The Timemore Black Mirror scale has been widely acclaimed as one of the best new coffee scales and perhaps even a challenger to the Acaia scale. As you likely know, a scale is a critical piece of kit for optimal and consistent brewing.
But it can be a challenge to know which coffee scale to go for; the classic but dated Hario? The aesthetic but expensive Acaia? The competent but ugly Brewista? While the concept of a coffee scale is pretty straightforward, the reality of the choice can be a little more complicated.
So in this article, we want to weigh up the Timemore Black Mirror. We want to give this newcomer a good working through to see where it fits on the scale spectrum and whether you should buy it.
As you may be aware, there have been several versions of the Timemore Black Mirror scale released over the past few years. It began with the Timemore Black Mirror Basic, followed by the 2021 release of the Timemore Black Mirror Basic Plus. Now, in 2023, the newest additions are the Timemore Black Mirror Pro and the Timemore Black Mirror Basic 2. While we’ll delve into a comparison of these versions, we recommend opting for one of the later models; the Pro or Basic 2.
Timemore Black Mirror Scale In Brief
The Timemore Black Mirror Scale is designed to be the best and most capable coffee scale possible within an affordable budget. It offers everything short of Bluetooth connectivity and is a competent and accurate scale that will satisfy any home brewer. Notably, its size is such that it can work for both manual brewing methods and espresso, adding to its appeal.
In the Western world of coffee, Timemore is the new kid on the block. Although they were started back in 2012 in China, it is only recently that they have been more widely acknowledged and promoted in the specialty coffee community. This group – reportedly founded by a group of Chinese coffee-loving friends – is now widely known for its coffee scales, hand grinders, pour-over kettles, and drippers. They are now well-reputed for attention to detail and for coffee products that are designed by people who know and understand coffee.
Timemore Black Mirror Scale Review
As you open the box to your Timemore Scale, the first thing you will observe is the evident design similarity with the Acaia Pearl. Like the Acaia scale, the Timemore Black Mirror scale has a plain square top that hides a bright LED display screen. On the original model, this top was completely bare to the point that it was often hard to find exactly where the digital power button could be found. However, in the latter models, based on customer feedback, Timemore added two slight indentations so that you can quickly identify the front of the Black Mirror scale. Another notable addition in the latest models is the inclusion of a physical on/off switch located on the side. This practical feature enables you to power off the scale entirely, conserving battery life.
In terms of aesthetics, we are pretty impressed. Following closely to the Acaia scale look may have been unoriginal, but it was a safe option. As such, the rounded edges and jet-black top do look good in their subdued simplicity.
It is also worth noting the unique size of the Timemore scale. Again this seems to have been a design decision made with the Acaia models in mind. In terms of size, the Timemore Black Mirror scale sits somewhere between the Acaia Lunar and Acaia Pearl. This is intentional and reflects the desire that this would be a scale that functions effectively for either soft brews or espresso. As such, the size is such that it can fit comfortably on many espresso machine drip trays (which, of course, the Acaia Pearl can’t). However, if you are thinking of using the Timemore as an espresso scale, we recommend measuring your drip tray for size before purchasing.
In terms of look, there is not much to critique. If push comes to shove, we prefer the look of Acaia scales, but that is a fairly minor point for the price difference. It is also worth noting that ironically the Timemore Black Mirror scale also comes in white! As well as the plain black or white surface, the Timemore also comes with a removable silicone pad. Notably, in the Pro model, this silicone pad is significantly larger, covering the entire scale’s surface and providing better protection against water and heat.
In terms of the quality of the components used, the Timemore scale also measures up. As mentioned above, Timemore is a company that is dedicated to quality, which is a prerequisite if any company wishes to gain traction in the specialty coffee world. And so, as far as current reports and customer reviews show, they haven’t cut corners on production, but this is a scale that will last if you treat it with care.
Similarly, the inclusion of the rechargeable lithium battery and the fast USB C port shows that this is a company on their A-game. Users commented that a full battery charge usually lasts for around a month of regular brewing, which is more than competent. USB-C also futureproofs the device and makes for a quick charge time of around 2 hours. The bright LED display also constantly shows the battery life so that you won’t get caught out mid-brew.
We were also impressed that the more recent versions; the Timemore Black Mirror Basic Plus and Pro incorporated changes that show they listen to customer feedback.
While the Timemore scale is not waterproof, it is far more water-resistant than many other scales on the market. And to be fair, unless you plan on completely submerging your scale in water, the current level of water resistance will more than suffice.
The other slightly mystifying feature of the earlier versions of the Timemore scales is that they only offered the metric system, so if you were not used to brewing in terms of grams, it would require a significant shift. It is surprising that they didn’t incorporate both systems but to be fair, the specialty coffee movement does mostly communicate and brew within the metric system. The latest Timemore Black Mirror Pro is the only scale in the range that offers both grams and ounces.
When it comes to choosing a scale, the fundamental criterion is always precision. At the heart of it, you are looking for a scale that is designed for coffee brewing and will comfortably allow you to brew with accuracy and consistency.
