Review: Drop Connected Kitchen Scale
Caption: DropSkip Article Header. Skip to: Start of Article. Sub Title: The Right Weigh Drop
I’ve got it down pat. I preheat the oven, set a small saucepan on my scale, set it to zero (or “tare it”) then pour in oil, honey and maple syrup, taring between each so I know exactly how much I’m adding. I warm the pan on the stove while I weigh out my dry goods in a mixing bowl. Oats. Tare. Coconut. Tare. Walnuts. Tare. Whatever else I feel like throwing in there. Tare. Tare. Tare. The warmed oil is stirred into the oat mixture, and, if I’ve brought my A-game, I’ll have it spread out on a pair of half-sheet pans before the oven’s come up to temp. I put exactly one dirty pot and one dirty bowl in the dishwasher and the kitchen looks like exactly nothing ever happened.
Enter Drop, a $100 kitchen scale that connects to your iPad and offers step-by-step on-screen instructions for cooking a variety of dishes. The attendant iOS app tells you when to add each ingredient, which you pour into your own bowl that you place on top. The app weighs the ingredients as you go and tells you when you’ve poured in enough. Drop’s app contains about 300 recipes—from madeleines and lemon tarts to kale chips, olive tapenade, and olive oil cake—each of which has been converted to weight measure. If the idea of switching from cooking using measuring cups and spoons (known as “U.S. measure”) to cooking by weight has ever been a temptation, this is the place to start.
The first thing to know about Drop is that the most important part of the package is not the sleek little red countertop scale. It’s the app. Fire up your iPad, (it has to be a model* new enough to support Bluetooth LE), tap the recipe you’d like to make, and start cooking.
In my time with it, I made meatballs (I never make meatballs!), hash browns and even tried Drop’s granola. Every recipe tells you how much time it’s going to take, provides a list of tools you’ll need, and follows with an ingredient list. Tap “Start Recipe,” and it walks you through the steps, each one taking up the whole screen as you work on it.
Within the recipes is where the ingenuity lies. If you have more or less of a particular ingredient than the recipe needs, the app can scale the recipe up or down for you. I had more ground beef than the meatball recipe called for, so I tapped the “Ground Beef” icon, followed by the “Scale Recipe” button, put the beef on the scale, and the app upped the quantities of all of the other ingredients before I started.
When you’re ready to roll, place a bowl on the scale and the app tares it out. Make granola like I did and you can pour most of your ingredients straight from their storage jar or package directly into the mixing bowl. As you add each ingredient, the screen shows you graphically how much you still need pour in, and when you’ve added enough, it skips to the next step and tares the scale again, something you’ll appreciate even more if your hands are a mess.
Where it’s most impressive is with the tasks where you can pour ingredients straight from the box or bag. Bake something with a bunch of pantry ingredients in a row and without all the cups and spoons, and it feels like you’re flying.
It’s a pretty amazing thing. By turning the scale into a smart scale and favoring weight measure over U.S. measure, Drop has the liberty to rethink the way a recipe can be presented.
Suppose you just want to use it as a scale? It does that too. You can weigh out your breakfast cereal or your cat’s dinner—no need for an in-app recipe.
Drop isn’t the sole actor to put recipes on an app or approach them differently. Anova’s app communicates with some of its sous vide machines. ChefSteps creates a customized version of its website on its app, featuring recipes in weight measure and videos to guide you along. The New York Times‘ Cooking app features some 17,000 tested recipes (as opposed to the dross that can be dug up on a Google search). In book form, Mark Bittman rethought how to attack printed recipes in How To Cook Everything Fast: A Better Way To Cook Great Food.
The scale isn’t perfect. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why there’s no readout on the scale itself, so there’s no way to know how much is on there is on it without firing up the app. The idea that I’d need to wrestle the iPad out of my wife’s hands every morning so I could weigh out my coffee beans is unappealing. Making meatballs with Drop, I wound up using my OXO scale to portion them out. Later in that same recipe, I encountered a bit of fluttering in the weight readout, particularly in the lighter measures. Once or twice, I wished stuff that should be done ahead of time had been signaled a bit better. You’re also beholden to the recipes that Drop offers—those 300 and counting, including a tantalizing partnership with Food52. If you’re not into the sole cherry pie recipe and it’s cherry season, you’ll need to reach for an alternative on the cookbook shelf. I also kept wishing that the top of the scale was a bit wider to keep larger mixing bowls from feeling top-heavy, and that the top of the scale was removable for easier cleaning.
Despite the bugs, Drop has a lot going for it, and huge potential. If the company never changed or added a thing, it would still be a great introduction to weight measure, limited only by the number of recipes it has to offer. If Drop keeps pushing the number of recipes it uses, say by juicing that partnership with Food52 or adding another site/app with a huge catalog of traditional, tested recipes that could be converted to work with the scale? Suddenly, we’re talking baseball.
* Official list of supported devices: iPad mini, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, iPad 3rd generation, iPad 4th generation, iPad Air and iPad Air 2.Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article.