Brewista Scale Observations

Beginner or pro barista, all are invited to share.
James Mulryan
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Postby James Mulryan » Oct 29, 2015, 3:47 pm

Just received my Brewista scale.

Well built, heavier than the traditional Amazon economy scales
Gasket around the batteries keep water out. They even give you two extra gaskets and a small Philips screw driver to secure battery door with screws
Found lots of water getting into my previous Amazon econo scale battery compartment
Water resistant--time will confirml, but looks pretty stout to me
Multi-program ways of timing and weighing espresso output
Big orange with black letter read out, much easier to see than the Amazon scales :D
Really cool to watch time and weight right next to each other, instead of looking from the scale to a separate hand timer.
Looks very stylish.

When you use the function that starts the clock when the espresso first hits the cup, there is a bit of a lag until the scale senses enough weight to turn on the timer.
When I was using the Amazon scale with a separate timer, I would start the time when the very first drop left the bottomless porta-filter, not sure if that was the correct technique, but I would say there is a one to two second lag between this technique and the auto function on the Brewista.

All in all I think this is a great addition at a somewhat reasonable price.

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Postby danetrainer » Oct 29, 2015, 3:55 pm

Just received mine yesterday and find it meets my needs and operates quite well.
I've been using the Mode where the timer starts counting when you place the cup on the scale and automatically tares it, and I start the shot at the same moment.

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Postby ecuew » Oct 29, 2015, 4:00 pm

Thanks for the review. Apart from the "con" you listed, how is the response time in general?

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Postby James Mulryan » Oct 29, 2015, 4:07 pm

Response time-not sure yet, only used it twice
Will update
Any suggestion on how to test this?

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Postby ecuew » Oct 29, 2015, 4:13 pm

James Mulryan wrote:Any suggestion on how to test this?

Off the top of my head I'd say stack the scales one on top of the other, then put your cup on top of that. Tare both scales and pull your shot. Compare the readouts as the shot progresses.

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Postby baldheadracing » Oct 29, 2015, 5:02 pm

First impressions after four days of use: the scale has issues, or my scale has issues, or I can't follow instructions. All three possibilities are reasonably likely. Thus, I am going to confirm my observations over the next few days before posting further. However, at the moment, I could not recommend buying one for pour-over.

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Postby Velomane » Oct 29, 2015, 5:32 pm

Is there a thread on how to best use a scale for pulling shots? Any information would be appreciated.

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Postby James Mulryan » Oct 29, 2015, 6:56 pm

From this site:

Auto1: This is an espresso mode. Place cup on scale and time/weight go to zero and timer start counting up.
Auto2: This is the second espresso mode: Place cup on scale and time/weight go to zero, start espresso machine and press orange timer button and scale timer starts. Remove cup and time and weight go back to zero.
Auto3: Place cup on scale, will auto tare. This is for espresso machines with built-in timers.
Auto4: Place cup on scale, will auto tare. When espresso hits the cup the timer starts automatically, weight is displayed.
Hand1: This is a pourover mode. Add brewing vessel to scale and weight goes to zero. Add coffee grounds after 3 seconds weight goes to zero. Start adding water and weight and timer start. Remove brew vessel and both weight and time go back to zero.
Hand2: This is a manual pourover mode. User tares and starts timer.

I used Auto 4, which seemed to work really well. Like I said a bit of a delay on the scale registering the first drop, but I would image anyone could adjust to that lag with a bit of practice

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Postby baldheadracing » Nov 08, 2015, 8:35 pm

First impressions - wall of text follows:

First, this scale is not comparable an Acaia scale. Acaia scales are MUCH more expensive. OTOH, the Brewista is around double the price of an AWS 2kg, and has similar specs to the AWS.

There are lots of YT videos and more added as the scale becomes more widely available in North America, so I won't bother posting mine. Brewista also has a nice YouTube video that explains everything about the modes.

The scale was introduced in the UK (Europe?) before it came to North America. Thus, UK coffee forums have more info, but the info may be out of date. The firmware has changed from the UK intro models.

Size is identical to the AWS 2kg. The two plastic weigh covers are the same size as the AWS (or Smartweigh, or ...).

The scales measurements react (change) with heat. An insulating pad is needed - I cut up an old mouse pad.

Display (black on orange) is large and easy to read, much easier than the black on blue AWS or SmartWeigh displays.

Auto turn-off is user-configurable to one, two, or three minutes, or disabled. Those of you with the non-AC-powered AWS will appreciate this.

