Acaia Scales

Acaia Scales have become a household name in the specialty coffee world. They were first launched in 2013 and quickly became the benchmark by which all other coffee scales were measured. And it’s no wonder! They are beautifully designed, extremely precise, and have Bluetooth capabilities. While an Acacia Scale involves a significant investment, it is indisputably the best coffee scale on the market.

In this article, we will weigh the different options for Acaia Scales: Acaia Pearl 2021, Acaia Pearl S, or Acaia Lunar 2021? We cover their differences and the features they offer to help you work out which would be best for you. As a side note, the Acaia scales have all been updated in the past year and while the original models are still available we think it is definitely worth investing in the updated version.

About Acaia

The Acaia Pearl Original scale was first launched as a Kickstarter project in 2013- and it’s safe to say it was a success. It went on to win the best product at the SCAA Expo in 2014. The Acaia scales redefined what we should come to expect from a scale. Precision? Tick. Fast response time? Tick. Bluetooth compatibility? Tick. Acaia sought to meld beautiful design with high-end technology and succeeded. In addition to the Acaia Scales, they have collaborated with different companies to include their weight-based technology in various grinders and espresso machines.

Acaia Scales Review


Design

The first commendation for the Acaia Scales is their beautiful design. Almost Apple-esk in their appearance, they have an understated elegance. The design is minimalistic and sleek. All the different models are available in either a white or black color (and in some cases silver). The Acaia scales are composed of high-quality materials, and each scale is hand-built and calibrated. This results in a durable coffee scale that will stand the test of time. 

The Acaia Lunar, which specializes in espresso, is also water-resistant; all the electronic components are coated with a water-resistant spray. Each Acaia scale comes with a rubber heat pad to hold a brewer, cup, or portafilter and a USB charger. 

Acaia Scales

Precision

When it comes to investing in a coffee scale, precision is the most crucial factor. The Acacia scales are renowned for their commercial-grade precision. In fact, the designers boast that the Acaia scales can even detect weight loss due to evaporation! The Acaia scales go up in 0.1g increments and have an incredible 20 millisecond response time. 

Size

The size is one of the key differences between the Acaia Pearl range and the Acaia Lunar. The Acaia Pearl range is aimed at manual brewing, so the scales are larger, measuring 160mm x 160mm x 32mm. The larger size allows you to easily sit a Chemex or v60 on the scales and still read the screen. The Acaia Lunar scale specializes in espresso, so it is substantially smaller measuring only 105mm x 105mm x 15mm. The small size means it can fit on a drip tray. Which one you opt for will primarily be driven by what brewing style you intend to use it for.

Acaia scales

Features

The Acaia Scales are smart scales, so they do a lot more than just display weight. And this is really one of the main reasons you would decide to take the plunge and invest in one. The features on offer vary depending on which model you opt for. But they are all equipped with a timer, auto-tare function, and an auto-start function. When paired with an app, you can use pre-programmed modes, get real-time data, and even control the scale from your smartphone. There are several apps available for both IOS and Android.

Acaia Apps

Brewguide: This app is for the Acaia Pearl S only. As the name would suggest, this app allows you to find, create and share brew guides with other users worldwide. You can also download a recipe to your Acaia Pearl S to replicate.

Brewmaster: This app connects to all the different Acaia Scales. This is the primary app you use to log all your brewing data. It records your brewing process, giving you real-time flow charts, showing things like pouring speed, flow rate, extraction rate, weight, and time. You are also able to add notes to different brews, helping you perfect your recipes.

Brewbar: This app is only available on IOS and is compatible with the original Acaia Pearl or Lunar scale. It allows you to sync multiple scales and duplicate a recipe. So it is helpful in a commercial environment.

Acacia Coffee: This app is available for all the Acaia Scales and is more of a coffee community than a brewing tool. You can connect with other coffee lovers and share and review different coffee beans and brewing processes. It also allows you to keep track of coffees you have tried. 

Acaia Updater: Finally, there is an updater app for the Acaia scales. This keeps you on top of the latest firmware and updates for your scale.

Brewbar app for Acaia Scales

Which one?

As we mentioned above, several different models are available, so now we will weigh up the various options to see what they offer. 

Acaia Pearl 2021

Acaia Pearl 2021

Weight: 500g | Dimensions: 160mm x 160mm x 32mm | Maximum Capacity: 2000g | Minimum Weight: 0.1g | Battery life: 30-40 hours | Warranty: 1 year

The Acaia Pearl was the original Acaia scale and has just been updated with the latest technology. It is really ‘THE’ scale to get for manual brewing methods. It features the beautiful design and commercial-grade precision that defines Acacia scales. It has also been updated with a rechargeable lithium battery that lasts for 30-40 hours. There is also now a battery indicator on the scale that flashes when the power is running low. 

Perhaps the best addition to the Acaia Pearl is a real-time flow rate indicator on the top of the LED display. This is a series of dots on the top of the scale that indicates your pouring speed and suggests ideal flow rates. This is a super helpful tool if you are just starting to help you improve your pouring technique. 

Other updates include faster and more responsive weighing technology and a brighter display making it easy to read.

