The modern user is accustomed to pressing a button and getting great coffee from their coffee maker. However, brewing coffee just right is an exacting process with specific requirements. While things don’t change for the user, the coffee maker should be able to hold up these exacting standards.
One way to see if your coffee maker holds up to these requirements is to check for SCAA coffee maker certification.
Top SCAA Certified Coffee Makers For 2020
- Braun MultiServe Coffee Machine
- Breville BDC450 Precision Brewer Coffee Maker
- Ninja CM407 Specialty Coffee Maker
- Technivorm Moccamaster 59618 KBG Coffee Brewer
- Cuisinart CPO-850 Coffee Brewer
- Behmor Brazen Plus 2.0 Control Brew System
- Bonavita BV1902DW 8-Cup One-Touch Coffee Maker
- brim 8 Cup Pour Over Coffee Maker
- BUNN HB Heat N Brew Programmable Coffee Maker
- Paderno 9-cup Balanced-brew Coffee Maker
Editor’s Choice: Cuisinart CPO-850 Coffee Brewer
Cuisinart CPO-850, or, Cuisinart PurePrecision coffee brewer is our top choice for this category. The machine is capable of brewing a great cup of coffee to match the exacting standards of the SCA. It also has a reasonable range of functions and features, all packed in at a great price.
What Are SCA And SCAA Certified Coffee Makers?
SCAA represented the Specialty Coffee Association of America. Its counterpart in Europe was SCAE (Specialty Coffee Association of Europe). Both of these associations had specific standards for coffee and provided certification for available coffee makers. In 2017, both associations merged and formed the Specialty Coffee Association.
The technically correct term now is SCA certified coffee makers. However, as things stand, the change is slower to push through with the larger consumer base. Old names and terms tend to get stuck and take time to be updated.
That’s why we have people considering SCAA certified coffee makers to represent the seal of quality. Heck, even the grammar check on Chrome wants me to write SCAA certified, rather than SCA certified! Or, in the case of Europe, SCAE certified coffee makers.
Either of these is now synonymous with SCA certification.
It’s also worth noting that the certification is provided on voluntary submission of application by companies. So, it is not all-encompassing. Even if your drip coffee maker doesn’t have an SCA certification, it can still brew a good cup of coffee. However, the presence of the certification implies that a well-regarded third party has put the coffee maker through rigorous testing.
SCA Golden Cup Requirements For Brewing Coffee
The key to SCA certified coffee maker is the ability to handle the golden cup requirements. Without going into too much technical detail, it suffices to say the key component is coffee quality. Some notable aspects are:
- Brewing Temperature: The ideal brewing temperature for coffee is 200°F ± 5°. So the coffee maker should be able to heat water to 195-205°F and hold this temperature as the brewing begins. While a lot of coffee makers heat water to this temperature, they can have trouble holding it as water is sent to coffee grounds.
- Time Of Water Contact: SCAA approved coffee makers should allow convenient contact time with coffee for ideal extraction. This depends on the coffee grind. Drip coffee makers usually work with medium grind and need 4-6 minutes. Coarse grind can take up to 8 minutes, while fine grind needs 1-4 minutes.
- Coffee Quantity: SCA recommends 1.63 grams of whole coffee beans per fluid ounce of water. When using ground coffee, that’s roughly 55 grams for 34 oz of water.
- Others: Other SCA recommendations include avoiding excessive sediment in the cup, proper mixing of coffee grounds and water, and a uniformity of performance.
Most of these are 8-12 cup coffee makers, and they do a fantastic job of brewing coffee. Many of these coffee makers also include settings and programmable options. That way, you can brew a great cup of coffee, and be quick with brewing – without always sticking to golden cup recommendations.
Reviewed: SCAA Coffee Makers To Look At
1. Braun MultiServe Coffee Machine
Good looks, good coffee, and easy controls make the Braun MultiServe Coffee Machine quite likeable. This is a 10-cup coffee maker with a range of options and features. The right side of the machine features controls and the water reservoir. On the left half, there’s room for the carafe and an adjustable cup shelf.
There are three brew strength control options – light, bold, and gold. The latter brews your beverage according to the gold cup standard required by the SCA. Interestingly, three sensors monitor the water temperature to ensure it stays true to SCA standards.
An option is available to select “over ice”, which should brew the beverage right for iced coffee. Or hit the “water” button, which makes this coffee maker work as a hot water dispenser.
