A digital scale, in theory at least, can help measure out your grind, and then weigh your output while on your espresso machine when the shot is being pulled.
Acaia Lunar has long been the gold standard and favorite among home baristas. At $250 USD, I was on the lookout for something more budget friendly. I saw several mentions of TIMEMORE on Reddit and various espresso sites. So I finally decided to try it out. This particular model is the TIMEMORE 2022 New Version Digital Espresso Scale (aka “Basic +”). After coupon it comes out to a reasonable $56 USD. Fair enough.
Like a lot of scales in this price range you get a decent feature list, including:
- Accurate to 0.1 gram (important for espresso)
- Backlit LCD
- Taper function
- Auto-timer (to time your espresso shot)
- USB-C port with built-in rechargeable battery (1600 mAh)
- Waterproof surface (but don’t get water on the ports or power button!)
Also included in the package is a insulated silicone waterproof pad. You can place that on top of the scale to add some stability and protect from heat.
Regarding the design, I like what I see. The TIMEMORE is fairly generic looking, simply a square black box. The digital readouts are clear and easy to read in a simple white font. There’s a power button switch on the right side, and on top a power/tare button on the right and timer button on the left. All told, it’s a simple, but clean look. I like that it’s monochromatic with no garish color accents to be found. It looks like a scale and it works like a scale!
One thing to consider is the scale’s height. Not just for this particular model, but any scale you’re considering buying.
In the case of the TIMEMORE the height is about 1″. So you’ll need to be sure it can fit on your espresso machine under the portafilter and have enough clearance to fit your favorite glassware or mug. In my case with an old heat exchanger I have quite a bit of clearance at 5″. So with the scale I lose 1″ and end up with 4″ of total clearance; that’s with a dual spout, not a bottomless. I was pretty good for headroom. But even with a small 6 ounce cappuccino cup it could be a little tight, but still workable.
TESTING: How Does the TIMEMORE Espresso Scale Perform?
Regarding performance I found the TIMEMORE easy to use. At first it can be tricky to remember if you need to tap the left or right button on top, but you quickly learn and from there it’s simply a matter of muscle memory and workflow is pretty fast.
Basically to pull an espresso shot I use the scale two times.
The first while measuring out 18 grams using my Rancilio Rocky grinder.
And them secondly I move it over to my Pasquini/Bezzera espresso machine and use it to time and measure out my shot.
The tare function worked as expected. I could put my portafilter on the scale, tap the tare button and zero it out, before then adding my grind up to 18 grams.
For the auto-timer, or shot timer, you simply make sure the function is enabled — tap the left button 5 times before you hear a beep and see the A icon lit up. With the scale in place, tare your espresso glass then tap the left button. A short countdown happens (3, 2, 1, …). Now when the TIMEMORE detects a change in weight as the shot starts pouring, a timer appears, enabling you to try to hit the 25-30 second sweet spot for the perfect shot.
IN PHOTOS: TIMEMORE Digital Espresso and Coffee Scale (2022 Version)
Time for a test. Here’s a look at a simple espresso workflow using the TIMEMORE scale.
This is my portafilter weighing in at 536.9 grams:
Tap the button on the top right to tare. Now you can see the net weight is zero.
Measuring out my grind, coming in at 18.6 grams:
Now move the scale over to the espresso machine. Add your favorite mug. Then tare again, and zero out:
You can see the auto timer on the left reading out 32 seconds with output at 90 grams:
And the above is basically the final shot of the workflow.
In this case I have a crazy long extraction at 90.8 grams. However, I’m already grinding fine. It seems the scale wildly fluctuates while brewing, possibly from the pressure of the espresso stream? In any case after I move it off the machine when the shot is done, it settles down and I get an accurate reading of about 39 grams. I do wish the TIMEMORE was more stable in this respect and not so sensitive to while on the espresso machine during brewing.
Does the TIMEMORE Help Make Better Espresso?
Why, yes, definitely, the TIMEMORE scale will help you make better espresso. Or any scale for that matter. Of course you could always use an existing food scale you have lying around the kitchen (so long as it has 0.1 gram accuracy) and pair that with the stopwatch on your iPhone or Android. That’ll work too. It’s just that having everything all integrated into one unit is incredibly helpful and convenient.
A scale and timer is essential when you try a new type of espresso bean, or you get a new piece of gear like a new grinder or even espresso machine. At that point you’ll want to “dial in” your workflow.
Typically, you’ll want to grind 18 grams for your shots. Although, some of us prefer a slightly deeper basket and opt for 20 grams. It’s personal preference. The key is that you’ll want to aim for that classic 1:2 brew ration, meaning if you’re putting in 18 grams into the portafilter basket you’ll want 36 grams on the output after the shot is finished pouring. 18 grams in to 36 grams out, hence 1:2 ratio.
ALSO SEE: Can a Puck Screen help you make a better shot of espresso?
Once you’ve dialed in your workflow you can choose to use the scale and timer every single time, or, if you’re like me, you just use it when there’s major changes. I use it a few times to get accustomed to what 18-20 grams looks like in the filter basket, and then what it looks like in terms of output. From there, I just use intuition to get my shots, and I get them about 90% of the time. Everyone has a bad shot here and there!
Net-net: a scale is another tool for espresso hobbyists. But that doesn’t mean you need to use it all the time. Look at baristas in Italian cafes… do they use a scale, WDT, and various gadgets? Or are they artists that enjoy the pure expression and skill of the craft? There’s nothing wrong with either method, it’s all a matter of (ahem) taste.
Price and Value vs Acaia Lunar
I’m sure the truly committed with ample budget will splurge for the Acaia Lunar.
For those starting out, though, I wonder if that’s truly necessary. After all, the Acaia is over half the price of a brand new Gaggia Classic Pro!
It’s all relative of course.
If you’re invested into the high end Rockets, Decents or La Marzoccos of the world then a premium scale might make sense for your setup. For just about anyone else I’d point them to TIMEMORE or any number of the other well priced scales you’ll find on Amazon — and you’ll find a lot of them!
Conclusion: TIMEMORE Digital Espresso Scale
I do recommend the TIMEMORE espresso scale. Just watch out though for the sensitivity while it’s sitting on the machine itself. It’s a blessing and curse. Yes, it’s nice that it is so sensitive and accurate. The downside is that it can make for some wild swings in weight while something nearby is causing pressure and disturbance, i.e. when you’re pulling a shot.
TIMEMORE Digital Espresso Coffee Scale with Auto Timer (2022 Version)
Retail: $59.00 USD
- Solid build quality
- Elegant black box design
- Intuitive touch controls
- Easy to read displays for timer and weight
- Auto-timer is hand for timing shots when output is detected
- USB-C for charging
- Can be overly sensitive at times resulting in huge swings in weight until things settle down
- 1″ height may cause portafilter clearance issues for some