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An SCAA-certified coffee maker is in a league of its own, better than some of the best coffee makers out there. The SCAA certification is given only to the finest coffee makers that meet the rigorous specifications for optimal coffee extraction. In the coffee brewing circles, this certification propels a coffee maker to stardom, and that’s why it carries a lot of weight.
An SCAA certified coffee brewer will produce an excellently extracted full-bodied cup of coffee that’s way better than what you’ll get from a regular automatic coffee maker. To earn this coveted certification, a coffee machine must brew coffee at the correct temperature, have a decent brewing time, and provide the perfect coffee-to-water ratio to meet the SCAA’s Golden Cup standards.
Curious about the SCAA certified coffee makers and what the certification entails? You’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn what SCAA certified makers are, the factors they’re judged on, some points to consider when choosing an SCAA certified machine, and much more.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: This SCA-certified coffee system has a customizable filter basket that supports precise adjustment. It features premium parts and a brushed stainless steel finish that offers visual appeal.
The Technivorm Moccamaster KBT 79112 40-oz coffee maker features premium parts that last. This coffee machine brews fast, preparing a full pot in just 4 to 6 minutes. A manually adjustable basket enables users to customize the brewing, while an auto shut-off function switches off the heating element after brewing to prevent the coffee from getting a burning taste. This coffee maker has a manual drip-stop brew basket that supports customization. However, this model has some low-quality plastic parts.
This coffee maker has a premium stainless finish that adds a touch of refinement to the kitchen. A thermal stainless steel carafe keeps the coffee warm for a long time. It comes with a travel lid to prevent the coffee from cooling while traveling. With a 10-cup capacity, this machine is ideal for families and workplaces. This coffee machine is powered by a 1400W heating element that provides reliable performance.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: A removable water reservoir enables simple cleaning and filling. This model boasts a multi-wall pitcher to keep coffee warm after brewing.
Designed for specialty brewing, the Ninja CM407 50-oz coffee maker makes barista-quality coffee that will please coffee connoisseurs. This machine has a multifunction design for making lattes, cappuccinos, and other beverages. It has a thermal carafe that keeps coffee hot for storage or travel. This model boasts a number of coffee presets that include Classic, Rich, and Over Ice. However, this unit takes up lots of space on the kitchen counter.
Featuring six different brew sizes, this coffee machine is quite versatile and it makes great single-serve coffee. With a 10-cup carafe, this coffee machine is suitable for families, and the carafe has a thermal insulated design for keeping the coffee hot. A fold-away frother turns milk into frothy beverages easily. It comes with a smart scoop and Gold-Tone permanent filter for easy operation. Featuring a removable water reservoir, this machine simplifies filling and cleaning.
Award: BEST CUSTOMIZATION OPTIONS
WHY WE LIKE IT: This SCA-certified coffee machine has a digital control panel that enables choosing from seven different brewing sizes and three coffee flavor settings. It has temperature sensors located throughout the brewing process to ensure consistent results.
Featuring an advanced brewing system that supports precise customization, the Braun MultiServe KF9070S 10-cup coffee maker is ideal for people who desire to explore and experiment. This coffee brewing system has a powerful heating element and quality insulated parts that provide consistent brewing every time. An intuitive digital control panel with a dial and touch controls enables customizing this machine easily. This device has a programmable delay start function for convenience. However, mastering the settings on this model takes time.
This coffee maker supports both hot and cold brewing, providing flexibility. Three temperature sensors monitor the temperature throughout the brewing process to produce SCA-grade coffee every time. With a brew size dial with seven different settings, this machine allows users to brew sizes ranging from a full carafe to a small single serve cup. This model boasts a freshness indicator to alert users about the state of the brewed coffee.
Award: BEST FOR FAMILIES
WHY WE LIKE IT: This coffee machine has a large double-walled jar that prepares large quantities of coffee and keeps it warm. It boasts three different flow rates and six unique modes, including presets for iced coffee.
This Breville Precision BDC450BSS 60-oz coffee maker boasts an extra large jar that is suitable for entertaining. It has a drip coffee system that controls the temperature to unlock the flavors of coffee. Featuring six brewing modes, this device supports customization. Presets include Fast, Iced, Cold Brew, and My Brew, offering flexibility. This model has a digital temperature control (PID) system for customizing the heating. However, this machines’ water reservoir is not removable, complicating cleaning.
A thermal coil heating system ensures fast boiling. This coffee maker has a dedicated Gold Cup preset that adjusts settings to meet SCA brewing standards at a temperature of 197 to 204°F. This machine has an auto steep and release valve that allows brewing small volumes of coffee without the need for placing the glass carafe on the warming plate. It comes with dual filter baskets to cater to the preferences of various coffee enthusiasts.