Other features include temperature control and brew speed selector to fine-tune coffee to your preference. Over the controls is a dial to manage the brew size. It includes seven different brew sizes, going all the way from a single cup to full carafe. On the dispenser side, an adjustable cup shelf is available to match your brew size preference.
This SCAA approved coffee maker can brew a full carafe in under eight minutes.
- Feature-rich machine
- Convenient options to control brew strength
- Can handle seven brew sizes
- Can work with coffee, iced coffee, hot water, and tea
- Adjustable cup shelf
- Can be difficult to clean
- The large number of options can make it a bit confusing and tedious
2. Breville BDC450 Precision Brewer Coffee Maker
Breville BDC450 Precision Brewer Coffee Maker is somewhat expensive, but stays true to its name in precision. This high-quality, plastic free coffee maker has a penchant for brewing a delicious cup of coffee.
It uses Breville’s well-regarded PID temperature control system to ensure the water temperature stays true to golden cup requirements. That, and an attention to detail are what make this a noteworthy SCAA coffee maker.
Several brewing options are available, the presets include:
- Gold cup
- Fast brew
- Over ice
- Cold brew
- My brew (customized setting by user)
Breville’s “My brew” option lets users customize flow rate, temperature, and bloom time to match their specific preferences.
If you don’t feel like using the coffee maker’s filter basket, you can remove it. Place a pour over coffee maker like Hario V60 or Kalita Wave, and you can brew classic pour over coffee.
- Feature-rich machine
- Convenient options to control temperature, water flow, and bloom time
- Can replace filter basket with pour over coffee makers
- PID system for precise water temperature control
- Brew size control ranges from single cup to full carafe
- 10 cup coffee maker with 60 oz reservoir
- Included carafe can be leaky and doesn’t completely seal the lid
3. Ninja CM407 Specialty Coffee Maker
Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker CM407 is quite a machine. It works to stay at the right temperature to be an SCAA coffee maker, and includes all the amazing features that make Ninja so notable. The machine offers six brew sizes and an adjustable cup tray to go along with it.
You can brew classic, rich, iced, and specialty coffee with this machine. While it doesn’t brew a classic espresso since there is no pressure system, it can make a pretty strong brew to work as a stand-in for classic espresso. That, along with the built-in milk frother can be used for other beverages like cappuccino and latte.
- Can brew six brew sizes
- Makes four different brew strength coffees
- Includes built-in milk frother
- Adjustable cup tray
- Easy to clean as most parts are dishwasher safe
- Relatively wide footprint can make this a space hot
- No warmer plate
4. Technivorm Moccamaster 59618 KBG Coffee Brewer
It’s worth noting that plenty of Technivorm Moccamaster models are SCA certified. Apart from the Technivorm Moccamaster KBG brewer listed here, the CDG, CD Grand, K, KB, KBS models are SCAA approved coffee makers. This includes both thermal and glass carafe variants. I put KBG here because I prefer this model, and because it’s available in a lot of colors!
Perhaps a big part of Moccamaster’s success lies in its quality copper element. It heats water pretty quickly and keeps it at the right temperature for SCA certification. The machine can brew its full 40 oz carafe in under six minutes.
Once the machine is done brewing, the hotplate switches off after 100 minutes, followed by an automatic turn-off for the coffee maker. A temperature control switch for the hot plate is located near the coffee maker’s power switch. At its basic position, it keeps the hot plate at 175F. When flicked, the hot plate temperature changes to 185F.
An automatic function ensures that the coffee drips only when the carafe is in position. What I find very interesting about this machine is that there is no long list of custom features. It’s incredibly easy to operate and always brews a great cuppa.
- Very easy to operate
- Automatic function ensures coffee only drips when carafe is in place
- Hot plate temperature control
- High-quality construction and design
- Available in 25+ colors
- Limited customization options for users
5. Cuisinart CPO-850 Coffee Brewer
Cuisinart CPO-850 Coffee Brewer aka Cuisinart PurePrecision coffee maker is our top choice for this category. The biggest factors earning this place are the reliability, quality, and pricing of this coffee maker.
We expect SCAA certified coffee makers to be more expensive since greater effort has to go into staying true to rigorous standards. This machine is slightly more expensive than conventional machines, but all things considered, it’s great value!
The machine is programmable and users can set it to brew automatically at a set time up to 24 hours in advance. This includes an auto-on and adjustable auto-off. There are two temperature settings for hot and extra hot brew. Brew and flavor strength can be controlled with three options, which are mild, medium, and bold.
