Kickstarter Highlight: Acaia, the Minimalist Coffee Brewing Scale Is the Max
If you’re as into coffee gadgets as we are, you’ve probably already heard about Acaia (pronounced uh-KIGH-uh), a stylish, highly functional gram scale designed specifically for brewing great coffee. Inventor and coffee aficionado Aaron Takao Fujiki calls Acaia a “minimalist coffee brewing scale with brilliant functionality,” which is just about the perfect description of this Kickstarter-funded project.
Sleek Design, Intelligent Functionality
Acaia is more than just a pretty face – though it very definitely is that. It’s a precision scale that features all the functions that your favorite neighborhood coffee geek could want. Those features include:
- Smart Auto-Off: because there’s nothing more annoying than having your scale shut off while you’re brewing. Not only does the Acaia have a long five-minute auto-off feature, it also automatically disables the auto-off if there’s something on the scale.
- 0.1g Accuracy: because those few grains of coffee can make a difference when you’re brewing small amounts of coffee.
- Built-in Stopwatch: with dual-function display so you can time your brew and bloom at the same time you’re weighing your brew.
- Touch-sensitive Buttons: in a fully sealed surface so that coffee grounds and water won’t get in under the buttons. And Fujiki has really put thought into this – a stray drop of water isn’t enough pressure to trigger the buttons. They won’t push unless you push them.
- 6”x6” Surface: to accommodate most brewing equipment, including presses, coffee drippers and the standard Chemex brewer.
- Silicone Cushion Bottom: instead of little feet that fall off or wear unevenly, resulting in inaccurate weights, Acaia has a flat silicone cushion bottom to keep it flat and steady on the counter.
- Heat insulation pad: so you can brew your pourover coffee without worrying about the heat throwing off the weight or damaging your scale
- Rechargeable Lithium Ion Battery: with USB battery charger because that’s the way it ought to be, right?
- Industrial grade micro-controller chip: the powerful MCU allows for functions that aren’t possible on standard kitchen scales. There’s also 64k flash memory to allow for more complex functions – and an open source API for the accompanying app to encourage users to come up with good uses for all that power.
Speaking of the Acaia App
And then, there’s the app, which connects with the coffee scale via Bluetooth. Current features include a coffee brewing monitor and timer so you can check your brew while doing other things, and a brewing and blooming timer to help you keep track of the brew time. Planned additions include a coffee bean note so you can track taste, aroma, process and other specifics about your own coffee library, and a coffee brewing note to record and save your coffee recipes to repeat or share with friends.
Acaia is sleek and stylish in that shiny, rounded corners way that Apple has made famous. It’s currently available in a small handful of colors, including Pure White, Space Black and Sparkle Gold – available only to Kickstarter backers – and Classic White, the production model.
Interview with the Acaia Founder
We were able to grab some email interview time with Fujiki in the midst of his Kickstarter project. His dedication to creating great coffee at home is an inspiration to professionals and enthusiasts alike.
1. Most people in the specialty coffee industry have an "a-ha" moment when they realize that coffee can be more than instant coffee or taste better than Dunkin. Describe the time you started getting more into specialty coffee.
Just [a] few years ago, I was still drinking coffee with lots of sugar and milk. I knew nothing about specialty coffee until my friends who were into pour over coffee [got] me started, I didn’t expect coffee to have such delicate and natural taste of sweet and sour, or the fruity and flowery aroma, and I also realised there are varieties of coffee and different brewing methods, that coffee is enjoyable in many different ways.
2. The Acaia is a very minimalist, design-forward scale. What were your design inspirations?
I always loved design, I grew up [and] wanted to become an artist. In recent years, I have been in several design project and producing high-end mobile accessories. Seeing all these great products and great design in these products, I felt I could make a change for the coffee community.
3. The app that goes along with the Acaia is perfect for the current tech trends. What made you decide to add on an app when the scale can function on its own?
As a mobile heavy user, I often think what we can utilize to make our product better. The scale must be able to function on its own, but if I can make an APP that can help coffee lovers make a great taste consistently and share it with friends; I think it would be really cool.
4. You seem to be a pretty big coffee geek. What fascinates you the most about the specialty coffee industry?
There are so many talented people and so much passion in this industry, I have never felt so excited hearing from coffee lovers all over the world. I also want to express my gratitude to all KS backers who support me!
5. What was the biggest hurdle to overcome when designing and planning Acaia?
Making a product that combines hardware and software is the biggest challenge for us. It might seem rather straight forward, but the truth is, there are so many experts and knowledge behind each industry that needed to [be] put together. Some decisions are hard to make to compromise among cost / design / functions / usability.
As of this writing, Acaia is 11 days and $5,269 from its funding goal of $30,000, with delivery of their first Early Bird limited run expected in January and their first production run in February – a whole lot closer than many other coffee-centric Kickstarters we’ve seen come and go over the years. Learn more about Acaia at their Kickstarter page, where Fujiki is remarkably responsive to questions from fans and backers.