Award: BEST COFFEE FLAVOR
WHY WE LIKE IT: This coffee brewing system allows users to choose between three flavor settings and two temperature settings, allowing for precise customization. With an advanced trickle brewing method, this unit unlocks coffee flavors.
Featuring a pour-over brewing system, the Cuisinart PurePrecision CPO-800P1 8-cup coffee maker maximizes coffee extraction, providing great flavors and helping users save coffee. This machine is certified by the SCA, a testament to its high-precision brewing processes. With a silver-gray finish, this device brings a touch of elegance to any kitchen counter and it blends in easily with other kitchen appliances. However, this model is too tall to fit on some kitchen counters with cabinets.
This coffee maker allows users to control the strength, featuring settings for mild, medium, and bold coffee. It also offers temperature controls, having hot and extra hot settings. An 8-cup glass graduated carafe on this model enables easy monitoring. This machine is also compatible with a stainless steel thermal carafe for keeping the coffee warm. It has a heated plate that keeps the coffee warm for up to 2 hours after brewing.
Award: BEST PAUSE BREW FEATURE
WHY WE LIKE IT: A pause and pour function on this device enables users to grab a cup of coffee without terminating the brewing process. This coffee machine has a double-wall thermal carafe for keeping coffee warm after brewing.
This OXO Brew 9-cup coffee maker has a gigantic carafe that prepares family-sized beverages in one go. It boasts a precision brewing process that meets SCA standards. This machine produces coffee with rich flavors and it provides consistent results, whether brewing a single cup or a whole pot. With an automatic wake-up timer, this coffee maker allows users to program brewing for convenience. However, this unit doesn’t have temperatures and coffee flavor settings.
This coffee maker has a Rainmaker shower head that dispenses coffee over ground coffee for excellent extraction. It boasts a pause and pour feature for halting the brewing cycle temporarily, enabling users to grab a quick cup of coffee. This model has a stainless steel finish and stands out on the kitchen counter. It also features a simple dial for hassle-free customization and has a PID system that pegs temperatures between 197.6 to 204.8°F for great results.
SCAA stands for Specialty Coffee Association of America. It is a nonprofit organization that awards certifications to coffee machines that meet the precise technical requirements needed to prepare a perfectly extracted cup of coffee. An SCAA certified coffee maker has passed these requirements and is sure to brew some of the finest coffee for you.
All SCAA certified coffee makers are electric and function similarly to other regular automatic coffee machines. But unlike other electric coffee makers, like Keurig machines, SCAA certified machines are designed to optimize the coffee extraction process. This means the brewing takes longer, the brewing temperature is in a specific range, and several other factors are designed to enhance the extraction process massively.
You’ll also not find any manual coffee makers with SCAA certification. This includes the French press, Moka pot, and some USA made coffee makers like AeroPress. Manual coffee machines are practically silent, but SCAA certified machines will make some noise because of the parts they contain. For a look at other SCAA-certified devices, check out our comparison of Braun vs Ninja coffee makers.
SCAA certified coffee makers use the same principles that standard coffee makers rely on to prepare coffee. The differences are found in the specific technical requirements to optimize the brewing process and extract the best-tasting coffee. Let’s take a look at some of these requirements below.
1. Brewing Time
Coffee brewing time has a significant impact on the strength of your coffee and how balanced it tastes. SCAA approved coffee makers will strictly ensure that the water remains in contact with the coffee grounds for more than 4 minutes and less than 8 minutes.
2. Brewing Temperature
The brewing temperature is crucial for the best coffee extraction. The proper water temperature has to be between 197.6°F and 204.8°F when it drips into the coffee grounds. The water also needs to reach this optimal temperature range within a minute of mixing with the grounds, and it needs to remain at that temperature throughout the brewing cycle. If the water temperature is above 205°F, it can burn the grounds and taste burnt (bitter flavor). If the temperature is below 195°F, you’ll get weak coffee that’s under-extracted (sour flavor).
3. Filter Basket Volume
The filter basket or brew basket needs to accommodate the SCAA golden cup ratio, which is 55 grams of coffee per liter of water or two tablespoons for every 6 ounces of water.
4. Uniformity in Performance
SCAA certified coffee machines will not give you a few cups of good coffee and then some lousy coffee. These coffee makers can consistently replicate the high quality and ensure consistency in flavor. Although, you can try out dual-boiler espresso machines for an ever better cup of joe.
