Let me tell you a secret: I’ve been a barista for many years, and the biggest boost to my brewing confidence happened when I traded in my kitchen scale for a dedicated coffee scale.
Back then, I didn’t care about newfangled features like Bluetooth or flow rate tracking. What truly mattered to me was a scale with a responsive display, a built-in timer, and the capability to detect even the slightest weight changes of a single coffee bean.
And if I were to do it again, I would probably go for the Timemore Black Mirror Scale.
- The Timemore Black Mirror Scale earns praise for its straightforward functionality and reliable performance, focused on providing precise measurements with a minimalist design.
- It’s designed primarily for manual brewing vmethods like pour-over and French press and has an auto-timer mode for this purpose.
- While the scale is well-regarded for its robust build and easy-to-use interface, it has its limitations, such as the lack of ounce measurements and potential additional costs for calibration weights.
Things To Consider Before Buying The Timemore Black Mirror Scale
You all know how the saying goes: Different strokes for different folks. And this scale is, well, no different. Do note that our considerations apply to the ‘Basic Plus’ version of the scale, and may not be true for the ‘2.0’ and ‘Pro’ models. Check these out before you buy!
Will You Need Ounce Measurements?
Kitchen and food scales frequently have multiple units of measure you can cycle through. Some coffee scales are a bit of a different breed because most brew recipes out there assume that you will be using grams and grams alone.
While some coffee scales still offer the ability to switch from grams to ounces, the Timemore Black Mirror Scale isn’t one of them.
Do You Make Espresso?
Some scales are made with manual brewing methods in mind, while some excel for espresso-making. There are a few that straddle the line, like the Black Mirror.
This scale’s form factor makes it best for brewing pour-overs and French press coffee. It’s small enough to sit on the drip tray of some commercial espresso machines, but may not be the best fit for home models. Also, flipping the silicone mat gives you a usable platform for weighing coffee grinds on your portafilter.
Are Smart Features Important?
Some high-end coffee scales have features like flow rate tracking, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi syncing, and apps that can mirror your scale’s display on your phone. Others will have a few hands-free features, such as auto-taring and auto-timer modes.
Think of the Timemore Black Mirror scale as a straightforward model that just happens to have a single auto-timer mode as a bonus.
A Quick Look At the Timemore Black Mirror Scale
The Black Mirror Basic Plus is a compact brewing scale that features the same, sleek “blacked out” aesthetic of other Timemore products. Despite the name, you can also get a white version if you’re willing to pay a bit more.
The scale rocks a back-lit display that shows the brew timer and the weight readout in grams. It’s a very clear and legible display, with the bright white LED indicators providing sharp contrast against the stealthy matte textured plastic surface of the unit.
Now on to controls. The display is flanked by two touch-sensitive buttons. The left one controls the timer and the one on the right zeroes out or tares the scale.
Over to the right side, you’ll find a third switch: this time, a physical one for turning the scale on or off. This thoughtful addition allows you to quickly reset the scale with a swift toggle and turn it off completely to save power.
Speaking of power, this scale comes with a built-in Lithium-ion battery that charges with the included USB Type C cable, though you’ll have to provide your own USB-A plug. And rounding out the package is an anti-slip heat-resistant silicone mat, that I recommend you keep on your scale at all times.
Features and Benefits
The photos don’t do this sleek scale justice, so before we talk more about the scale in detail, here’s a video of the Black Mirror in action!
Solid Build Quality
Yes, it’s made of plastic. But don’t let the material fool you — Timemore uses a hard-wearing matte-finish acrylic that does a great job of preventing (or hiding) scuffs and fingerprints. The bottom has four chunky rubber feet that keep this hefty unit from sliding all over your countertop.
The top shell is constructed as a single piece protecting the electronics inside. While it’s not rated as waterproof, this gives me some confidence that it’ll survive the occasional spill.
Precise and Responsive Weighing
The scale measures up to 2000 grams and is accurate to a tenth of a gram (0.1g). The minimum trigger weight, or the minimum weight that will trigger the display, is 0.5 grams. Not bad!
