March 22, 2015

Barista Review of Acaia Pearl Brewing Scale


The Acaia Pearl Brewing Scale had a humble beginning as a Kickstarter campaign reaching $42, 458 of its $30, 000 funding goal back in December, 2013.  However, since the campaign  it’s caused quite a stir in the specialty coffee industry and has even caught the attention of Japanese coffee accessory company Hario. Hario collaborated to produce 1000 limited edition packages with an Acaia brewing scale, V60 dripper, range server and cupping spoon.

SEE ALSO: The Acaia Lunar: Trendy Toy or Serviceable Scales?

Prior to the Acaia Pearl, brewing scales were limited to the basic timer and scale functions. Yes, these basic functions are suitable for some brewers, but the Acaia offers much much more, in a sleek and sexy looking package. It’s more than a competitor, it has changed the game.

Filter coffee being brewed

It’s a game changer. Photo: Dan Schonknech

What Is the Acaia Pearl?

The Acaia is a scale made for both serious home and commercial use. It features:

  • Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity to pair up with your smart phone
  • Lithium Ion battery rechargeable via USB (20-30hrs usage time)
  • An auto-off feature that never turns off if there is anything on the scale (yes you can forget all those #pouroverfails)
  • A built in timer enabling you to track time from either the scale or your smart phone
  • Accuracy up to a tenth of gram (yes that’s right coffee geeks, you can forget all about evaporation worries, the Acaia will answer for those subtle changes)
  • The scale also had a rubber heat pad that sits on the brewers while also doubling as a portafilter holder.

Those features already outweigh the competition that was on the market before the Acaia emerged, but that is not even the most exciting part of what Acaia offers. The scale pairs with an Acaia brewing app that is available on both IOS and Android.  The app is a coffee geek’s fantasy come true. Why? Through the app you can measure and record coffee weight, water weights, brewing ratios, brew temperature, record grind size used, overall brew times and even pour over technique by recording your pour patterns and flow rate!

acaia coffee app

The app is a coffee geek’s fantasy come true.

How Do You Use It?

There are a large number of brewing printouts to choose from (for example V60, Chemex, French press).  You choose one of these brewing devices, and then your coffee and ratio. Then you select brewing time and brewing points. And that’s it! As you pour, you can observe & follow your progress on a clean visual graph (which can be shared online or printed afterwards).

Once you find your optimum point, you can always use that print and make your coffee to those exact specifications.

Dog waiting for coffee to be brewed

The best gift of all from such a device is CONSİSTENCY.  In a commercial setting or for barista academies these features are extremely beneficial.  It can develop brewing technique and enhance consistency much faster than through trial and error. If your café has a particular brewing style, your new employees can now visualize what it is that you are trying to teach them.The Acaia app is attracting attention! It’s offers a  social network where recipes are shared brews are rated.
InstaPhoto: @cosuke_yuzu_album

The Acaia App Is All About Sharing Recipes…

Sharing knowledge is crucial to drink the best coffee possible. This is why the Acaia app’s social network is a brilliant idea. You can rate your brews (or have others rate them) and share them online with other app users. You can even use the app to find brew recipes for a particular bean if you wish to experiment with what you have on hand. Just print off the recipe or view it online and replicate the results from the graph.

The Acaia’s mobile app is constantly being improved, and new firmware features are available regularly. This is all made possible by the updatable 64k flash memory incorporated into the unit. It all sounds like something featured in a George Lucas film about coffee geeks and how only by harnessing the Acaia force will humanity be saved from the dark side of the coffee universe…

Aeropress on a scale

Verdict and Pricing

This scale is one of the best on the market, if not the very best.  The Acaia Pearl won the Best New Product of SCAA 2014. It’s waterproof and  solidly built meaning it can it under the group of an espresso machine without fear of water damage. The Acaia’s closest competitor is the Bonavita scale, but at about the same price point and with no app offered I would lean more towards the Acaia. This scale is available for $129US international, 129 € in the EU and approximately $180AUD in Australia. It’s pricey but offers a unique experience. If you make manual pour overs in your coffee shop, or are a serious amateur home barista there is simply no alternative.

Article edited by A. Guerra.

Perfect Daily Grind.