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$400 COFFEE Scale!? Brew by Weight - Acaia Lunar x La Marzocco Review




This is the La Marzocco Linea Mini compatible Acaia Lunar. A $400 version of the exact same scale with Brew by Weight functionality only possible on the newer model Linea Minis.


I’m going to share with you my thoughts on the scale, who it's for, and if it's worth it.


This scale was sent to me by La Marzocco under no obligations whatsoever, I’m not being paid for this review, and all thoughts and opinions remain my own.


 

BUILD


So first, the build. This scale is identical to the existing Acaia Lunar. That means it looks the same, has the same dimensions, and is built with the same high quality metal housing.


My own Acaia Lunar has held up well for several years now, and I very very rarely have to charge it up.


The only real differentiator here on the exterior that shows it’s the La Marzocco edition is the little laser engraved logo on the side. Even the unboxing experience felt largely like just a regular Acaia Lunar.


 

FUNCTION


Setting this up for the first time was surprisingly simple! I opened up the La Marzocco Home app and turned on the scale and it found it fairly quickly, pairing together the machine and scale.


From there I’ve been able to set 2 separate desired outputs. Using my standard 18g dose, I set my first output to 36g for a 1:2 ratio and the second output at 54g for a 1:3 ratio.


You can select which dose you want it to use through the app.


From there, you use the scale and brew like normal. You place a cup on the scale and start the brew with the paddle on the Linea Mini, which by the way if you’re unaware does not act as a flow control paddle, it’s literally an on/off switch.


Once it starts, the scale auto-tares and starts the timer, and the shot is automatically stopped just before the desired output based on the flow rate to aim to get you fairly close to the programmed dosage out.


The paddle does remain in the on position with the lights under the group turned on, but switching it back to the off position resets this.


 

PERFORMANCE


Now, getting into the performance itself. This has been a really impressive feature and oddly convenient. The doses have always been fairly accurate, I’d say more often than not within a gram.


Brewing shots back to back seems to not be a problem with repeatable consistent shots. In that brew time I’m able to walk away with my milk pitcher over to the kitchen, fill my pitcher with milk, and return to find a shot completed within a gram of my desired output.


And that’s essentially all this brew by weight version of the Lunar does. And while very impressive, very accurate, and very convenient - it is also very expensive.


But, this scale did not come without some major blowback, so let’s talk about that.


 

BLOWBACK / CONTROVERSY


As I mentioned earlier while this scale was sent to me alongside the new Linea Mini I won via Raffle, I am holding nothing back here when it comes to reviews.


The Acaia Lunar has always been a scale primarily intended for use within a commercial environment. Yes, it is extremely expensive, but commercial equipment generally is. And the Acaia is practically an industry standard from what I’ve seen with its high build quality, accuracy, and speed for high volume workflows.


While the Mini is rated to brew comfortably in a commercial environment, it is first and foremost a machine designed for the home. That’s why it's under the LaMarzocco Home website and social pages.


The introduction of the Acaia Lunar with Brew by Weight saw a short form intro video set in a home environment, counterintuitive to the “scale designed for a commercial environment” tagline under the Lunar on the Acaia website.


And immediately La Marzocco and Acaia were hit by a storm of comments in what I agree is a very anti-consumer move.


Not only do you need to purchase a separate scale rather than receive a simple firmware update for what’s supposed to be a smart, connected scale already with an app ecosystem, but the new scale is 60% more expensive for this added feature. Let’s call it the LaMarzocco tax for the sake of this video.


Comments have been calling out both companies on a few main problems I’ve summarized as


A) It appears to be a firmware update and not something physically built into the scale, so why is it not available as an update for existing Lunar owners?


B) Why is this feature only available for the Mini? Why wouldn’t this be made available for the also wifi connected Micra?


C) Why is this scale $400? Is it literally just a La Marzocco Tax?


Now I can’t really tell you why they made the decisions they did. A comment from Acaia seems to point to the direction that this was largely a decision by La Marzocco.


Going back to my earlier point about the Lunar being a largely commercial oriented scale and the Mini being a home machine, and the launch video of this scale set in a home environment. Yet despite that, a comment from La Marzocco attempting to address the blowback states “over the years we have seen it (the Mini) used more and more as a professional-grade option in commercial and service-oriented situations such as pop-up cafes and small coffee shops. We see the brew by weight scale as a way of enhancing this versatility…”


So, the launch video, showcasing this scale in a home-environment, is now being justified as a great option for a commercial environment?


That's a little odd, and a bit of a poor justification in my opinion.


And finally, let’s talk about the price.


I think it’s fair to say that, if you can afford to purchase a 6-7 thousand dollar espresso machine, you can probably afford this $400 scale. But that alone shouldn’t be justification for the exorbitantly more expensive price.


Personally, I think similar to the Lunar, this should always have been portrayed as a commercial option and let it sort of trickle its way down into the upper echelon of home brewing enthusiasts with the disposable income to spare. Basically what the regular Lunar is now to home brewers.


But controversies aside then, who is this scale for?


 

WHO IS IT FOR?


Almost like the La Marzocco machines themselves, it’s a product aimed at the very upper end of spenders or commercial use. $400 can get you a really solid coffee grinder or even an espresso machine itself. It’s a huge premium to pay for effectively one feature, especially in a home environment.


And while I don’t have the day to day commercial or pop up brewing experience, I can see this scale's value in being able to prepare drinks back to back without needing to keep an eye on the output, knowing you’re going to get the same dose every time.


I did speak to a friend who has been using this in a commercial environment with his Mini and he thinks it's a massive feature that has really changed his workflow in that type of environment.


The La Marzocco tax on this scale is a bummer with that extra $150 markup, but you can’t deny how helpful it would be in a commercial environment, especially with the gravimetric measurement as opposed to something like the volumetric measurement on the GS3 AV.


For home, it just makes no sense unless you’re frequently serving a small crowd.


So - that’s going to be my take on the brew by weight La Marzocco edition Acaia Lunar.



 

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