5. Quick Saturation
The coffee maker will saturate all the coffee in the filter basket within the first minute of brewing to maximize the coffee flavor.
6. Temperature in the Carafe
The coffee maker’s carafe will have to hold the brewed cups of coffee at 176°F for 30 minutes after brewing is complete. Carafes on most SCAA certified coffee makers can hold brewed coffee at 176°F for a few hours.
7. Low Sediment
There shouldn’t be too much sediment settling in the carafe of the coffee maker. Some sediment may help tone down the acidity and create bold and full-bodied cups of coffee, but too much of it isn’t healthy.
If you’re particular about how you want your coffee, an SCAA certified coffee maker is for you. These coffee makers are among the finest, and their brews will be perfect for true coffee connoisseurs.
How long a coffee maker will last depends on the type of machine and how well you maintain it. Even if it’s an SCAA certified coffee maker, it won’t age well if you don’t look after it.
Generally, automatic coffee makers last between 3 to 5 years. But if you clean it regularly and descale it, you can extend its lifespan even up to 10 years. Often, automatic machines don’t reach the 5-year mark because coffee residue builds up and damages the pumps and tubes in the machine.
If you don’t descale the machine properly, it’ll lead to mineral buildup that can damage the device. The heating element in the machine can break down over time because it’s not designed to last for decades. Without hot water, the machine won’t brew coffee.
The SCAA certified coffee makers are equipped to prepare the best coffee, but you will also have to consider other factors while purchasing these premium machines. This includes how much coffee it prepares at once, how much customizability you want in the coffee prep, and your budget, among other things.
As terrific as an SCAA coffee maker maybe, you need to have space at home to store it. If it doesn’t fit on your kitchen counter, it’ll be a hassle just to use it. Check the product’s dimensions, especially the height, before selecting it. You’ll find the relevant information on the manufacturer’s page or a retail website.
How much coffee a coffee brewer produces at once is essential, especially if you’re sharing the device with multiple people at home or in an office. Go for a 10 or 12 cup model if you have plenty of coffee drinkers, but if it’s just for a single person, it’s wiser to pick up a smaller model.
Some models have the function to choose between sizes (single cup, half pot, full pot of coffee), so you can adjust how much coffee you need without losing out on extraction quality.
If you drink coffee frequently or share the machine with people, a giant water tank will help you go longer without refilling it. But if you consume little coffee daily, a tiny water tank will be fine.
Remember to use filtered drinking water for your coffee preparation because water has a significant impact on the taste of your coffee. With the right filtration system, you can optimize your coffee maker to the fullest.
A coffee brewer with pumps (looking at you, drip coffee maker) will be louder than one without. The pumps are used to produce coffee under pressure, so there tends to be more noise than manual coffee makers. You’ll want to compare various coffee makers to get an idea of how loud they can get.
You’ll also want to check if the machine features a noise indicator with adjustable volume so that you don’t have to listen to a loud alarm every time the brew cycle’s complete. If noise is a big concern for you, make sure to check out the quietest coffee maker.
Most SCAA coffee makers take between 4 to 8 minutes to finish brewing, with some taking 10 to 12 minutes. If you need rapid coffee prep, coffee makers with 4-minute brew times will be helpful. For others, there’s a wide brew-time range to choose from.
If you want to schedule your coffee, look for coffee makers that have the auto-brew feature. With this, you can schedule your machine to brew a cup for a future time, generally up to 24 hours. You won’t have to wait for your morning cup if your coffee maker lets you program its brewing in advance.
While some coffee machines offer convenient one-touch brewing, others provide much more customizability with the brew settings. Advanced models will give you options to control the brewing process, like adjusting the temperature, modifying the pre-infusion settings, changing the brew time, and more. If you enjoy experimenting with the coffee preparation process, you’ll love a coffee maker that offers customizability.
The carafe is essential for ensuring the coffee is stored well. No matter how well your coffee is extracted, you won’t enjoy it if it goes cold a few minutes after preparation.
A glass carafe is cheaper, but it’s a good option only if you drink your coffee quickly after preparing it. A stainless steel thermal carafe will keep your coffee warm for long without altering the flavor, and you won’t risk burning the coffee as you would with a hot plate.
On the lower end, you’ll find SCAA coffee makers for $120 (on discount), but you’re more likely to find them in the range of $200 to $400. SCAA certified machines are not cheap, and that’s because they’re designed to produce superbly high-quality coffee. They go through rigorous testing, and the technology and craftsmanship need to be top-notch to receive an SCAA certification. Since these machines are well-crafted, you can expect them to last longer, too.