Like many, a cup of coffee every morning before I start my day is an absolute must for me. However, I would often struggle to recreate that perfect blend of flavors that I had made once or twice.
That was until I started looking into coffee refractometers. After going through hours of research and hundreds of reviews, I found some of the best ones on the market, which I will be sharing with you today.
So, if you are looking for the best coffee refractometer, read on because this is just the article for you! I have also included a buying guide that you can follow and answer some of your questions.
What Is a Coffee Refractometer?
Before we get to the product reviews, let us first understand what a coffee refractometer really is. It is a coffee tool that is used to measure the caffeine concentration and extraction amounts in the coffee. This allows you to brew the perfect cup of coffee that suits your palate.
Refractometers are widely used by coffee roasters, coffee shops, and even at home. After making a nice cup of coffee that suits your taste perfectly, you can use this tool to measure the total dissolved solids and their extraction yieldto recreate it with precision in the future.
Using a refractometer for coffee is pretty easy and simple; you will notice a circular well on the machine where all you have to do is drop a few drops of the liquid. The refractometer measures the content and will show you a reading of the TDS amount.
This, along with the quantity of coffee and water used, should also give you the extraction yield. You can then use this to alter the recipe of the coffee depending on your preference or the person you are making the drink for.
5 Best Coffee Refractometer Reviews in 2022
Now that you know what a coffee refractometer really is and what it does let us talk about the products. Below, you will find a list of 5 excellent refractometers that can be just the thing you need.
1. Aichose Brix Refractometer
Aichose is a brand known for manufacturing easy-to-use instruments to measure liquids. Their products are easily portable, quick, and simple to use, including this Brix refractometer and homebrew kit.
You can use the dual scale instrument to measure the sugar content, as well as the liquid’s specific gravity. It is the perfect kit for not only brewing coffee but also for making wine and gardening, etc. This thing promises precise readings of 0 to 32 percent Brix for specific gravity ranging from 1.000 to 1.120.
The main body of this thing is made up of chromium, which is both non-reactive and non-corrosive, making the product durable and safe to use. It even features a built-in ACT function that ensures highly accurate readings without needing to actively control the temperature of the liquid.
Along with the refractometer, the kit includes a cleaning cloth, a screwdriver and pipettes, a user manual, and a sturdy box for storage. You will find this thing very quick and easy to use.
All you have to do is drop a few drops of coffee, or whatever liquid you are working with, onto the prism. Then if you look through the lens, placing the refractometer over the light, you will be able to get a reading.
- Non-corrosive chromium body makes it durable and safe to use
- Quick and easy to use design
- The built-in ACT function allows more accurate readings
- Its dual scale eliminates the need to switch units for readings
2. Tiaoyeer Digital Handheld Refractometer
The Tiaoyeer Brix Refractometer is another product you can look at that will provide you with reliable readings. This is a versatile tool that you can use for a wide range of purposes, from making the perfect coffee at home to testing sugar content and even gardening.
You will find that the product has a Brix measuring scale of 0 to 32 percent with an accuracy of +/-0.2 percent. The ATC function of the instrument allows more precise and faster results. Its eyepiece is focused adjustable, which means you can easily adjust it according to your needs when taking a reading.
The coffee instrument is wrapped by a rubber grip for your convenience so that you are less likely to drop it accidentally. To ensure user safety, it has a non-reactive chromium build which is also non-corrosive and non-staining. So you will not have to worry about the risks while using it.
The Brix refractometer comes in a plastic box, along with a cleaning cloth, a screwdriver, one pipette, and a user manual for ease of use. This is an excellent quality product that will leave little room for disappointment. Since this thing is compact and quite lightweight, you will find it easy to carry around as well.
- It can be used for a wide range of purposes
- Compact build and solid design
- ACT feature allows faster reading and consistently accurate readings
- Made to be easy to carry around
3. Pocket Refractometer PAL-COFFEE(BX/TDS)
When talking about the best refractometer for coffee, there is no way we could not talk about this little gem of an instrument from ATAGO. This is an excellent product and a great tool for measuring dissolved coffee contents.
You will notice the instrument has a very compact body, which makes it convenient to carry around in your pocket. Not only that, but this thing is also very straightforward and definitely one of the easiest ones to use as well.
There is a sampling well at the center top of the device where you add a few drops of the liquid you want to test. Right in the middle, there is a display screen that shows the reading.
The refractometer accuracy is about +/-0.2%, with a Brix measuring range of 0 to 25 percent and 0 to 22 percent for TDS. It also has a wide range of temperatures as well, from 10oC to 100oC, with an accuracy of +/-1oC.
This thing is powered by two AAA alkaline batteries that are widely available at a low price which means they are easy to replace.
One of the eye-catching things about this particular instrument is the shut-off feature that shuts down the device after about 5 minutes of inactivity.
Overall, this is an outstanding refractometer that is well-built and of excellent quality, with a user-friendly interface. Although it can be quite expensive, I believe it is very well worth the price!
- Made to be user-friendly
- Lightweight and portable design
- Features excellent temperature sensors
- Uses a feature that shuts the device off after 5 minutes of no activity
4. AMTAST Digital Coffee Densitometer Coffee Concentration Refractometer
If you are looking for a refractometer that you can carry around with complete ease, the AMTAST AMR300 can be just the thing you need. This incredibly compact device is a great one to have around if you need to measure the dissolved coffee solids for making coffee, both at your house and at the office.
