Acaia Pearl 2021 Coffee Scale
Acaia Coffee App The main app for all Acaia scales is Acaia Coffee. It was planned as not only a data logger and coffee brew diary, but also as an online coffee review community, allowing you to share your “brew […]
Acaia Coffee App
The main app for all Acaia scales is Acaia Coffee. It was planned as not only a data logger and coffee brew diary, but also as an online coffee review community, allowing you to share your “brew prints” (as they call them) with other coffee lovers who use the app and have registered a community account.
When connected to your Acaia scale, it collects brewing data including the coffee bean weight, water weight, the pour time and volume, and displays the scale’s active timers and prompts. You can set up a brewing style for various brewing methods, including when to pause, and how much water volume to pour over a set time.
You can also take pictures of your brews, dictate tasting and coffee notes, put in the coffee’s origin notes, and a lot more information. You can share it all within the built in community. In theory, it’s super feature rich and ambitious.
In practice? To be brutally honest, the Acaia Coffee app has never worked well on Android platforms, and has some very poor reviews in the Google Play Store to back this up. In the last few years, even the iOS reviews are negative. The scale doesn’t seem to connect to apps running on recent flagship smartphones, including the Samsung S21, S22 and S23 series, and Google’s Pixel 7 series.
The app is also horribly out of date in design and ability. It was designed on iOS, and ported over to Android, eschewing all of Android’s native Material Design cues. When you do have it working on a device that can connect to your scale (for instance, I can run connect to the scale using the Acaia Coffee app on a 2016 Google Pixel phone), parts are broken, like exporting your brew prints to images or social media like Instagram.
The Brewmaster App
The Brewmaster App was introduced around the time the Acaia Lunar scale was introduced, giving a more visual, no frills real time readout of flow rates and timings.
The app is a data logger with the ability to add notes, coffee information, and more. It also does the “brew print” view of the pour of your water, like the Acaia Coffee app does. It includes a coffee ratio converter, and it can (according to the iOS description) allow you to share your brewprints with friends, though, like the Acaia Coffee app, this functionality seems broken.
What’s interesting is some of the things promised from the app in the Google Play Store description. Apparently this app was supposed to work with the Sette 270W series grinders. Many don’t know this, but the Sette 270W series have a bluetooth module installed that… doesn’t do anything.
Acaia was also planning on charging, as a paid add on, for a data export feature via .CSV files.
This app also does not connect to the scale on my Pixel 7 Pro phone, but interestingly enough, does connect to the scale on a Huawei P30 Pro (the Acaia Coffee app does not).
Acaia also has a dedicated firmware updating app for their scales. I’ll be honest, based on my experiences with Acaia’s other apps, I’m always deathly afraid to use this app when updating the scales and their firmwares. But it’s worked every time I’ve tried it so far, as long as I run it on a legacy smart phone. It won’t connect to my scales from my current phone (the aforementioned Pixel 7 Pro).
Suggestions to Acaia
So it’s established that the entire app experience with Acaia and their scales is… horrible. I have some suggestions for them (and I should note, I’ve given these suggestions privately in the past directly to Acaia’s owner). There’s three directions Acaia can go.
If the connected app and live recording experience is important to Acaia, they need to retire all their apps and rebuild everything from scratch, using a competent app developer. They also have to build entirely native for Android as well as iOS. I’d even go the extra step to have similar functionally in both platform apps, but give them the “look” of each platform, individually. Android with their Material Design interface, and iOS with… whatever iOS is these days.
My suggestion is start with the Brewmaster app, but rebrand it as “Brewmaster Lite” or similar. Get all the core scale functionality working bulletproof in that app: data logging, brew print, coffee notes, coffee library, ratio calculations, pour rates, a replayable visual view of the pour (via the pour chart), and more. Have different view modes: a live pour mode that displays only pertinent information in the real time brewing, and a overall brew print mode that displays all the information about each brew after the fact.
Build good output tools: a visual image of the brew print, a larger image showing coffee notes, photos taken etc, and a nicely laid out PDF of the entire brew print. Design the ability to output the live brew mode as a .mp4 video file.
Once that’s done, build the Brewmaster Pro app. It would use Brewmaster Lite as its core, but incorporate Acaia’s community features, advanced sharing beyond the stuff found in the lite version, and exportable data logging. Charge money for it. Maintain and update both apps regularly.
Go for the Basics
The second option is, retire all current apps, sunset the community features, and just build a rock solid data logging and brew print app that has quality share features. Have a regular version, and a “pro” version for roasters and such that have exportable data logging information.
Interestingly enough, there is an app out there that actually works with some Acaia scales and is very highly reviewed: the Bean Conqueror App. It would be really smart for Acaia to just hire this fellow to build an entirely new official app for their scales. This could be Acaia’s new “basic”.
The third option is, just give up on the whole connected app thing. Have a basic app for updating firmware that actually works on current smartphones, and call it a day.