The good news is that the Timemore Black Mirror scale excels in consistency and accuracy of data. Overall, customer reviews have been glowing in this regard. There are two aspects of this; sensitivity of the weight sensor and responsiveness. While perhaps not quite as good as the Acaia scale (no surprise considering the price difference!), the single sensor used in the Timemore is highly capable of retaining and staying true to its advertised +/- 0.1g weighing resolution.
Responsiveness has to do with time lag. Even a short lag can quickly affect the accuracy of your brew, particularly with soft brews like pour-over coffee. This is a common issue with scales and is present to whatever degree in most scales. However, overall the Timemore Black Mirror scale is highly responsive with almost no lag. The only lag present is due not to the weighing sensor but instead to the lack of physical power and time buttons. The on-screen buttons have a slight lag (a matter of milliseconds is what we are talking about) from touch to beginning weighing.
This certainly shouldn’t be a deal-breaker and, to be honest is somewhat expected at this price point (for example, the Hario Drip Scale, which is a similar price, has even more lag).
The other thing to note regarding functionality is that the Timemore Scale is NOT a smart scale. That is, it does not offer Bluetooth compatibility. Its older brother, the Timemore Black Mirror 2 Dual Sensor, is a smart scale, but this model isn’t and so CANNOT connect to external apps.
Whether this is a pro or con depends on you. On the one hand, the usual home brewer does not need to connect to external apps and measure flow profiling, etc. However, if you enjoy the technical side of coffee brewing and interacting with the wider coffee community, then the smart scales and attached apps are a great way to do it. Also, some espresso machines can connect to the smart scales, which is pretty cool. But, if you want a smart scale, you have to be willing to fork out some more cash.
Timemore Black Mirror Series
As previously noted, the Timemore Black Mirror scale is available in three versions: the Timemore Black Mirror Basic Plus, Pro, and Basic 2. Understanding the distinctions between them can be somewhat confusing, so what sets them apart?
Timemore Black Mirror Basic Plus
The Timemore Black mirror Basic Plus was released in 2021 and included several improvements to the original Timemore scale. These included a slightly new look with laser-engraved power and time buttons for visibility, a bright LED display, and a side-mounted physical on/off switch. The internal hardware was also refreshed for improved sensitivity and responsiveness.
Timemore Black Mirror Pro
In 2023, the Pro version was introduced, incorporating all the enhancements found in the Plus along with some additional features. The Timemore Pro provides weight measurements in either grams or ounces and introduces an extra feature displaying the flow rate in g/sec or oz/sec on the screen. It also has an auto timer function that initiates the timer when it detects a weight change. With a quicker response time, extended battery life, and an enlarged waterproof silicone pad covering the entire scale face, the Pro model not only brings numerous improvements but is the better buy.
Timemore Black Mirror Basic 2
Timemore has also introduced the Timemore Black Mirror Basic 2, the latest Timemore scale to be released. It is virtually identical to the Pro with features like the flow rate indicator, improved sensor accuracy and responsiveness, an auto timer function, and measures in grams or ounces. The only difference is the silicone pad is thinner and doesn’t cover the whole face of the scale.
Timemore Black Mirror Nano
Finally, there is the Black Mirror Nano, designed specifically for espresso. This espresso scale shares many features with the Pro and Basic 2 models but is nearly half the size, making it compatible with most drip trays. The Black Mirror Nano is a good option if you have a small espresso machine and are after a dedicated espresso scale.
We recommend opting for either the Pro or Basic 2 model, which offers more features and quicker response times.
Timemore Black Mirror vs Acaia Scale
As mentioned above, the Timemore Black Mirror scale begs to be compared with the Acaia scale range. They both share the same look, feel, and basic usability. However, it is really comparing apples and oranges. Certainly, they look similar, but the fact that the Acaia scale is a smart scale really puts it in a completely different category from the Timemore.
It is indisputable, in my view, that when push comes to shove; the Acaia will win every time in terms of accuracy and response time. And we would expect nothing less considering the vast price difference. Remember that the Acaia scale (either the Lunar or Pearl) is at least double the price of the Timemore Black Mirror scale. Also, of course, the Acaia is a part of the IoT.
It really comes down to what your budget is and what you are looking for. Realistically for most home brewers, the Timemore Black Mirror scale will be a superb choice and will more than suffice. However, if you have the cash and really know the ins and outs of specialty coffee, then the Acaia scale may be more to your liking.
So does it compare with the Acaia scale? In my opinion, no. But that is both expected and shouldn’t take away in any way from the reality that the Timemore coffee scale is a bargain!
The Timemore Scale: The Final Verdict
So what is the final word on the Timemore Black Mirror scale? At the end of the day, we have to conclude that this is simply a very good coffee scale. A few years ago, the Hario Drip Scale was the go-to scale for anyone who couldn’t afford the Acaia. Now I would take the Timemore scale over the Hario or a comparably priced scale any day.
The Timemore Black Mirror is a great scale that we would highly recommend for any home brewer.