Coffee scales are an essential tool in making your brews more consistent. Consistency is about the repeatability of your brews. When you brew two cups of coffee with the exact same parameters (such as ratio, time, method, etc…), do they produce the exact same tasting cups? If they don’t, then trying to adjust your parameters in that state is going to get you no where.
Scales do not directly impact the flavor of your coffee, but they will definitely help you improve the repeatability of your brews. If you have an accurate and easy to use scale, it will be a solid foundation of your way to brewing the perfect cup.
For details of brewing parameters, please also take a look at this post, describing the key parameters controlling your extraction.
In this post I will be reviewing the TIMEMORE Black Mirror scale. I’ve had this scale for about half an year, and would like to share my thoughts on it.
I will cover the look and feel of it, how it is to use, its accuracy stability and performance.
Before we begin, let me point out that TIMEMORE has 2 versions of scales named the Black Mirror. The Black Mirror2 which is a smart scale with dual sensors and bluetooth connection capabilities, and the normal BlackMirror, which is the more typical standalone coffee scale. I will be reviewing the normal version.
The price for the normal version is about 50 USD and for the smart scale its about 215 USD (prices in Japan, converted to USD) so you should consider these scales to be completely different products, even though they look quite alike.
The look and feel
One of the key reasons I chose the Black Mirror was its looks. It has a very clean minimalistic look and I very much like the back light display.
The top of the scale is made of one piece and it has no cuts or joins. The back light display shines through this top piece.
It not only looks great but the single piece top allows for a perfectly flat and wide surface to place what you are trying to measure.
And the single piece also offers protection against some spillage. There are no cracks for the water to seep into, and it is easy to wipe off.
However the scale is not water-proof so you should still be careful. Especially the USB port on the right hand side of the scale is a weak spot in terms of water entering.
The body of the scale is made from a matte finished plastic material. Its not the most premium material, but the texture is quite nice.
As an added bonus, TIMEMORE includes a silicone anti-slide sheet. It does serve its purpose but I personally don’t use it.
The sheet just sort of gets placed on top of the scale so it easily gets dislodged when moving the scale.
And when water dries on the sheet, it tends to be very visible. It looks kind of dirty (even though its just water) and I think it takes away from the otherwise very good look of the scale.
Of course I’m not complaining, TIMEMORE was kind enough to include it, and just gives the users the option to use it or not.
Overall I feel that the scale is very nice to use. It naturally provides the essential function for coffee scales, which are 0.1g granularity of measurements and a timer function. I will skip over the generic features and focus on what makes this scale different.
The touch sensitive buttons
The buttons which completely invisible when the scale is turned off. This give is a very clean look even when its off, but it maybe a little bit confusing to use until you get use to it. But you usually form a routine when using it and putting it away that after a few days, its not difficult to identify where the buttons are.
The sensitivity of the touch sensitive buttons are very high. I rarely had trouble with touches not being registered. Since they are capacitive sensors, there is no need to actually press into them, just lightly touching them will do the trick
Also the scale gives you audible feedback when pressed so its clear when it registered your touch. By the way there is an option to turn this sound off.
If I am being very picky, the buttons sometimes may be too sensitive. I often turn on the scales when trying to put them away. But this is not a big problem because for one I would hear them turn on so I can turn them off. And the scale also has an auto-off feature.
Auto timer start function
The scale has an auto-start function for the timer. When you press the timer button, it starts a count down from 3 and once it gets to 0, it enters a wait for start state. In that state, it starts the timer the moment when there is a change to the weight, for instance when you start pouring water.
One mystery is why TIMEMORE chose to have this 3second countdown. It waits at 0 anyway so the count down seems unnecessary. And if you start pouring during the countdown, the timer will not start from that instant. So effectively you need to wait for the 3 seconds even if you are ready when you press the timer button.
USB TypeC rechargeable battery
The fact that the battery is rechargeable is also very appreciated. On top of that, the typeC connection will ensure good compatibility for years to come.
The battery capacity is not bad, but not amazing. With my use, I need to charge it about once a month.
The tiny complaint with the charging port is that it seems to be a bit loose. It is understandable and probably unavoidable due to the one piece design of the top, but you do need to be careful that the cable is correctly plugged in.
I performed some tests to check its measurement performance.
First I placed a glass on top and tore the scale. I placed a single coffee bean in, but it still read 0.0g.
I placed another bean and it jumped to 0.3g. This does not mean that the first bean was actually 0.0g and the second bean 0.3g, but I suspect that in order to stably show a 0.0g after tearing the scale, it zeros out 0.0g ~ 0.2g to show as 0.0g. I tried a couple of things but I was unable to make the scale display 0.1g or 0.2g.
Just to be clear, I don’t think that the scale is incapable of measuring 0.1g, it can definitely do that.
Next I did some tests to see if it can accurately measure when the object is placed on different parts of the scale top. I put a glass at the center of the scale and weighed out 1.0g of beans.
Then I moved the glass to the 4 corners of the scale. Sorry I did not take a picture of it at the near right side, since it covered the display.
The results show that anywhere on the scale it had an accuracy in the range of 0.1g, which I think is quite good.
Lastly I tried to test the responsiveness of the scales. The more responsive the scales, the quicker it is to display the weight from the moment some additional weight is placed on it. If you have a very slow scale, it may be difficult to pour accurately. This is because by the time the scale shows you that it reached the target weight, you would actually have overrun that amount. This quite a key factor that affects the usability of a scale.
However this is a very difficult thing to measure and also to communicate.
One test I tried is to pour water into a glass while looking at the display, and stop pouring the moment I see a display over 100g. I tried this a couple of times and on average I went about 5g over 100g.
To be fair, this test depends on my reflexes and the speed at which I pour so please just take it for what it is.
For the next test, I poured slowly and tried to hit the 100.0g mark as best as possible, but with one pour (not doing fine adjustments at the end with many tiny pours). This involves in some part predicting the timing from the rate at which the number increases.
I also tried this a couple of times, and I was consistently able to get with in a 1g error.
If you are very picky you can definitely notice some lag, but this Black Mirror is much better than the typical kitchen scales I was using before it, and I do not think you will have any issues with its responsiveness.
So I’ve shared my thoughts and experiences about the look and feel, the usability and the performance of the Black Mirror. And I can confidently say that it is a very high quality scale.
Especially given that you can purchase it for about 50USD, I am quite amazed about the value for money TIMEMORE products provide.
If you are looking for a good coffee scale, this may be a strong option!