Enhance your morning coffee routine with the best coffee scales.
Published Oct. 3, 2022.
When making pour-over coffee, exact measurements and timing are key. We recommend using a precision coffee scale with a built-in timer. Our favorite, the Timemore Black Mirror Coffee Scale, is accurate, it’s easy to use, and it has helpful additional features that ensure consistent, excellent pour-over coffee.
Compared to making coffee with a French press or an automatic drip machine, brewing pour-over coffee is a hands-on process. To pull the best flavor out of your coffee using the pour-over method, it's best to add a measured amount of water in careful "doses" at regular intervals. You start by “blooming” the coffee grounds, and then carefully pour more water over the grounds (or “coffee bed”) in two or three increments. You also have to watch the time. If hot water interacts with coffee grounds for too long, your coffee will taste overwhelmingly bitter. It requires finesse. If you’re a novice to pour-over coffee, you may find yourself pouring water too fast or too slow, resulting in over- and under-extracted coffee that tastes bad. The pour-over technique can be for espresso too
Precision coffee scales can help improve the quality and consistency of your brew. We talked with coffee industry insiders, including the 2020 winner of the United States Barista Championship (USBC) Andrea Allen, and Cara Mitchell, retail training manager of the popular New York City chain Joe Coffee, about their experiences with precision coffee scales. Both think that precision coffee scales can help people improve their home coffee experiences significantly. “With a gram scale, you can nail your brew every single time,” Allen says. The built-in timers are also a plus as the process is more streamlined—you can start one device when making coffee instead of two. The scales give readings in at least 0.1-gram increments, which is more precise than a regular kitchen scale and ensures that you get the perfect ratio of coffee to water.
We gathered a group of precision coffee scales and evaluated their accuracy, speed, legibility, ease of use, durability, and ease of cleanup. We also tested one that’s integrated with a smartphone system that helps you track the flow rate, a niche feature for diehard coffee fans. Some models in our lineup have an auto mode, which automatically starts the timer when it detects the first drop of liquid. One can even calculate the water needed based on the weight of the coffee beans.
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Valerie is an assistant editor for ATK Reviews. In addition to cooking, she loves skiing, traveling, and spending time outdoors.