The Timemore 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 coffee scale is a critical piece of kit for optimal and consistent brewing.
But it can be a challenge to know which 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 go deep into the Timemore Black Mirror. We want to give this newcomer a good working through to see where it fits on the coffee scale spectrum and whether you should buy it.
As you may be aware, there has recently been an upgrade in the Timemore Black Mirror Scale. This article will be reviewing the new model, which is technically called the Timemore Black Mirror Basic Plus Coffee Scale. A mouthful if I ever saw one. However, most of the information will still be relevant for the older Timemore Black Mirror scale.
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 scale, 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 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 has a plain square top that hides an 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 recently released Plus model, based on customer feedback, Timemore has added two slight indentations so that you can quickly identify the front of the Black Mirror scale.
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 sits somewhere between the Acaia Lunar and Acaia Pearl. This is intentional and reflects the desire that this would be a coffee scale that functions effectively for either soft brews or espresso. As such, the size is such that it can fit comfortably on many drip trays (which, of course, the Acaia Pearl can’t). However, if you are thinking of using the Timemore for espresso, we recommend measuring your drip tray for size before purchasing.
However, 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 also comes in white! As well as the plain black or white surface, the Timemore also comes with a removable silicone pad.
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 coffee 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. The use of USB-C also both futureproofs the device and makes for a quick charge time of around 2 hours. The display also constantly shows the battery life so that you won’t get caught out mid-brew.
We were also impressed that the recent Timemore Black Mirror Basic Plus (the new model) incorporated changes that show that they listen to customer feedback. In brief, the updates include:
The Timemore scale is not waterproof, but it is far more water-resistant than many other coffee scales on the market. And to be fair, unless you plan on completely submerging your coffee scale, the current level of water resistance will more than suffice.
The other slightly mystifying feature of the Timemore scale is that it only offers the metric system, so if you are not used to brewing in terms of grams, this will require a significant shift. It is surprising that they haven’t incorporated both systems but to be fair, the specialty coffee movement does mostly communicate and brew within the metric system.
When it comes to choosing a coffee scale, the fundamental criteria 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.
And the good news is that the Timemore Black Mirror excels in consistency and accuracy of data. Overall, customer reviews have been glowing in this regard. There are two aspects of this; sensitivity of 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 coffee scales and is present to whatever degree in most scales. However, overall the Timemore Black Mirror 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 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 has no real 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 basically, if you want a smart scale, you have to be willing to fork out some more cash.
Comparison to Acaia Scale
As mentioned above, the Timemore 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 model) is at least double the price of the Timemore Black Mirror. 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. See our review of the Acaia scales.
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? 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 coffee 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 coffee scale that we would highly recommend for any home brewer.