Sunday, July 21, 2013
Bonavita Scale, Stand and Brewer
For folks immersed in the coffee industry, it's a well-accepted fact that the best way to measure out appropriate amount of coffee grounds is through weight, not volume. Long gone is the trust in the coffee scoop and all stock has been invested into accurate digital scales.
Fortunately the great folks at Seattle Coffee Gear offer a Bonavita pourover brewing solution fit for a barista. Not only does it include a gorgeous water resistant digital scale able to weigh out 12.5 lbs and be accurate to a 0.01 of a gram, but the included brewing stand and brewer also fit perfectly atop the scale for easy simultaneous use.
Below is a video they released regarding the equipment:
Being fortunate enough to get my hands on a such an apparatus thanks to Seattle Coffee Gear, I was able to try it out in the course of my coffee routine.
Regarding correct function of the scale (what good is it if it wasn't calibrated?), I did a quick check of the scale using fixed weights to ensure it was fully operational and accurate. I did find the scale to be consistently short by about 0.2 grams, but given the consistent nature of the offset, I wasn't worried about the -0.2 g (it was also interesting to note that the tolerance of +/- 0.01g seemed intact, though not fully verifiable since the scale only goes into tenths (0.1 g)).
Moving on to use of the digital scale in the realm of brewing, it proved accurate in all of my coffee measurements (ounces, grams and pounds), with the scale having just the right amount of sensitivity (aka not so sensitive that air caused fluctuations but sensitive enough that it adjusted based on small adjustments of grinds/water added). As expected, the zero/tare button proved invaluable in using the scale during brewing as it allowed real-time measurement of the coffee weight during the infusion. Also, the utilization of a built-in timer for infusions like french press was a handy feature. And although I did not dunk the scale to determine its level of water resistance (it's not a cheap scale), the scale did not seem to be worse for wear after some moisture exposure. Overall, I only have praise for the scale.
Regarding the stand and the brewer, I found them to be a solid addition to the scale. Initially my main concern was stability, as the porcelain brewer seemed a bit heavy to put atop the stand without any means of securing it to the adjustable-height O ring (I have children, so safety is huge). But in my trials, I really had no issues with instability. The O ring never budged under any weight and was very easy to adjust during any part of the brewing process. And due to the way the stand sits snugly on the scale, there's little danger of toppling due to top-heaviness, especially when a mug/vessel sits on the stand adding some extra weight (of course it should be noted that it's not space-travel-steady or Sesame-Street-safe, so like any coffee stand use caution and keep it out of reach of children).
Another aspect of the brewer that's worth pointing out is the hole size on the bottom of the brewer. If you're used to a chemex or v60, you would be wise to note that the Bonavita has a much smaller opening, which means that the coffee will naturally drain out a bit slower. I found the slower rate of escape a positive and with a few tweaks in grind size and quantity, the brewer made great coffee.
All in all, I found the Bonavita scale, stand and brewer to be a great combination for home use, not to mention for utilization in the hands of a skilled barista. If you happen to be seeking a digital scale and/or pourover stand, check out Seattle Coffee Gear.
Note: Use of equipment was provided free of charge and that the above review is completely objective.