Varia's Versatile Scale and Grinder: Unlocking Flavor Potential

Updated Nov 26, 2023 • Scott Buffon

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If you’re just now hearing about Varia, a Hong Kong-based company, then you’re probably wondering how their scale and coffee grinder compares to what you want in your kitchen. 

Varia’s ability to create eye-catching designs with common sense usability makes their scales and grinders perfect for coffee aficionados. Even better, Varia has worked hard to make their VS3 Grinder and AKU Scale cheaper and more affordable than high-end brands. As something to note, their models can be found cheaper third-party than on the Varia shop.

If you’re looking for a sleek grinder, the approximately $120 Varia VS3 Grinder would make a stylish addition to your kitchen counter at an affordable price tag, although it does have room for improvement.

Most consumers don’t want to buy multiple scales. So if you’re considering the $100 Varia AKU Scale, you’ll be happy to know that its smart functions get the job done without fuss. And its design slightly outdoes other common brands. 

Keep reading to learn more about both scale and grinder, how to incorporate them into your morning routine, and what people are saying about it. 

The Varia AKU Scale: Perfecting Your Coffee Ratios

There aren’t many different ways to weigh coffee, but Varia’s brewing scale is both versatile and reliable with a clean, minimal design.

Varia Scale weighing out coffee beans.
Varia AKU Scale

Features of the Varia AKU Scale

Color Choices: If you’re searching for a replacement or new scale, Varia’s AKU Scale comes in black, white, and silver.
Controls:
 A bright LED screen and customizable modes.
Timer:
 Smart built in timer.
Sensitivity:
0.1g weight sensitivity
Thoughtful Design:
Its small frame will fit under your espresso machine and rubber feet won’t scratch your stainless steel tray.
Water Resistant:
 AKU is IPX5 water resistant and is protected against low pressure water stream from any angle. In simple terms, it can tolerate liquids being poured over it on a daily basis.

3 Colors of Varia AKU Scale on a table
3 Colors of Varia AKU Scale on a table

The scale’s different settings include an espresso mode and full manual mode for different brewing options such as the delicate V60 method.

Brewing Consistency

Homebrewers that integrate scales into their morning routine are striving for consistent flavors from their coffee and espresso pulls. 

Rather than measuring by volume, measuring the weight of your coffee grounds before mixing them with water is the most accurate way to judge your coffee flavors. Also considering the length of time for your espresso pull or brew-time is easy to do with the AKU Scale because of its espresso mode’s built-in timer.

This scale also has the auto-tare function, meaning it will account for and subtract the weight of your coffee cup from your yield’s total weight. Who needs to do mental math in the morning anyway?

Brewing Techniques

One of the wonderful things about coffee brewing compared to teas and other morning drinks is how many ways there are to brew a coffee bean.

Scales like the AKU can support all types of brews by ensuring consistency regardless of brew method. Whether you’re goosenecking kettle water into a pour-over or using a French press to separate your grounds, the manual mode on the AKU will bring the same amount of flavor to every cup. And espresso mode is a simple button press away that includes a timer to protect your cup from a heavy pull.  

Now if you add in the same amount of water heated to the same temperature for your brew, you’ll be set for a consistent coffee recipe that will create the same flavors day after day. 

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The Varia Grinder: Unlocking Flavor Potential

The Varia VS3 Grinder is a marvelous all-metal, burr grinder that has many of the bells and whistles that coffee aficionados expect.

Top down photo of the Varia coffee maker
Varia VS3 Grinder in white

Features of the Varia VS3 Grinder

Quality Materials: CNC Machined Aliuminum
Size:
 Compact size and high quality

Black Varia
Black Varia VS3 grinder


The Hong Kong company says its leaders were first introduced into the world of coffee in New Zealand, and their expertise shows.

Starting at the top of the grinder, the Varia’s VS3’s top-loaded bean canister also serves as its precision grind-size knob. The burr grinder can achieve all different levels of fine and coarse grinds to fit espresso to regular brews. It also comes with a cup to catch the ground coffee before measuring it into your preferred brewing method.

Varia VS3 burr grinder
Burr on the Varia grinder

The all-metal frame also allows the smaller AKU Grinder to fit almost anywhere on your countertop. Home decors that favor minimalism will appreciate its design, although the exterior battery brick embedded in the power cord is hard to hide without some creativity.

A white Varia VS3 on a counter
Minimal design of the grinder is visually pleasing

Grind consistency and control

If you’re considering your first grinder or an upgrade, the VS3 will provide many benefits to brewing consistency. 

The grind size can be specified down to the 2,000th micron on the interior burr grinders. The manufacturer also sells multiple burrs to fit different grinding styles. It also opens up and can be taken apart for easy cleaning.

