the weighing plate folding down over the weighing tray. Basically, it is an upside-down scale. This unique design protects the interior of the scales making it water-resistant. In addition, all the electronic parts and the LED screen are coated in a water-resistant coating.
When you purchase the Acaia Lunar along with the scale you receive a 100g calibration weight, USB charging cable, non-slip grip for the bottom, and a heat-resistant pad. The small size of the scale does make it difficult to fit a portafilter onto it, however. Given this, you can purchase the Lunar portafilter weighing plate separately, which is designed to fit on top of the scale and hold either a portafilter or two cappuccino cups.
Acaia also sells the Lunar base to protect the scale from heat and moisture, a good idea if the scale is to be used in a commercial environment. There is also a carrying case if you intend on traveling with the scale.
When it comes to choosing a coffee scale, the crucial consideration should always be precision. In a nutshell, you need a coffee scale that will allow you to brew with accuracy and consistency.
There are two aspects to this; the sensitivity of the weight sensor and responsiveness.
An accurate scale should get as close to the true weight as possible. The Acaia Lunar offers commercial-grade accuracy to within a tenth of a gram (0.1g). The Lunar can also read down to 0.01 of a gram if the weighing resolution is adjusted in the settings.
The Acaia Lunar scale is also highly sensitive to weight changes, detecting even weight loss due to evaporation.
Responsiveness has to do with time lag. This is very important, especially if you are brewing espresso which has a short brew time. Even a short lag can affect the accuracy of your extraction. The Acaia Lunar has an incredible 20ms response time, so you can accurately weigh espresso shots.
The incredible precision and ultra-fast response times make it an excellent espresso scale for professional and home baristas alike.
The Acaia Lunar has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery with 30-40 hours of life. The scale has a programmable auto-off with options of 5, 10, 20, 30, or 60 minutes to preserve battery life. The battery is charged via a USB type-c cable. It is worth noting that the scale does not come with a wall adapter.
The Acaia Lunar scale is simple to use. On the left is an on/off button and on the right a tare button. These are both multi-functional buttons with the use varying depending on whether they are tapped, held, or double tapped. The Acaia Lunar scales are highly programmable with options to set things as simple as a beep sound or switch between grams/ounces to setting auto-off or pre-infusion times.
And the Acaia Lunar does far more than just weigh (which you would expect considering the price). The Lunar also has a built-in timer, an automatic tare, and automatic starting functions.
Bluetooth capabilities allow you to pair the Acaia Lunar with apps to get real-time data or even control the scale from your smartphone. The 2021 version also has a built-in flow rate indicator to allow you to monitor the flow rate of espresso shots in real-time.
The Acaia Lunar has six different weighing modes with slight differences. These modes are cycled through by pushing the power button. The other convenient feature of the Acaia Lunar is that the scale retains the previous settings once you turn it off and then on again. We will go into the different modes in more detail below. But the Lunar also has the option to turn modes off completely if you don’t intend to use them.
Acaia Lunar Brewing Modes
Below is a summary of the different brewing modes the Acaia Lunar scale offers. Unfortunately, the names of the modes are a bit of a mouthful:
Mode 1: Weighing Only Mode– the scale displays the weight only in either grams or ounces.
Mode 2: Dual Display Mode- the scale displays the weight on the right and a timer on the left. The timer is started by pressing the on/off button once.
Mode 3: Timer Starts With Flow Mode- the scale automatically starts a shot timer with the first drops of espresso in the cup, then stops the timer when the flow stops. This mode isn’t all that helpful for espresso brewing as it doesn’t take into account the pre-infusion time. But it can be useful for pour-over brewing.
Mode 4: Auto-Tare, Timer Starts With Flow Mode- this mode is similar to the one above, but with an added auto-tare step.
Mode 5: Auto-Tare, Auto-Start Timer Mode- this is the most helpful model for baristas wanting to measure the time of the total shot (including pre-infusion). The scale auto-tares once a vessel is placed on it, and then starts the timer. If you start pulling the shot as you place the cup on the scale you should get an accurate representation of brew time.
Mode 6: Auto-tare Mode- This mode simply auto-tares the scales; there is no timer. It is a helpful mode if your espresso machine already has a shot clock and you are just looking to measure weight.
