The Learning Curve: Maybe I Best Get A Scale, After All?

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
SEMIJim

#1: Post by SEMIJim »

Pulled two shots day-before-yesterday, both good. Pulled three shots yesterday. Even the roast I bought from WLL, out of which I'd previously been unable to get a non-sour shot, came out not half bad. Thought "Ok, I've got this."

This morning I did the same everything. Ok, the first shot I was pretty sure I over-dosed the PF a bit. But the 2nd and 3rd seemed right on the money.

Choked the machine on all three. And not just a little, either :(

Finally ran the Vario back down from 3Q to 3S and pulled a good shot.

I'm thinking perhaps I best get a scale, after all.

Reading the reviews and user comments here and elsewhere, it looks like the AWS AMW-SC-2KGA might serve me well?

walr00s
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#2: Post by walr00s »

My scales are easily my most important pieces of equipment after the grinder and machine, can't imagine trying to work without them. How do you know if you followed a recipe correctly? How do you know if two shots are similar in time/yield?

This is my recommendation: https://www.amazon.com/WEIGHTMAN-Digita ... B07XQS8JL6 based on value for money

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randytsuch

#3: Post by randytsuch »

Will it fit under your machine? Looks pretty large.

I have a smaller scale that I use to weigh beans going into the shot, and to weigh while pulling the shot.
Weighing during the shot is a recent change, and I think it is helping my technique.

tennisman03110

#4: Post by tennisman03110 »

The Bambino is small. I have this scale, it's a tight footprint and works great. I measure both my dose before grinding, and my shot output.

I don't bother weighing the actual ground coffee in the portafilter.

https://www.amazon.com/GreaterGoods-Dig ... merReviews

SEMIJim (original poster)

#5: Post by SEMIJim (original poster) »

Hard to believe a $12-$15 scale can possibly be repeatable, much less accurate.

Then again: I bought a $100 scale that claimed to be accurate to 0.1 grain (0.006 gram). Bought a couple precision calibration weights, one of which came with NIST-traceable documentation. (These weights are so precise they're handled with plastic or nylon tweezers, or lint-free cotton, latex, or nitrile gloves. Never bare hands.) Damned if the scale wasn't accurate to the precision claimed. It was remarkably repeatable, too. IIRC, the most deviation I saw in testing was 0.3 grain (0.02 gram) over the length of a day w/o re-zeroing. Most times it stayed w/in ±0.1 grain all day long.

Unless somebody comes up with a better recommendation, I'm inclined to go with tennisman03110's recommendation. Gets the highest marks of any I've looked at.

walr00s
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#6: Post by walr00s »

SEMIJim wrote:Hard to believe a $12-$15 scale can possibly be repeatable, much less accurate.
Why's that hard to believe? Just because of the ridiculously silly price of "specialized" espresso scales out there? or because of some internal mechanical consideration?

ira
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#7: Post by ira »

When I was talking to Rex of Acaia he said that the advantage gained from the more expensive load cells he used was in linearity, not in repeatability which is the more important number for us. Past that it has to do with the quality and speed of the analog to digital convertor used and the effort put into thermal compensation and structural integrity. But given all that, it would be difficult to make a consistently inaccurate scale given the standardization of the parts that are used to make them. Fast settling times, thermal stability and high precision cost money, the inexpensive one give some of that up, but it's usually not missed unless you're using the scale for profiling where fast settling times are critical.

Ira

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coffeechan

#8: Post by coffeechan »

Many a home barista have survived using lesser scales than an Acaia. I use a SC2KG scale because its cheap and it works. Its not as fast as an Acaia, but you get used to cutting the shot a few grams prior to your target and you'll get close. The only other real requirement is to have it out to 0.1g. A timer can be separate or integrated depending on how much you want to spend.

SEMIJim (original poster)

#9: Post by SEMIJim (original poster) »

walr00s wrote:Why's that hard to believe? Just because of the ridiculously silly price of "specialized" espresso scales out there? or because of some internal mechanical consideration?
The latter. Mechanical and electrical. But ira's subsequent reply perhaps explains it.

jgood

#10: Post by jgood »

I have been using a $15 scale from Lee Valley tools for several years. It weighs to the nearest gram and seems consistent -- ie when I put the portafilter on it, if previously zeroed it consistently reads 537 or 538 gr. To keep track of time I have an old $10 timex with a sweep second hand hanging nearby. I can't stop my shot to the tenth of a gram, nor do I care if my dose varies by a half gram.
Weighing the dose and output will improve your shots!