Coffee grinds in a spoon


If you’re unaware of burr versus blade grinding, specialists prefer the precision that comes with burr grinding. Blades can sometimes be inaccurate, relying on momentum to move the beans into the blade whereas burrs can grind more evenly. 

The more surface area available in a brew, the more opportunity water has to extract flavor from the coffee bean itself. 

Coffee Grinds

Exploring different brewing methods

From coarse cold brews to finely ground espresso brews, your grinder will have a big impact on your bean extraction. 

  • French Press and Cold Brew — These two longer brew methods favor a coarse or chunky grind because a finer grind could overpower your coffee. It will come out strong if you’re using darker roasts.  
  • Pour Over — The medium-coarse grind will fit your pour over perfectly with a mix of sizes including chunks and smaller salt-sized bits. 
  • Drip — Sitting at the middle of the list, drip coffee prefers sea salt-sized coffee grinds.
  • Moka Pot and Espresso — Moka pot and espresso favor a fine grind, meaning your coffee grounds will look like table salt.

The VS3’s grind settings come with a self-explaining guide to help you grasp your grinding potential.

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Perfecting Your Brew with Varia Scale and Varia Grinder

Food scales and coffee grinders are an essential part of any cafe barista or coffee lover’s tool kit and for good reason.

Workflow integration

Selecting the source of your coffee is no small task. Between the blended or single origins, roast levels, and farmers, there’s a lot that can impact the flavor of the bean.

But once it’s in your hands, it’s your job to honor the work put in so far with the proper tools. After setting the Varia VS3 Grinder to the proper grind size, you can let the grinder do its magic on the beans. Use your Varia AKU Scale to ensure your brewing method has the perfect ratio of coffee to water before you begin to craft your cup of coffee.

The two tools will work together seamlessly, especially with the magnetic open cup to hold your coffee grounds below. You can easily translate that from your VS3 Grinder to AKU Scale without any hassle.

Recipe and Brew Profiles

If you’re uncertain what sort of coffee you could brew with these sorts of machines, consider the brew profiles.

One thing I love to remind newer coffee drinkers is that even though your coffee can travel from around the world to your cup, it many times is the result of countless days of tender loving care. You can taste the differences if a coffee bean didn’t get its needed nutrients, or if there was a drought that year on the farm.

Once that raw bean is then purchased by the roaster, the roasting profile then comes into play. Considering the time and temperature that a bean was roasted will provide you different flavors in your cup even if it was grown on the same farm. 

A French Roast will be dark in your cup and bitter on your palate, whereas a Cinnamon Roast will hold a juicy acidity and have the fruity flavors of the bean still intact.

All of that and there’s still the rest of the recipe, including your water-to-coffee ratio and coffee grind size to impact the intensity of flavor. There are endless possibilities of what could hit your lips on your first sip.

Customer Reviews and Testimonials

Many people have been trying to get their hands on these Varia tools, and it would be a waste not to do our research.

User Experience

The Varia VS3 Grinder has attracted tons of attention for its attractive look and wide functionality, and for the most part, it delivers. People love the extra parts that the manufacturer has included to keep it working, and some taste testing has yielded some incredible results.

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There has been some negative feedback from a consumer seeing the precision knob turn as the burr grinders break up the beans, accidentally changing your grind choice. This can cause some consistency problems. We hope the manufacturer can fix this bug. 

YouTube video embed

Additionally, there has been some negative feedback about the power chord power brick, adding an unappealing aspect to the otherwise attractive design. 

As for the Varia AKU Scale, one prominent coffee aficionado on YouTube found the scale to beat his normal scale of six years. In a compelling testimonial, The Real Sprometheus talked about how the $100 Varia scale replaced his $250 Acaia scale. 

YouTube video embed

Otherwise, many consumers find the price affordable for the functional product.

Conclusion

In all, Varia is establishing itself as a brand that understands coffee and how to position themselves within the vast coffee market. 

The Varia AKU Scale’s conveniences surpass some older and more expensive models, while still delivering the basic services you would expect from a mid-to-high-priced scale. And the Varia VS3 Grinder includes plenty of bells and whistles that will impress any coffee lover, despite some power cord and loose precision knob worries.

Cup of coffee

Meet the expert

Scott's tasted his first cup of coffee in college. The sludgy cup came from the gas station closest to his apartment when he needed to stay awake during an all-night study session. Thankfully, this cup was not his last. He and his wife now enjoy a cup or two of home-brewed coffee with breakfast every morning and enjoy exploring new coffee shops and eateries. As a former journalist, he works as a communication manager for a local, art-focused nonprofit in Arizona most days and freelances the rest. As a writer at heart, Scott appreciates the union of his craft and love of coffee at Roast Love.

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