Updated Acaia Lunar 2021 Version
In 2021, Acaia released an updated version of the original Lunar. The Acaia Lunar 2021 has a few helpful additions:
The other key feature of the Acaia Lunar scales is that they are ‘SMART’ scales. This means they offer Bluetooth capabilities and can be used in conjunction with apps. Acaia offers a suite of free apps to accompany their scales, unfortunately, these must all be downloaded individually. The Acaia Lunar scale is compatible with the following apps:
The Brewmaster app is the primary app used for logging data. The app records brewing data like flow rate, extraction rate, weight, and time and produces a visual graph of your extraction at the end. You can also add notes as you brew coffee, helping you tweak recipes.
The Brewbar app is helpful in a commercial setting. It allows you to sync multiple scales and duplicate a recipe.
The Acaia coffee app is more of a coffee community than a brewing tool. It allows you to connect with other coffee enthusiasts, share recipes, and review different espresso beans. It is also a helpful way to keep track of different coffees you have tried.
Finally, the Acaia updater app, as the name suggests, keeps your Acaia scale updated with the latest firmware.
Smart Espresso Profiler
This app is for the espresso nerds out there. If you own a manual espresso maker and are interested in getting into pressure and flow profiling, this is the way to do it. It requires a Smart Espresso Profiler to measure the pressure at the group head, and an Acaia Lunar scale to provide brew weight data. These two combined allow the app to display real-time pressure and flow data during brewing. The app is simple and intuitive to use and a very helpful tool to brew better espresso.
Is the Acaia Lunar Worth It?
So is the Acaia Lunar worth it? We have just spent the first part of this article singing its praises. But there is no getting around the elephant in the room… the Acaia Lunar has a ridiculous price tag for a coffee scale. So can you justify spending hundreds of dollars on a coffee scale?
The answer really comes down to how invested you are in espresso. If you already have sunk thousands of dollars into an espresso setup, then what is another couple of hundred on a fancy coffee scale? With a stunning design, super fast response time, and a high degree of accuracy it is indisputably the best coffee scale on the market.
However, if you are just starting it is hard to justify spending that much on an accessory that will not objectively improve your espresso. It would be much wiser to opt for a cheaper coffee scale while putting more money into a quality coffee grinder.
Alternatives to the Acaia Lunar Scale
While all other coffee scales will fall short when compared to the Acaia Lunar, if you are not ready to make the leap and invest in the Acaia Lunar, there are a few other good options that are more affordable.
Brewista Smart Scale 2
The Brewista Smart Scale 2 is a popular alternative to the Acaia Lunar coffee scale. Contrary to the name, the Brewista Smart Scale is not actually a SMART scale in terms of having Bluetooth connectivity. Instead the smart refers to the 6 brewing modes on offer. Similar to the Acaia, the Brewista offers auto-start, auto-tare, and auto-timer modes to aid in brewing.
The Brewista Smart Scale has a functional but less refined design. The Brewista is compact enough to fit on the drip tray of most espresso machines and is water-resistant. It has a split LCD screen displaying the weight on one side, and a timer on the other. It also is accurate to 0.1g and has a minimum weight of 1 gram. The Brewista Smart Scale is an affordable alternative to the Lunar and a good option if you do not require the Smart features.
Timemore Black Mirror
The Timemore Black Mirror is another capable coffee scale that could be considered. It shares very similar aesthetics to the Acaia scale, albeit with a slightly larger footprint than the Lunar. The Timemore Black Mirror is a basic coffee scale that measures weight and time but has no brewing modes. It has a 0.1-gram weighing resolution and is highly responsive.
While the Timemore shares the same look and feel as the Acaia it is worlds apart in terms of accuracy and response time, which you would expect given the vast price difference. Still, if you are looking for a basic coffee scale that could function for both espresso and soft brews, the Timemore scale is the best coffee scale within an affordable budget.
Acaia Lunar- Should You Get It?
The Acaia Lunar is indisputably the best espresso scale on the market. It has a stunning design, a stack of impressive modes, and Bluetooth connectivity. If you are looking to invest in an espresso scale that will never suffer from upgraditis, the Acaia Lunar is it.
Can The Acaia Lunar Be Use For Manual Brewing?
The Acaia Lunar is a precise espresso scale designed for use with espresso machines. However, it can be used for manual methods as well, offering precise measurements. The only issue is the small size of the scale makes it difficult to see the display when brewing. If manual brewing is your primary focus, then there are other scales in the Acaia scale collection (like the Acaia Pearl) that are designed more specifically for those methods, with additional features and a larger size. However, the Lunar can serve as a versatile option for those who primarily brew espresso but occasionally use manual methods.