To make great coffee at home, you need to be consistent—whatever brew method you use. There’s no point having a great morning cup of coffee one day and a terrible one the next.
The simplest way to get consistent with your coffee is to use weighing scales and a stopwatch. If you always use the exact same amount of ground coffee and water, and, depending on your brew method, pour in the water over the same period of time, you’ll have very similar cups every day. It’ll quickly become part of your morning routine.
What to Look for in a Coffee Scale
You probably already have a weighing scale at home but, if it’s not a dedicated coffee scale, it’s unlikely to be sensitive enough for brewing coffee. Here’s what you need to look for in a good coffee scales.
- High Accuracy: Coffee beans are pretty light, so a good coffee scale will be accurate to the tenth of a gram (around 3/100ths of an ounce). If the scale is only accurate to the half gram, or worse, the whole gram, you won’t be able to consistently measure out the same dose of coffee.
- High Precision: With weighing scales, there’s generally a trade-off between the speed of the measurement and how precise the measurement is. Good coffee scales are still fast—but they prioritize precision. If the measurement jumps around a lot as you add water, it’s almost impossible to be consistent with your pours.
- A Digital Readout: Analog scales are impossible to read accurately enough for brewing coffee. All good coffee scales have a responsive digital readout.
- A Built-In Timer: Most dedicated coffee scales have a built-in timer. It’s really useful as you don’t have to look at a stopwatch or clock to time your brews. While it’s not an essential feature, we’d recommend getting a scale with a built-in timer when you can.
- General Utility: We’re loath to recommend scales that can only be used for coffee. Instead, a good coffee scale should double as a good general kitchen scale. It should be able to weigh accurately up to at least a few pounds so you can use them for cooking, baking, and other simple weighing tasks.
Now, let’s look at some scales that will do the job.
A Great Affordable Weighing Scale: Coffee Gator Coffee Scale with Timer
Coffee Gator’s Coffee Scale with a built-in timer is a great coffee scale—though it will weigh anything else you want, too. At $20, it’s one of the most affordable scales that’s accurate to a tenth of a gram, so you can weigh out small quantities of beans time and time again. It’s not limited to small quantities though; it remains accurate up to 6.6 pounds, so you can easily weigh out the ingredients for a good-sized cake to go with your coffee.
For pour-over, the Aeropress, and even a French press, it’s a good idea to time how long it takes your coffee to brew. You can use the stopwatch on your phone, but it’s less convenient to look between different displays. That’s where the built-in timer on the scales come in handy. As soon as you pour the water into your brewer, you can start the timer and track things perfectly.
Coffee Scale with Timer - Coffee Gator Digital Multifunction Weighing Scale - Large, Bright LCD Display - Espresso Scale, Coffee Brewing, Food, Drink and General Kitchen Use
The Coffee Gator scales with built-in timer are a great, affordable option for consistent coffee.
The Best Coffee Weighing Scale: Hario V60 Drip Coffee Scale and Timer
Hario, the Japanese manufacturer responsible for the V60 coffee brewer is one of the most important companies in coffee brewing. It’s no surprise that its dedicated pour-over coffee scale and timer is one of the best out there.
The V60 scale is accurate to a tenth of a gram. Even better, the scale is remarkably precise: the weight doesn’t jump around too much as you pour water into your brewer, so you’re unlikely to overshoot.
Also, the V60 has great minimalist styling. You can leave it out on your countertop ready to go and it won’t look out of place. This is the scale I use at home and it’s been great.
Hario V60 Drip Coffee Scale and Timer, Black
The Hario V60 scales are a great looking, precise scales from one of coffee's biggest companies.
A Tiny Option for Travel: American Weigh Scales Blade
If you like to make great coffee on the go, you need a small scale that can fit in any bag (or even your pocket). The American Weigh Scales Blade, at just 3.8-inch by 3.8-inch by 0.8-inch, is perfect for the job—and still accurate to a tenth of a gram.
The Blade uses a clever pop-out LCD display to stay so compact. It also comes with a lid that doubles as a measuring tray to protect the scale from any bangs and scrapes.
If you’re putting together a travel coffee kit, it’s the scale for you.
American Weigh Scales Blade Series Digital Precision Pocket Weight Scale, Black, 1000 x 0.1G (BL-1KG-BLK)
American Weigh Scales' Blade is absolutely tiny. Perfect for making great coffee on the go.
A Smart Scale for Tracking Your Brews: Acaia Pearl
It seems like there is a smart version of every household appliance available, and coffee scales are no exception. The Acaia Pearl is a high-end coffee scale with a built-in timer. Like the other scales, it’s accurate to a tenth of a gram. Unlike the other scales on this list, it has Bluetooth.
You can use the Pearl as a regular extremely accurate (if expensive) coffee scale, and it’ll work perfectly. However, it’s the Bluetooth connectivity that sets it apart. You can connect your Pearl to your smartphone and use Acaia’s suite of apps to improve your coffee brewing. For example, the Brewguide app has brew recipes for different coffees, and you can upload and share your own. The Brewmaster app logs information from your brews, like the ratio of coffee to water, flow rate, and brew time, so you can repeat them exactly—or see where you deviated.
If you’re just going to use the Pearl as a coffee scale, it’s not worth the cost. The Hario V60 is a third of the price and just as good. However, if the idea of logging every cup of coffee you make appeals to you, then Acaia’s apps might be enough of a reason to upgrade.