barista using acaia scale

Should You Get an Acaia Scale? A Coffee Shop Owners Perspective

Acaia has become the gold standard of coffee scales. We asked a coffee shop owner, whether they are worth the hefty investment.
Christian Hartono
Christian Hartono
Coffee shop owner, national certified latte & sensory judge, and coffee blogger @sebenzacoffee.

In just a few years, the Acaia brand has gone from startup to established player in the specialty coffee world. The company’s first scale was launched in 2013 as a kickstarter project by Aaron Takao Fujiki.

At first, many people were sceptical due to what could be considered a relatively high price for something as basic as a scale, but eventually it was successfully funded.

What stood out about the scale the attractive, minimalist design, combined with highly advanced functionality specifically created for the coffee professional. 

In 2014, the first scale was launched at SCAA expo and won the ‘Best New Product’ award.

Nowadays, Acaia has become the gold standard of coffee scales among professionals.

I own three different models from the brand:

  • the Pearl
  • the Lunar
  • and the Cinco

In this review, I’ll tell you more about the pros and cons of each one of them. 

Acaia Pearl Review

acaia pearl digital scale
The Acaia Pearl is the biggest model (Photo: Christian Hartono)

Let’s start out by talking about the Acaia Pearl. It’s the company’s first product, the cheapest, and also the largest of the scales. It was also my first Acaia scale.

The original version comes in a white color, and once I held it in my hand, I understood that this was a quality product designed to perform perfectly in every single way.

It will help you achieve maximum extraction in manual brewing, or measuring your espresso dose precisely.

It has been four years already at my coffee shop, and still does the main job really well. It seems that it will last longer than I expected.

The Acaia modes

One of the key points that separate Acaia coffee scales from regular kitchen scales are the advanced ‘modes’ that alter the functionality. Each model has a  different set of ‘modes’ and new ones are added with firmware updates. 

Here are a few highlights: 

  • Auto Start Mode: The timer will start automatically, when you begin pouring. Great for both pour over and espresso.
  • Beverage Mode: Takes carafe, pour over cone and coffee into the equation, and tells you the weight of the water and the resulting beverage after the brew.
  • Auto Tare Mode: Automatically resets the scale when you remove a cup or bowl. Handy for cupping, or weighing out a bunch of coffee.

The battery itself is rechargeable via usb and it still works well after all these years. Even though the LED display has become a bit dimmer, we can read it easily.

After four years of using this scale, my main concern is that the display is a bit difficult to read outdoors and that it’s not completely waterproof.

Acaia Pearl
22 Reviews
Acaia Pearl
The first smart scale in specialty coffee, and still very popular today

In day to day work, this scale gets exposed to both water and coffee. However, so far it has withstood everything and done its job really well.

 One of the main selling points of Acaia scales is that it has Bluetooth connectivity.  

To be honest, I have never found this feature useful for any of the models and only use it to check the battery status. 

I should also mention that Acaia recently released an updated version called the ‘Pearl S’. It has a better display and new, advanced apps. However, this model is even more expensive than the original Pearl. 

Acaia Lunar Review

acaia lunar scale with Kono Meimon dripper
Acaia Lunar is a small but versatile coffee scale (Photo: Christian Hartono)

Acaia Lunar, was the second model to come out. It is smaller than the Pearl, since it’s specifically designed for the limited space around the espresso drip tray.

It is water resistant, durable, and has specific ‘espresso modes’, such as ‘auto tare’ and ‘auto start’. This is a big help for the professional barista. 

The scale is made out of anodized aluminum. Once I held it after purchasing it in 2015, it instantly gave me a feeling of durability and craftsmanship.

After having used this scale for four years in my cafe, it still works well, even though it has a lot of dents and scratches (dropped a tamper and a portafilter, submerged in water).

Acaia Lunar
26 Reviews
Acaia Lunar
Great for espresso, and also works well for pour over

Overall, the Lunar has done an excellent job. Even though it’s made for espresso, it still works as an all-purpose coffee scale.

You can use it for:

  • espresso
  • manual brewing
  • as a travel companion due to its compact size

I’m still amazed by how durable yet reliable Lunar has been on my coffee journey. The anodized color also maintains well for Lunar.

One major drawback is, however, is when you have two milk drinks on the scale at the same time, you risk spilling some liquid if you press the tare button. There’s not a lot of space.

It’s possible to get a weighing plate accessory that you put on top of the scale. This will allow you to weigh larger things like a portafilter or two cups at the same time. However, In my opinion, the design is a bit odd, and paying an additional $30 seems too much for something that could easily be included.

acaia cinco lunar and pearl stacked on each other
Pearl, Lunar and Cinco in beautiful harmony (Photo: Christian Hartono)

Acaia Lunar vs Pearl

So if I had to pick one scale from Acaia, which one would I choose?

Though both scales have proven to be very durable in a café environment, Acaia Lunar still wins my heart as the best allround coffee scale.

It’s the most expensive Acaia scale, but it also comes with anodized aluminum and feels more durable and water resistant than its bigger brother.

The smaller dimensions fit perfectly on the espresso drip tray, and the espresso modes works well (it’s rare that it misses a shot).

The Lunar has also been a good performer, when it comes to manual brewing. In spite of being small, it can still hold the 6-cup Chemex without any difficulties reading the display. The challenge is when you have a range server with a wider bottom like my Brewista carafe.

The smaller dimensions of the Lunar is also a big plus for travelling. It has become my reliable travel partner for brewing coffee everywhere.

Bonus Section: Acaia Cinco Review

In 2018, Acaia released the limited edition Acaia Cinco to celebrate their 5 years anniversary. It might be the smallest dedicated coffee scale on earth and it’s made for Acaia fans like me.

It was produced in limited number, only 1000, and it’s tiny. It can only hold 500 grams maximum. It’s perfect for tea leaves, or a 1 group espresso machine. I have used it several times for traveling along with my Kinto carafe and Tetra Drip. However, it’s too small for the Aeropress and Delter Coffee Press, so for this reason I still prefer Acaia Lunar.

Acaia Scale Review Conclusion

I guess by now I have almost collected all the different Acaia scales. For me the brand has already proven that it has what it takes to serve the needs of the specialty coffee community.

I’m still keeping an eye on the Acaia team to see what they come up with next time, but if I have to choose, Acaia Lunar will be my best buddy when it comes to diving down the bottomless ocean of coffee brewing.

Of course, there will always be other competitors with a different value proposition. However, all Acaia variants has their own unique capabilities, and for me it’s still the most suitable among the brands that I have tried.

about the author

about the author

Christian Hartono owns the cafe Nordic Coffee located in Surabaya on the Indonesian island of Java. He is a certified judge of sensory skills and latte art.

Christian is also the man behind the acclaimed Instagram profile @sebenzacoffee.

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