For added safety and durability, you will notice this thing comes with a protective casing and a suction tube that ensures you only drop liquids into the well or prism.
It is able to measure TDS coffee content in a range of 0 to 25 percent, with a +/-0.2% accuracy. If the device is left inactive for over a minute, it automatically shuts down, making the product highly power-efficient.
You will find three control buttons on this thing, Read, Cal and Scale. These buttons are very simple to operate; each has its own function, with the Cal referring to calibration, which helps with improved precision. The Scale key is used for refractometer conversion of temperature from Fahrenheit to Celsius or vice versa.
It comes with a wide display, making it easy to get the readings. The screen also displays the battery power, which can be convenient. Its overall weight is about 7 ounces, so you can imagine it is pretty lightweight.
Although the batteries are not included with this device, it runs on AAA alkaline batteries, which are easily accessible.
- Designed to be power-efficient
- Includes a protective casing
- Features a wide display
- Comes with three-button controls for ease of use
5. Digital Handheld Coffee Refractometer
The last product we will be looking at is a digital Brix refractometer that is known for its good performance at quite an affordable price.
This equipment has a Brix range of 0 to 53 percent with an accuracy of +/-0.2 percent. The digital gadget can measure temperature from 0oC to 40oC. It has a plastic body and weighs about 8 ounces, making it quite portable. You will find it easy to use with its one-click operation.
This device is power-efficient with its automatic shut-off function. It is powered by two pieces of AAA batteries; however, they are not included. Still, these are easily accessible all around, so you will not have trouble getting them.
Overall, this is an excellent digital refractometer that you can get at quite a low price. With its highly precise measurement, it should give you very accurate results. You will find that it has a pretty quick measuring time of just about 3 seconds.
- Offers good performance at a low price
- Features an automatic power-off function
- Lightweight design with plastic body
- Has a quick measuring time of 3s
Things to Consider Before Buying Coffee Refractometer
Now that you know all that is needed to know about these products, you may be unsure which one you should go for. Well, no need to worry because I am here to guide you along on this journey. Below I have put together a list of the things you need to look out for when making a purchase.
Quality and Durability
The quality of the product and its durability is one of the most important factors to consider when looking for a good coffee refractometer VST. If you are investing in a product, you definitely want to make sure it is up to the mark.
You should consider the materials used to make the instrument and make sure they are of high quality so that they can give you years of service. Since refractometers are often exposed to extreme temperatures, be it hot or cold, make sure to choose one that does not form cracks due to this.
Although quality and durability can be important, your refractometer’s performance is definitely the most essential.
You need to make sure the tool produces precise and accurate results so that you can create your perfect cup of coffee easily. Check out the product’s specifications to see the level of accuracy it promises.
For a better understanding, go through different reviews left by other customers to see what they think about this model they have purchased and used. Do they have complaints that are a deal-breaker for you? This way, you have a better chance to find a product that suits you just right.
Having a preference for a particular brand can narrow down the list for you. A well-known brand is more likely to give you better quality products since they have a reputation they need to maintain.
If you do not have a specific one in mind, there are a few brands known for their top-notch digital instruments, including Atago and Aichose, among others.
Ease of Use
When choosing a refractometer, you definitely want something that is easy to use. You do not want to spend too much time trying to navigate the complicated controls. For this, you should look at the design of the product. Does it have a simple and user-friendly interface?
If you have never used one of these coffee instruments before, make sure you have a good understanding of how it works. A good refractometer should also come with an easy-to-follow user manual.
If you intend to use the coffee tool in different locations, be it at home or at your coffee shop, the product’s portability is a must. The ones mentioned on this list are all somewhat compact and can be easy to carry around.
We all know the saying, you get what you pay for. High-quality products are likely to be a bit more expensive than others. However, there are a lot of great options that are super affordable as well, like some mentioned on this list.
So you should first decide how much you are willing to spend on the refractometer and choose one accordingly.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is a Brix refractometer?
Brix refractometers are the digital tools used to measure the sugar content of a liquid sample. If you bring up the sugar content, the refractive index also increases. Measuring this refraction allows you to measure the amount of sugar as well.
How is coffee extraction measured?
The refractometer measures the total dissolved solids, shortly known as TDS. This measurement is then used to find out the extraction yield by combining it with the weight of the coffee.
How to increase coffee TDS?
If you want your coffee to be stronger, you need to increase the amount of TDS. To do that, all you have to do is increase the coffee content compared to the amount of water.
How accurate are refractometers?
The accuracy of the refractometer can vary from one model to the other. A refractometer with a Brix measurement range of 0 to 30 percent is likely to have a precision between 0.2 to 0.3 Brix.
Is refractometer reading affected by temperature?
Refractometers depend on temperature for reading, so it definitely has an effect. A lack of temperature control can even cause issues with the instrument to the point that you need to replace it.
That is all the information I have to share with you about these products. All the models mentioned on this are of great quality and have what it takes to be the best coffee refractometer. Whether or not you are a professional barista or someone who loves making their own coffee at home, a refractometer can be a good investment for you. Before you make a purchase, make sure to go through the buying guide and refractometer review to see which one is a good option for you.