The market has been dominated by giants the likes of Felicita and Acacia, but do we really have to have a Pearl or an Arc in our kitchens in order to access the world of precision brewing? The answer should be quite obvious, no - you don’t. And Timemore Black Mirror is making that question much easier to answer.
Why do we need precision coffee scales?
Firstly, need is a strong word. Though, If you do want to buy beans from roasters other than off the supermarket shelf and be able to taste what they had intended their audience to pick up on, it would help to have control in the brew method used to achieve the tasting notes. It is no secret that a degree of methodology in brewing your morning coffee, whether through a percolation method or an immersion method, is essential. The extraction of coffee is entirely a chemistry experiment and no Chemist worth their salt would perform any reaction without precision.
"Can I just use my kitchen scales?"
Yes and no.
It depends on your brew method, if you have a percolator or French press then your only concern is the grind weight (dose) and volume of brewing water; these methods don't require such accuracy. Your end brew is much more affected by your handling of the brewing process rather than precise ratios and timing. Precision is not as important as when you pull a shot of espresso or brew a drip V60, and if the latter are your methods of choice, then precision scales are, I would say, a requirement because your end product is largely affected by precise timing and ratios.
Spending over £160 for a set of precision scales is a commitment, but there are alternatives.
For anybody entering the world of espresso or drip coffee, I stress you don’t need to spend £160 on a Pearl or £240 on an Acacia Lunar. This is where the Timemore Black Mirror enters stage left into a bright spotlight.
Features - 4/5
The Timemore Black Mirror offers everything you need without front-loading features you don't;
- Fast refresh rate with a 0.1g increment and 2kg max load (
- An optional auto-timing feature
- 10 hours battery life, Li-ion rechargeable battery
- Auto-off feature, 3 minutes in normal mode, 15 minutes in timer mode.
- A USB-C charging cable
- Sleek design and included silicone heat mat
- 1 year manufacturer warranty
- Reasonable footprint to fit anything from V60 to chemex at 13 x 15 x 3 cm
Timing - 4.5/5
The timing feature is intuitive, a long-press of the timer button resets the time, a short press begins the timing. To enter auto-timing mode, you must press the timer eight times and Black Mirror will remember this mode should you switch the scale off; you don't need to keep entering this mode. In auto-timing mode, a short press of the timer gives a 3-second countdown, after which the scale auto tares and any weight above 0.5g from here will start the timer. When Black Mirror senses no additional weight after a short period, the timer stops to show the total brew time.
Cleaning - 5/5
Sporting an included silicone mat makes it easier to clean between brewing. Or stow it away and keep the simple design. The acrylic used on the weighing surface is textured for easy cleaning anyway. No sore sights of glossy plastic, just waiting to be scratched at the faintest touch. Not here.
Usability - 4.5/5
The display is extremely legible even on the brightest day - something left to be desired on a lot of LCD coffee scales, even at this price point and above! (Yes, I'm looking at you Hario!)
The buttons are slightly sensitive, but they won't be accidentally pressed - there are only two buttons on each corner. Each press gives a satisfying audible beep, which importantly is mutable should you require a quiet experience.
Closing remarks and recommendation
And yes, there are small cons with it; maybe it could have a smaller footprint, maybe the way you access the auto timing feature is a bit weird, but you’re paying a third the price. Would I say you’re getting a third the product? Absolutely not, the Black Mirror is 90% what the Acacia and Felicita competitors are, but you have an extra £100 in your pocket and that is not insignificant to ignore.
We offer the Black Mirror for £55 with Free Shipping, Sigma Coffee UK are an independent stockist of the brand Timemore. We work closely with the manufacturer and import their products into the UK and are currently one of the only online stores in the UK with these in stock. Dispatching 6 days a week before 12pm, the majority of our customers receive their goods within two days of their order. Check out our Trustpilot reviews.