In the wake of the Christmas coma-inducing materialism, we thought it would be good to break into the New Year with a product review. I’ve noticed that lugging the myriad of coffee apparatuses I own to work raises quite a few eyebrows. Generally my coworkers find it rather customary for brewing until they see my scale. Introduce a scale into your brew ensemble and you might as well have rolled up with Jesse Pinkman and a 500mL round bottom boiling flask. Regardless, if you’re looking for God in a cup, you’ll need a good scale. Home coffee brewers are similar to aspiring home chefs. When you’re in the kitchen, weight wins, as New York Times writer Oliver Strand recently defends in his review of the V60 Drip Scale from Hario (just before the ‘Ristretto’ blog series was discontinued). Admittedly I haven’t used Mr. Strand’s recommendation, but one scale I can fully endorse is the American Weigh SC-2KG Digital Pocket Scale. It’s worthy of the awkward stares and hurled insults. Let he who is without scale cast the first stone.
Dubbed a “pocket scale”, I can attest that the 4.8in by 5.3in size will fit into most pockets, except maybe not my wife’s skinny jeans. But if you’re doing mostly home brewing, you’ll appreciate how this will save counter space. A Chemex easily sits on it, and it fits conveniently on most espresso machine drip trays. Here is how some popular manual brew methods look atop the SC-2kg:
While you should always check out price point on scales nearby to support your local coffee shop, the American Weigh SC-2kg is ridiculously cheap on amazon.com. It’s hard to beat the Amazon price tag of just under $19.00 USD. However, if it is in your means, forking out the extra cash to acquire it locally is definitely endorsed. The adapter version, the SC-2kgA, is nearly double the cost, but it may entice those of you who hate running out of batteries (note: the screen displays “Lo” when it’s running out of juice).
Jesse Harriott, guest blogger for the Coffee Compass, roaster, 2012 competition coordinator at Coffee Fest Seattle for the Americas Best Coffee House Competition, and shop operations manager at Sunergos Coffee in Louisville, KY had this to say about the SC-2kgA in the latest edition of Barista Magazine:
The AWS SC-2KGA is a very versatile scale that we use every day in our shops. Whether we’re brewing a Chemex for fiends to share, weighing coffee doses in a portafilter, brewing by the cup, or checking espresso yields, this scale does it all. It has a 2,000-gram capacity in one tenth of a gram or one thousandth of an ounce readability, never turns off while brewing, tares efficiently, responds quickly to weight change has a small footprint (4 inches by 4 inches), comes with an AC adapter, or takes two AAA batteries (no more button cell battery hunts). It’s also very affordable. I only wish it were waterproof.
Well said, sir.
The scale weighs your weighables to a tenth of a gram and can support up to 2000g. The weight constraint shouldn’t be a problem, even if you’re touting a full 1L brew with a Chemex. However, if you’re to looking to weigh individual coffee beans, you might be disappointed.
As Jesse mentions, it’s not waterproof. I’ve had the scale for several months now and the left most section of the screen (the thousandth digit of the grams) started blanking out. However, the number is still discernable and local shops using these scales under heavy use haven’t experienced this same issue. While it may not be the norm, it’s something to consider if you plan on brewing inverted aeropresses at 20,000 ft.
The scale is quick, but not quickest. I’ve been more impressed with the Jennings CJ4000 in this category, but you’re also getting to a tenth of gram accuracy. It’s impressive for a pocket scale, but we still consistently over shoot our brews by 1-2 grams if we’re not careful.
Let us know your thoughts on the SC-2kg or if you have a favorite scale you couldn’t brew without!