- Good value for money
- Programmable machine with auto-on and auto-off function
- Brew-pause function to pour a quick cup without spilling coffee
- Very basic looks and design
- The construction quality could be better
6. Behmor Brazen Plus 2.0 Control Brew System
One of the things this coffee maker has going for it are its looks. Behmor Brazen Plus 2.0 Control Brew System looks fairly modern and unique. Temperature adjustment is very precise and goes from 190-210F. You can set temperature anywhere between this range with 1° temperature control accuracy.
Similarly, an adjustable pre-soak function is available to let the coffee bloom. Water flows to the filter basket in pulses to ensure coffee bed saturation, better extraction, and precise control. This SCA certified coffee maker has a 40 oz water reservoir and can brew a full carafe in about five minutes.
- Great looks and design
- Precise temperature control up to 1° within the range of 190-210F
- Programmable brew setting allows setting up automatic brew up to 24 hours in advance
- Allows brew temperature adjustment based on altitude/elevation above sea level
- Questionable durability – several consumer complaints of the machine developing problems or giving up
- Can be difficult to clean
7. Bonavita BV1902DW 8-Cup One-Touch Coffee Maker
Bonavita BV1902DW 8-Cup One-Touch Coffee Maker has been on the scene a long time and it still brews a great cup of joe. The coffee maker has a fairly good feature list including programmable auto-on going up to 24 hours. There’s also a pre-infusion mode that will give room to the coffee grounds to bloom.
The hot plate auto shuts off after 40 minutes. That’s a low limit for a coffee maker, especially one with a glass carafe. Bonavita should perhaps look into an update on this machine. It has a limited set of features, yet it can be difficult to use. The construction quality needs improvement and its durability is questionable.
- Pre-infusion mode lets coffee bloom and helps better extraction
- Good temperature control
- Brew temperature adjustment
- Questionable durability
- Can be somewhat difficult to use
8. brim 8 Cup Pour Over Coffee Maker
brim 8 Cup Pour Over Coffee Maker takes its pour over coffee skills to a drip coffee maker. There is no specific filter assembly here and the shower head pours directly into a brim pour over coffee maker. It’s simple and straightforward with minimalist goodness.
Even with the simplicity involved, quality coffee isn’t forgotten. As an SCAA certified coffee maker, the brim keeps temperature, extraction, and flavor at the top level. The hot plate has a convenient keep warm temperature of 176°F. After the brewing is complete, the machine auto shuts-off in 30 minutes.
- Good, minimalist looks
- Can also be used as a standalone pour over coffee maker
- Simple and convenient to use
- Limited range of features
- Questionable value for money – seems more expensive than similar machines
9. BUNN HB Heat N Brew Programmable Coffee Maker
BUNN coffee makers have pretty much maintained a steadfast reputation for quality. BUNN HB Heat N Brew Programmable Coffee Maker is one fine example of the company’s offerings. It is a high quality machine that can brew 10 cups of great tasting coffee in a single go.
The machine has a fairly simple operation, without a bevy of features. It is however, a programmable coffee maker and can be set to brew coffee automatically up to 24 hours in advance. The warmer plate automatically turns on as soon as the coffee starts brewing and switches off after 2 hours.
Bunn Heat N Brew offers great value and is the cheapest coffee maker on this list.
- Excellent value
- Programmable for up to 24 hours
- Simple and convenient to use
- Limited range of features
- Old design and construction doesn’t hold up to modern user interests
10. Paderno 9-cup Balanced-brew Coffee Maker
Paderno is a well-known Canadian brand. The coffee maker is only available in Canada and is on our list because it is SCA certified. The 9-cup coffee maker has a pretty interesting list of features, including a drip-stop function and hot plate. It seems to be well-rounded, but the hot-plate auto shuts off after just 30 minutes, which seems rather quick.
- Brews a 9-cup carafe or half-carafe
- Good looks or design
- The 30-minute hot plate function seems very limited
Putting Your Trust In An SCAA Approved Coffee Maker
The general belief is that an SCAA coffee maker holds up pretty well in matters of quality and performance. That is mostly true, because the machines undergo rigorous testing to hold up to SCA standards. As such, these coffee makers can be a pretty safe bet.
My top recommendation for this category is the Cuisinart CPO-850 Coffee Brewer. For more options, look at the Technivorm Moccamaster, Breville BDC450 Precision Brewer, and the Braun MultiServe coffee machine.