Brewing scales are getting smarter by the minute and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. When looking for a brewing scale, it can be difficult to know which is best for your specific needs.
For me personally, I brew mostly espressos and smaller manual brewing methods. Therefore, I don’t need a big scale that can hold a large cup or even a big portafilter. My priority is to have my specialty coffee recipe tailored perfectly.
This is how I ended up becoming a regular user of the Acaia Pearl coffee scale. In this review, I will share my experience with the Acaia Pearl 2021 model, a professional grade smart brewing scale.
Who is the Acaia Pearl for?
The Acaia brand has two smart-scale options with the Peal model sitting at the lower end of the price range. This coffee scale (2021 model) comes with adjustable brightness which helps with both indoor and outdoor visibility as well as a real-time flow rate indicator and different brewing modes.
If you are a barista in training and want to make a long-term investment, if you have been part of the specialty coffee wave for a long time, or if you simply want to step up your pour over game, this coffee scale is for you.
For beginners, or those who don’t require a high level of precision, the Pearl may be overkill (check out our other coffee brewing scale recommendations).
Getting Started with the Acaia Pearl
When purchasing the Acaia Pearl you get three things: the brewing scale itself (either black or white), a heat resistant pad, and a USB TYPE-C charge cable.
The brewing scale is very modern-looking, durable, sleek, and it fits perfectly in the base of your palm. It has a decent weight to it and it is very easy to turn on and start brewing. The overall design is very minimalistic and user-friendly as well as very touch-sensitive.
It has two main buttons, the power button on the right and the tare button on the left. The charging outlet is located on the back. The power button also works to change the settings of the scale.
Using your Pearl is as easy as pressing and holding the power button. The first default mode is the weighing-only mode. You just need to set an item on your scale and then tap the “T” button.
To switch modes, press and hold the power button. If you want to power off the scale, double-tap the power button. The Acaia also has a Bluetooth mode where you can connect to the Acaia app and track your brews.
Key Features and Benefits
Real-time Flow-Rate Indicator
The Flow-Rate indicator visualises your pour speed in real-time, suggesting ideal flow rates. It can be a great feature if you want to experiment. You can track these features through the app.
Essential Brewing Modes
The suitability of each mode will depend on which brewing or pour method you want to focus on. All modes have an incredibly fast response time.
Weighing Mode only displays the weight on the scale in either grams or ounces.
Espresso Mode is catered for espresso. The timer will reset to 0 once 60 seconds has been reached.
Timer Mode/ Dual Display where the scale displays (0:00) on the left and weight on the right.
Auto Start Mode. First place an item on the scale, then turn it on and tare to prepare the timer to detect the flow of water. The timer will start with the flow and stop when the brewing equipment is removed.
Beverage Mode is mainly designed for pour-over and extraction measurements. The timer will start when the first flow of water is detected and stop when the items are removed. This method works great if you want to know the water retention in your brew and is great for a barista.
Auto Tare Mode displays grams or ounces only.
The Acaia Pearl’s has a lithium-ion battery that can last between 30-40 hours. The Type-C port makes it easier for users that have lost the original charger to recharge their Acaia.
Design and Construction
The Acaia Pearl is a great-looking coffee brewing scale. It has a display that is easy to read and that adjusts the brightness according to indoor or outdoor lighting.
It can measure very small increases of weight and is quite sensitive, which means that if you lean into the table when you are brewing, it might affect the measurement. The scale has very good accuracy with a very fast response time.
This model works best for small brewing methods and espresso machines. If you use something larger like a Chemex, your display might not be as visible.
In order to keep your Pearl running smoothly, I suggest calibrating it every couple of months or if you see that the number starts moving on its own accord.
To calibrate, while the scale is in Weight Mode, press the T button quickly multiple times until the LED display shows (CAL) and then (500). Place a 500 calibration weight on the scale and weight for it to start calibrating. The display will show (END) when the procedure is complete. This will allow for accurate measuring.