The Acaia Pearl offers the following modes for use:

  • Weighing Only Mode- scale displays weight only in either grams or ounces.
  • Dual Display Mode- scale displays weight on the right and a timer on the left.
  • Pour Over Auto-Start Timer-scale automatically starts the timer when it detects you start to pour and stops it once you remove the equipment from the scale.
  • Portafilter Mode- scale automatically detects portafilter and tares the weight, allowing you to remove it for up to 15 seconds to add the coffee grounds. When you place it back on the scale, it displays the weight of the grounds.
  • Beverage Mode- scale measures coffee: beverage ratio. It shows you the total brewing time, amount of water added, the final weight of the beverage, and then the coffee: beverage ratio.

The Acaia Pearl 2021 is an excellent scale that is designed for manual brewing methods. The different modes make it ideal for both home or commercial setups.

Acaia Pearl S

Acaia Pearl S

Weight: 620g | Dimensions: 160mm x 160mm x 32mm | Maximum Capacity: 3000g | Minimum Weight: 0.1g | Battery life: 16-40 hours | Warranty: 1 year

The Acaia Pearl S looks identical to the Acaia Pearl from the outside, and it does share the same design, precision, and speed. However, it has a few extra features that put it a step above the Acaia Pearl. To start with, the Acaia Pearl S has a sturdier build, so it has a larger maximum capacity of 3000g. It also has a fancier LED screen allowing it to display words, which is necessary for one of its key features- the Brewguide. The Acaia Pearl S enables you to download recipes for step-by-step guides to brewing coffee. With the app, you can scan the QR codes on coffee bags to get recipes and guides direct from the roaster. 

In addition to the weighing, dual display, pour-over auto-start, and portafilter modes that the Acacia Pearl has, the S model has a few extras:

  • Espresso Mode- the scale automatically detects when a vessel has been placed on it and auto-tares. When espresso starts to flow into the vessel, the scale starts the timer and then stops automatically once the flow stops.
  • Flowrate Mode: the scale has a flow rate tool designed to aid with brewing pour-over. The scale displays the weight, time, and flow rate (measured in grams or ounces per second) in this mode.
  • Flowrate Practice Mode: This mode is helpful to teach pouring techniques. It has both a flow rate meter and an indicator. 

The Acaia Pearl S is a great all-rounder scale that is incredibly useful for beginners learning pour-over techniques or following recipes. It also has the capabilities to be used for espresso as well. However, it is worth mentioning that some of the distinctiveness of the S model has been made redundant through the 2021 Pearl upgrade. 

Acaia Lunar 2021

Acaia Lunar 2021

Weight: 265g | Dimensions: 105mm x 105mm x 15mm | Maximum Capacity: 2000g | Minimum Weight: 0.1g | Battery life: 30-40 hours | Warranty: 2 years

Finally, we have the Acaia Lunar 2021-the most expensive in the range of Acaia scales. The Acaia Lunar 2021 has been built with espresso in mind. It has a smaller size, allowing it to fit easily onto a drip tray. The scale has a more durable build- made of anodized aluminum, and all the electronic parts and the LED screen have a water-resistant coating. 

The incredible precision and ultra-fast response times make it an excellent espresso scale for professional and home baristas. 

The Acaia Lunar 2021 has several updates from the original Lunar including a real time flow rate indictor to achieve the perfect extraction. It also has a helpful tare-save feature that saves the weight of your preferred dosing vessel. It has the weighing and dual display modes that the Acaia Pearl scales share, and then several modes aimed at brewing espresso:

  • Timer starts with flow mode- the scale automatically measures the time a shot takes from the first drops of espresso in the cup until the flow stops.
  • Auto-tare, timer starts with flow mode- similar to the mode above, but with an added auto-tare step.
  • Auto-tare, auto-start timer mode- this is a 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, then starts the timer.
  • Auto-tare mode: This mode simply auto-tares the scales; there is no timer. 

As you can see, the Acaia Lunar 2021 has really been designed around espresso, from the build to the modes. While you can use the Lunar for manual brewing, the small size makes it difficult to read the display. You can buy a magnetic weighing plate that fits on top, allowing more room for things like weighing a portafilter. But overall, it is an excellent and accurate tool for pulling perfect espresso shots.

So which one? Well, it depends on what brewing method you are intending on using it for. If espresso is your main game, you can’t go past the Acaia Lunar 2021. The small footprint, durable build, and espresso modes are perfectly suited to espresso. Or, if pour-over is your thing, then the Acaia Pearl 2021 is an excellent choice. The larger size, pour-over modes, and real-time flow rate indicator make it the best pour-over scale on the market to date. 

Who are the Acaia Scales For?

The Acaia scales lead the market in terms of design, accuracy, and features. They are for the professional or serious home barista. Acaia has redefined what a coffee scale is and can do- a scale is no longer just a tool for weighing. Paired with the app, it is the perfect teaching tool to analyze and perfect your brewing. If you don’t intend on using the app, it may not be worth paying the premium of the ‘smart’ capabilities. 

The Verdict- Acaia Scales yay or nay?

An Acaia Scale is not just a weighing device but has become a statement piece in the specialty coffee world- that you are serious about coffee. An Acaia scale offers precision, ultra-fast response times, and a stack of impressive features. If you invest in an Acaia scale, you will never feel the need to upgrade from it.

Happy Buying!

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