With this first post on calibration, we introduce our technical series, "acaia University." The specialty coffee industry is constantly improving in science research and using science (instead of art) to improve on the end product. Scales, though often assumed to be a very important part of the brew and espresso process, are often overlooked in quality.
This blog post series will summarize our research into scale technology and explain terms that will help you become more knowledgable about the tools you use.
Why is calibration important?
Calibration is important because it enables communication between collaborators - and with your future self.
It's possible to make good coffee with volumetric measurement, or even a scale that has gone out of calibration, thanks to the fact that coffee brewing is based around ratios. It's possible to make incredible coffee with even rudimentary tools. However, when it comes time to explain to someone else how to reproduce that exceptional coffee, having instruments that produce the same accurate measurements makes it much more likely that you'll be successful.
This doesn't just apply to telling another person how to reproduce the great cup of Yirgacheffe you just brewed. It also goes for you, in the future. If you've found a way to brew a coffee that you love, you'll want to be able to reproduce it a month later, no matter where you are and what equipment you end up using.
This is why we place such an emphasis on frequent calibration, and why it's so easy to calibrate the Pearl. All you need is a 500g calibration mass and a few minutes. Touch the T button repeatedly until the display reads "CAL 500", then place the mass on the scale. Performing this procedure any time you change work surfaces or location, or every few days if you always brew coffee in the same place, will help ensure that your delicious brews are reproducible.
To learn more about which calibration weights to use, visit our guide.