Value for Money
While the Pearl certainly isn’t cheap, I would say that it is definitely worth the investment.
I have weighed things that go from 0.1 grams to almost 2kg and it works wonders. I tend to stick to the simpler modes (Dual Display or just Weighting Mode) but I also appreciate the fact that I have a couple of more specific ones to choose from.
As I mentioned previously, the scale is extremely sensitive and that has allowed me to really cater my coffee recipes and be as precise as I want with them. It is very compact and can easily fit between other appliances or in a bag if you are brewing coffee elsewhere.
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What do users say about the Acaia Pearl?
“…there’s no questioning that Acaia is the absolute top of the coffee scale chain, and what I like best is, they don’t rest on their laurels. They are always looking to improve their scales. Now with the new Pearl 2021 scale, Acaia has taken it to yet another level.”
“The Acaia scales and app are extremely accurate. And I really needed that to meet my perfectionism when brewing ‘high end’-coffee!”
“The Acaia Pearl has long been one of the very best scales you can get for your pour-over setup. With interactive features, app connectivity and more, this scale has been our go-to recommendation for anyone looking at premium options for their pour-over kit. The new model of this scale offers improvements all around, and we think it’s a great first scale or upgrade for anyone on the lookout for an exceptional pour-over scale.”
Is the Acaia Pearl right for you?
The Acaia Pearl is great for people that want a scale that is not too big, doesn’t over-complicate things, and works well in its basic mode as well as more precise settings. It is the perfect scale for both entry-level baristas as well as professionals.
There are, however, a few drawbacks to be aware of:
- It is not designed to withstand high temperatures, so do not place any hot object directly on the weighing pan.
- Make sure that the surface you are brewing on is completely flat, otherwise, the scale will pick up on the slight shift.
- It is not completely waterproof. A few drops of coffee is fine but don’t expect it to survive bigger spills.
The Timemore Black Mirror Scale has a minimalistic design and includes a variety of modern features including a LED display, built-in timer, silicon gel pad, USB port and rechargeable battery. The matte surface prevents fingerprints, scratches, and protects the scale from water damage so it works well for home baristas or busy work spaces.
The Pearl S scale is designed for both shop and manual brewing. It is designed for all types of brewing, either at home or in a more commercial environment and can weigh to a tenth of a gram.
It is great for people that favour pour-over coffee due to its different built-in modes and abilities to aid in brewing. It has a capacity of 3000 grams. The inside of the Pearl Model S is also reinforced with additional metal components (making it heavier than the Pearl) and comes in either black or white.
The Acaia Lunar is designed specifically for espresso machine drip trays. It comes with a LED display and can connect to the Acaia app via Bluetooth. This model comes in black, white, or stainless steel. It also includes built-in auto modes, which allow you to tare, start, and stop without assistance. The scale comes with a lithium-ion battery. It is designed to be able to withstand the environment of a commercial machine’s drip tray.
There are great coffee scales out there but I would still pick the Acaia Pearl.
This compact scale works for different types of brewing methods, has different modes and connects to the Acaia app. The Acaia Pearl is very user-friendly, it is as easy as just touching the power button to get started.
It makes coffee brewing easy, can measure flow rate as well, and can weigh up to 2,000 grams. It has a small footprint due to its rechargeable port and can fit practically anywhere.
I don’t believe the Acaia is built for people that don’t look after their gear. You need to be careful with how you treat it, calibrate often to keep the sensors top-notch and make sure not to drop hot coffee on it.
All images courtesy of Acaia.
If you are a barista in training and want to make a long-term investment, if you have been part of the specialty coffee wave for a long time, or if you simply want to step up your pour over game, the Acaia Pearl coffee scale is for you.
Product SKU: AP007 / AP008
Product Brand: Acaia
Product Currency: AUD
Product Price: $299
Product In-Stock: InStock