One of the benefits of having an amazing sponsor like Prima Coffee is that occasionally they ask us to help them test new products. Even better is when that new product is a piece of equipment we’ve been dying to try since we first heard of it.
We’ve been big fans of Acaia Coffee since their Kickstarter Campaign. We backed Acaia early on, patiently waited for them to work out some bugs, and we’ve been happily using their products ever since. We’ve tested a lot of scales here, but if money were no object, we would recommend Acaia every time.
I only was able to use the Lunar for a single bar shift, so I’ve yet to mess around with the new and improved smartphone app and the plethora of data it can gather. This quick reflection will focus on practical use in a high volume café setting.
The design of the Lunar improves upon the Acaia’s original scale, the Pearl, in two ways. While the Pearl is mostly plastic and feels a bit flimsy, the Lunar has an aluminum body. It’s a solid piece of equipment built to handle the abuse of a busy espresso bar. I honestly think it could survive being thrown through a window. Secondly, the smaller footprint means it’s equally at home on your espresso machine’s drip tray or on your brew bar. If you’re looking for one scale that can do it all, this is it.
Perhaps most importantly, the Lunar is water proof. Even the most fastidious barista occasionally makes mistakes, and equipment is often broken in the process. Many a drip tray scale has been lost to a careless purge of a steam wand or a spilt Americano. Although the Lunar is pricey, we wouldn’t be surprised if café managers find their equipment costs to be lower in the long term.
Every barista has ruined a shot by forgetting to tare a scale. Sure, you could try to memorize the mass of all of your vessels, but with the Lunar’s auto-tare function you’ll simply never make that mistake again. If that weren’t enough, it also has a auto-start function as well. Behold:
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The auto-start timer works in conjunction with the auto-tare or can be set to start once the flow begins. Because I like to know the exact amount of preinfusion, I found the auto-tare start to be more useful than the flow-rate start. Either way, it’s easy to toggle between settings and make your own decision.
Most new espresso machines have shot counters built in, but many baristas continue to rely on stopwatches or kitchen timers to keep track of their brew time. I personally have to switch between both types of espresso machines and in my experience, the kitchen timer method is simply less precise. This is disconcerting considering there’s a big difference between the way a 26 second shot and a 29 second shot tastes. The Lunar makes it much easier for baristas working on machines without shot timers to accurately track their shot times. Built-in shot counters are disabled during barista competitions, so we expect the Lunar will become a standard fixture at futures competition.
At $220.00 the Acaia Lunar is not cheap, but it offers an unparalleled range of features. It’s elegant, functional design and hardy build make it a handsome addition to any coffee bar. Its auto-tare and auto-start features make it indispensable for quality focused shops with espresso machines without shot counters.