There are two main reasons I wanted this scale, even though I have an AWS 2kg: water resistance and "smarts." Smarts I will divide into espresso and pour-over.

The scale is water resistant. However, it isn't rated IP65. UK forums show some evidence of leaking into the battery compartment. In mine, there are visible wires in between the top of the base of the scale and the measurement surface. Thus, I won't be rinsing mine under a tap, even if that's what they say can be done.

(If you have an AWS, clear packing tape over the button/display area is a quick and effective mod for misplaced drips/naked PF channeling. More protection can be had by putting the small weigh cover on the scale inverted (like a bowl) and then placing the bigger weigh cover over the scale/small cover (you have to tare first, of course). Even more protection can be had by putting the scale in a ziplock, or sealing the scale in a plastic bag with a food vacuum thing (don't apply vacuum, just seal).)

"Smarts" for espresso are well-done, and work reasonably well. To me, it felt like a lot of work went into calibrating the modes, especially mode 4.
Auto1: cup on scale, time/weight tare automatically, and timer starts counting up.
Auto2: cup on scale, time/weight tare automatically, (manually) press timer button to start timer.
Auto3: cup on scale, weight tares automatically. Timer does SFA.
Auto4: cup on scale, time/weight tare automatically. After about a second's worth of espresso drops, the timer and scale will start (and show time & weight from back a second and a bit).

The real-time-ness of the scale is not super-amazing, but it isn't super-slow, either. Perhaps - perhaps - slightly better than the AWS 2kg.

In all modes, lifting the cup freezes the display. You have five seconds after the display freezes to read the scale - after five seconds, the scale/time resets to zero. I felt that the reset to zero made sense for pros working bar, but not so much for home users. Brew Global may make the reset time adjustable or disable-a-ble in a future release. There does not appear to be a facility to update the firmware post-purchase.

The key point is you MUST end extraction by lifting the cup. Anything else, like sliding the cup, can confuse the scale. This is why I had a hard time assessing whether the scale was better or worse than the AWS for reaction times - I was/am used to sliding the AWS.

As long as I was grinding for a reasonably normal extraction time for a double espresso into a single cup, everything worked as advertised. Running outside these parameters occasionally confused the scale, but I expected this. I did my testing with the Strega and auto4 mode, and lifting the cup worked to freeze the scale/timer, even with the runoff continuing to pour onto the scale. After a week, I was still not used to seeing that, though!

"Smarts" for pour-over were, to be blunt, dumb. There are two modes, one is full manual. The other is: place brewer on scale, scale auto-tares. Add coffee, scale auto-tares once weight is stable for three seconds. Add water, timer and scale start. Remove brewer, and time/weight freezes and displays for five seconds, and then resets.

Sounds good, eh? Well ... I tested with a V60. First, if you fool about with the coffee bed, like tap to settle, the scale gets confused. There will be a new mode in a future release to address this issue according to Brewista. The other issue is how the scale defines removing the brewer (stopping rule). It appears to define it as a reduction in mass - but, unfortunately, any reported reduction in mass. Thus, as long as you pour, you're okay. Stir the grounds/scrape the high-and-dry grounds, the scale resets - sometimes. Touch the kettle's spout on your V60, the scale resets - sometimes. Touch your V60 or mug/carafe while pouring, the scale resets - sometimes. Pulse pour, the scale resets - sometimes. It took me a week to figure it out, and then I confirmed my suspicions with Brewista.

The solution (for V60), is to use a pourover stand, and then the espresso modes - auto2, for example, will work. There are some nice stands on Etsy ...

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Postby BlackArts » Nov 08, 2015, 9:03 pm

I liked the Brewista right out of the box, I thought it would be perfect for my shop, however, after using it in a commercial setting for a month has highlighted several issues.
The auto tare and timer (mode1) has glitches and sometimes won't auto start and even occasionally will reset during pouring an espresso, even when it seems to be working correctly.
More importantly, and the reason I have been in touch with the distributor, is the fact that after 1 month of use, the battery terminals are very corroded/ rusted and won't register the batteries.
I believe this is due to steam getting into the battery compartment.
We don't get the scale wet, or wash it under water etc, so the only way I think water is getting on the terminals is steam rising up through the drip tray of the espresso machine and getting through the rubber seals.
I'm waiting to hear back on the distributors feedback on the issue.
Oh, so I bit the bullet and bought a Lunar .