The Acaia Pearl scale has been on my mind for a while, more so than any other piece of coffee equipment. I have been having an issue with my regular scales -- which were a cheap purchase on Amazon -- where the weight of the contents on the scale sometimes changes by 0.1 or 0.2 grams. This behaviour has affected the scales since the start, but I did not mind because the changes did not have a big impact on my coffee brewing.
Over the last few weeks, I have become increasingly frustrated by this issue. I often have to take beans out of my ramekin which I use to weigh my coffee, only to put them back in again until the scale reads the exact weight of grounds I want to reach. Sometimes, after a few seconds, the weight on the screen of my scales increases or decreases, with no obvious reason. I make a few cups of coffee a day -- usually three -- and getting the "right" weight on my scale has become tiresome. Sometimes I just give up and roll with what I have.
So I decided to purchase the Acaia Pearl scale, perhaps the most well-known scale for coffee professionals and home hobbiests. This scale is known for its accuracy and responsiveness, two factors I value heavily in a scale, and which I thought my previous scale did not deliver to the extent I would now like.
I bought a cheap scale from Amazon a few months ago because I was not ready to commit to a more expensive piece of equipment. Indeed, thus far I have upgraded only when I have conviction that what I buy will be useful in the long-term. I now feel like I'm going to be brewing coffee for a long time and so a new set of scales felt like a good investment. Although not strictly necessary, the new set of scales will answer my frustration with my existing scales, with a few additional benefits.
I said I bought the Acaia Pearl scale because of its accuracy and responsiveness, although I'd have to add one more factor that influenced my purchasing decision: the aesthetics. Indeed, the Acaia Pearl scale looks beautiful, more so than any other scale I have seen. Although aesthetics do not have an influence on my brewing, they do affect my overall experience making coffee. It's just like the Chemex. I love brewing with the Chemex not only because of the cup profile but also because of the experience using the device.
The Acaia Pearl scale arrived and was ready to use right out of the box, without having to charge the device. But before I could use the scale, I had to read through some material. The scale was accompanied with a warranty card, a USB charging cable, some stickers, and a quick start guide. Unfortunately, the manual for the scale does not come with the device. Instead, the manual is available online at a link written in the quick start guide. With that said, the quick start guide did indeed get me started, but it did not answer all of my questions.
One of the first questions I had was: how do I get the scale to stop beeping?
By default, the scale makes a noise every time you press a button. I am unsure how many people would need their scale to beep when they press a button; perhaps some people prefer more feedback when they take an action, which is reasonable because the buttons on the scale do not press in wards. But I feel like the noise should be turned off by default. I had to look at the manual to turn off the noise and it took me about five to ten minutes to actually turn the beeping off. This was not the best experience, having to navigate through menus to stop the beeping when I press a button, but I managed to turn the sound effects off.
In the course of reading what I considered to be the most important parts of the manual -- the introduction, the basic usage instructions, and how to change the mode of the scale from weight to timer and weight -- I learned how to operate the scale. Although I had to spend some time practising the usage of the buttons and I suspect I'll need to brew quite a few more cups before I feel comfortable with navigating what buttons to press and when.
The most important features so far have been:
- Power on: Hold the power button
- Power off: Press the power button twice
- Tare scale: Press the T (tare) button
- Trigger mode: Hold the power button
- Start the timer: Press the power button once
- Reset the timer on timer and scale mode: Press the tare button twice
There are numerous other settings -- and indeed modes -- for me to explore but I needed to start somewhere. I brewed a Chemex with the scale later after reading the manual and managed to successfully use the scale. I feel like I will have more confidence once I have made a few cups. I was concerned that I would accidentally press the wrong button and stop the timer or turn off the scale. But I did not do either of these things and was able to make a coffee.
In use, the Acaia Pearl scale feels wonderful. The LED display looks great and the scale feels, in my hands, premium. This is what I would expect given the price of the scale. The scale did not fluctuate between weights while I was weighing my coffee; there were no unexplained increases or decreases in the weight of the beans I put on the scale. Although, my Chemex did lose two grams of liquid by the end of the brew. After further evaluation, I believe this is down to evaporation. My last scale never picked up on evaporation as far as I could tell.
The Acaia Pearl scale is a luxury and it is one that I knew I did not need at the start of my coffee brewing journey. My non-name brand scale from Amazon has done me fine and I have seen many people with scales similar to the ones I used to use. But now I have been brewing for a number of months -- and have started to notice the deficiencies of my older scales more -- I felt like now was the right time for an upgrade.
I shall probably have more to say about this scale as I delve further into the world of the Pearl. I have yet to use their apps or use any mode other than timer and weight and the regular weight mode. I am excited to use this scale and I feel already it is an excellent addition to my home brew bar.
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