All these numbers don’t matter if your scale is laggy, and thankfully the Black Mirror isn’t one of those. The display updates the weight reading quite fast. You can put the scale’s 0.1g resolution through its paces and stop precisely where you want to.
It’s not THE quickest scale we’ve tried (that honor goes to the Acaia Pearl and Lunar), but it’s more than good enough for both commercial and competitive use. Which means it’s just near-perfect for the home brewer.
I visit a lot of specialty coffee bars. While the fancier ones are kitted out with pricey Acaias, I see quite a few Black Mirrors out there as well. And here’s why I think that is:
- Battery life is great. It’s rated at 10 hours, but in practical use, you can go days (or even weeks) without charging.
- The physical on-off switch can act as a reset button that will quickly reboot the scale, should the display be unresponsive due to an unstable surface
- There’s an auto-off feature with a generous fifteen minutes before shutting off, as long as no weight changes are detected within that period
- Audible beeps indicate successful button presses and mode changes, and the scale can be muted by holding down the timer button for five seconds
- An auto-timer mode that works great for pour-overs and other manual brewing methods (accessed by quickly hitting the timer button five times)
Additional Notes and Points for Improvement
I really like this scale. It’s not the most feature-rich, and I’ve actually had one die on me (more on that later). But it’s got great ergonomics and is easy to use with confidence. That said, here are some more observations and minor niggles that I haven’t covered above:
- The weight readout is affected when you press down anywhere on the scale, which unfortunately includes the timer button. However, it does bounce back to the original reading sans finger.
- No way to switch units means you’re stuck with grams. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because most serious brew recipes use the metric system, but an ounce readout would’ve been nice.
- Do not use a quick charge cable and plug for the scale! I certainly learned this one too late. It MAY work at first, but it will damage your battery or the scale itself over time. Stick to USB Type A plugs rated at 5V/1A or 2A at the most.
- The scale needs a set of weights to recalibrate, none of which are included in the package. A quick peek at Amazon shows that the weights required cost almost as much as the scale itself!
These are all I’ve encountered, but I’ve heard of users with other issues that are related to quality control. As always, check your warranty options, and test your scale thoroughly so you can have it replaced in case of a faulty unit.
Here’s a full list of specifications from the manual. One thing worth noting is the larger operating temperature range when the silicone pad is used. In my experience, keeping it on is a must to prevent the scale readout from ‘drifting’ when the server or mug gets too hot.
|5.98 x 5.11 x 1.02 inches (130 x 152 x 26mm)
|0.5g to 2000g
|14°F to 131°F (-10°C to 55°C)
|14°F to 140°F (-10°C to 60°C)
|Operating Temperature with Silicone Pad
|-4°F to 212°F (-20°C to 100°C)
|Built-in 1600mAh Lithium Ion Rechargeable Battery (3.7V)
|5V DC / 1A via USB Type C
Alternatives and Wrap-Up
The Timemore Black Mirror is a no-frills model that excels at the basic functions expected of a coffee scale. It has great ergonomics, and for fans of sleek and minimalist aesthetics, it’s quite the looker too.
That said, it’s not the best scale for espresso especially if you’re using a home machine. If you like the Black Mirror’s style, you might want to spring for its more compact cousin, the Timemore Black Mirror Nano.
For a scale with all the latest tech, look no further than the Acaia Pearl. This top-of-the-line model is the most responsive we’ve ever used. It has loads of smart features, many of which can be accessed via apps on your smartphone.
But if you don’t care for high-end fanciness, and all you want for your manual brewing is something dependable and fast, it’s hard to recommend a better midrange model than the Black Mirror Basic Plus. It’s a Honda Civic in coffee scale form — it will confidently get the job done and will look good doing it. 4.4/5.
Timemore Black Mirror Scale Review: No-Frills Precision
Dive into precision brewing with the Timemore Black Mirror Scale. Discover the details in our comprehensive review – a coffee enthusiast’s guide.