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Baristas Love This $150 Coffee Scale. That Doesn't Mean You Need It

Unless you're trying to win a competition, you probably don't need the Acaia Pearl scale.

acaia pearl scale
Tyler Chin

Anyone who brews pour-over coffee knows that a scale is necessary to make sure you get the right amount of coffee, water and coffee-to-water ratio. Any old scale can help you weigh stuff out, but this $150 scale from Acaia — called the Pearl — is the stuff professionals look to when they want to perfect their cup.

Still, $150 is a lot for a scale. So ... is it worth it? We tested one to find out.

At a Glance: Acaia Pearl Scale

Acaia Pearl Coffee Scale
seattlecoffeegear.com
$150.00

  • Designed to help you improve your coffee-brewing skills
  • Beautifully designed
  • Incredibly accurate

  • Hard to use
  • Expensive
Measuring Units: Grams/ounces
Maximum Capacity: 2,000 grams/70.55 ounces
Battery: Lithium-ion rechargeable 3.7 V 1100 mAh
Battery Life: 30 to 40 hours

What's Good About the Acaia Pearl Coffee Scale

Impressive accuracy

The most important thing about a scale — especially one for coffee in which every gram matters — is its accuracy. The Acaia Pearl is accurate to the tenth of the gram, while some other scales might not get that minuscule with their readings.

Another huge pro of the Pearl is just how quickly it registers weights — its response time is one of the fastest in the market, especially compared to lower-end coffee scales. Plus, the weights stabilize more quickly, so you don't need to take that half a second to make sure the scale is actually displaying the correct weight.

A coffee scale for coffee lovers

Almost everything about this coffee scale is designed to help improve your coffee-brewing abilities. The display features a real-time flow rate indicator, which lets you know whether you're pouring water too fast or too slow. The display even has markings that serve as thresholds for so-called proper flow rates, which baristas use to help gauge how well-extracted their end cup of coffee will be.

The Pearl also has a bunch of modes that help improve your skills as a barista. The dual-display mode — the most common setting for all coffee scales – lets you see weight and a timer. But when you activate the Pearl's other features, you can also tap into the Auto-Start Timer mode, which registers when you're starting to pour water and will automatically kick in the timer. In Beverage mode, the Pearl guides you through the entire pour-over process from putting the cup or carafe on the scale to removing the filter at the end of the brew.

And for those who love their apps, the Pearl uses Bluetooth to connect a companion smartphone app, which lets you store brewing recipes, update firmware and use other coffee-nerd features.

acaia pearl scale
Acaia

The Pearl is rechargeable

It's a minor point, but the fact that the Pearl scale is rechargeable is probably one of my favorite things about it. I had previously been using the Hario coffee scale, which runs on AAA batteries, and I always hated having to replace those things, especially when the replacing the batteries became an extra step between waking up and drinking coffee.

The Pearl charges through a USB Type-C, so while a charger is included with the Pearl, you can also use your phone charger. With its 30 to 40 hours worth of juice, the coffee scale only needs to be charged every few months, the brand claims. Also, the scale comes charged straight out of the box.

What's Not Ideal About the Acaia Pearl Scale

That hefty price tag

It's hard to ignore the Pearl's $150 price tag — especially when you can get a decent coffee scale for much, much less. This thing is an investment, for those who take their coffee seriously. If you're just trying to make coffee in the morning so you can get going for the rest of the day, this thing feels like a huge waste of money.

However, a lot of at-home coffee nerds love to experiment with coffee brewing and various beans. If you're one of them, the Pearl will help you take your coffee-brewing techniques to the next level.

acaia pearl scale
Acaia

Hard-to-use interface

The Pearl only has two buttons: a power button and a tare button. It keeps things sleek and minimalist, but those two buttons are all you have to control the scale. Navigating through the Pearl's settings requires any number of combinations of presses — long and short — and remembering what to press and how long to press it makes the Pearl annoying to use.

Out of the box, the Pearl only has two of its modes ready to use: weigh only, and dual display for weight and time. For some reason, Acaia makes you go to the settings — again, a hard thing to find — to turn the various modes on (or off). I had to go into the settings to activate the auto-start mode and beverages mode. It begs the question: why did Acaia not just turn all these modes on to begin with?

You can't resume the timer

One of my biggest complaints for the Pearl is the timer. Yes, it counts upwards perfectly well, but once you pause the timer, there's no way to resume it — the timer goes back to zero. This makes no sense. Because it's a touch button, it's easy to accidentally pause the timer, and since you can't kick back up the count, you can screw up your whole coffee-brewing recipe when you forget just how much time is left on your brew.

Editor's Note: After posting this review, Acaia reached out to let us know that you can resume the timer — but you can only do it by using the companion app.

acaia pearl scale
Tyler Chin

Acaia Pearl Scale: The Verdict

I've been making pour-over coffee for almost a decade now, and the Pearl was always one of my dream additions to my pour-over kit. It looks really nice, and it's incredibly accurate...but it's also crazy expensive.

Unless you're trying to compete in a barista competition, this scale feels like a luxury purchase that you could do without. A coffee lover would surely appreciate the Pearl as a gift, but it's hard to justify the price when a $50 coffee scale could do the trick.

Acaia Pearl Coffee Scale
seattlecoffeegear.com
$150.00

  • Designed to help you improve your coffee-brewing skills
  • Beautifully designed
  • Incredibly accurate

  • Hard to use
  • Expensive
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