If you are passionate about coffee and you enjoy brewing at home, you will want to make sure your brewer is up to the job.
A select few coffee makers meet the standards of the SCAA, ensuring a superior beverage every time – so here’s our guide to the best SCAA certified coffee makers.
What is the SCAA?
What is the SCAA and why does their seal of approval matter?
SCAA stands for Specialty Coffee Association of America (1), an organization that has recently merged with the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe (SCAE) to form the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA).
Their “Golden Cup Standard” is the accepted guideline for brewing the perfect coffee.
This means that if a coffee maker receives their seal of approval, you can be sure it makes a pretty tasty brew.
What is the “Golden Cup Standard” and how do you make great coffee?
Making coffee is a fine art. There are many steps in the process and you need to pay careful attention to each one.
If any step is done badly, the final brew will not reach its full potential. This is the difference between decent coffee and great coffee.
Of course, the first part is choosing excellent beans. You can’t make excellent coffee with poor-quality beans, but there is more to it than just this.
Assuming you have good coffee, there are many other variables that need to be controlled carefully.
These include dosing, grind, water temperature, extraction time, uniformity of extraction and others. The “Golden Cup Standard” establishes the ideal parameters for each step.
While a brewing machine can’t control all of these steps, there are some it can affect, such as water temperature and uniformity of extraction.
A brewer that has been certified by the SCAA (or now, the SCA) is one that meets the organization’s high standards for water temperature, brewing time and ability to brew according to the “Golden Cup Standard”.
Very few brewers make this list, so any brewer that is SCA-approved is a brewer capable of producing superior-tasting coffee.
Check out this video discussing the Golden Cup Standard.
The best SCAA certified Coffee makers 2020
Here are our top five brewers from the SCAA (SCA) list.
1. Technivorm Moccamaster 59616 Coffee Brewer (Our Top Recommended)
The Moccamaster from Technivorm measures 6.7” x 13.4” x 14.2”, weighs 6.2lbs and is available in over 20 colors, meaning you should have no problem finding one that matches your style.
This machine includes two features that ensure it brews the perfect pot of coffee. First is the copper boiling element that quickly heats water to 196-205°F, the recommended temperature for flawless extraction.
The second feature is the ultra-precise drip system that includes a pre-immersion phase for a perfect coffee bloom and optimal extraction, maximizing flavor, complexity, and aroma.
The smart hotplate then maintains the temperature for up to 100 minutes before shutting off.
Above all this machine makes great coffee and would be a wise pick for someone who cares about the quality of their brew.
On the downside, it is one of the more expensive drip coffee makers, so might not be suitable for those with a limited budget.
- Copper boiling element ensures water is rapidly brought to the ideal brewing temperature
- Drip system ensures uniform saturation, improving flavor, complexity, and aroma
- Simple to use, no confusing options or unnecessary controls
- Smart hotplate keeps coffee hot for up to 100 minutes
- Build to last – and covered by a five-year warranty if there is a problem
- One of the more expensive options
- Despite colors available, some might find the style a little dated
2. OXO On Barista Brain 9 Cup Coffee Maker
This brewer from OXO measures 8.3” x 15” x 17.2” and weighs 7.7lbs. It is certified by the SCA and claims to make barista-quality coffee at the touch of a button.
It is capable of making anything from a single cup right up to a nine-cup carafe.
The main innovation here is the microprocessor-controlled brew cycle that is able to accurately imitate the auto pour-over coffee brewing method – without the hassle of having to master the technique yourself.
Water temperature is accurately controlled to within 197.6-204.8°F, the optimum temperature for making coffee.
Water is delivered through a “rainmaker” showerhead for perfectly uniform saturation and extraction, improving the flavor of the final cup.
We also particularly like the 24-hour programmable option that allows you to have your coffee brewed and waiting at a predesignated time.
However, the coffee it makes is not quite the same standard as real pour-over made by a skilled barista – although it’s still very good – and some might complain that it doesn’t keep coffee hot for long enough after brewing.
- Extremely simple and intuitive to use
- Microprocessor-controlled brew cycle imitates the pour-over method
- Accurately controlled water temperature
- “Rainmaker” showerhead ensures uniform extraction
- 24-hour timer
- Not quite the same as a real coffee shop pour-over
- Doesn’t keep coffee piping hot for long
3. Bonavita 8-Cup One-Touch Thermal Carafe Coffee Brewer, BV1900TS
This simple but very effective brewing system from Bonavita measures 12.4” x 6.” X 12.2” and weighs 6.13lbs.
Bonavita has stripped away all the unnecessary frills to deliver a machine that simply makes excellent SCA-approved coffee with the minimum of fuss.
The brewer features a 1500-watt heater to precisely regulate the temperature of the water to 195-205°F, the optimum temperature for brewing.
The flat-bottomed filter basket and the large showerhead are also designed for uniform saturation and extraction, improving the flavor of the brew.
The unit also includes an optional pre-infusion mode for use with freshly-roasted coffee that has not yet finished degassing.
One feature we like is the thermal carafe – in general, a thermal carafe is a more reliable method of keeping coffee hot while retaining the full flavor than using a glass carafe with a hot plate. All the plastics used are BPA-free.
For some, this unit might be overly simple – there is little scope for changing the brewing parameters.
Also, the style is very functional, and some people might prefer a brewer that looks more interesting.
- Extremely simple to use
- Great value for money – half the price of some premium models
- Makes excellent coffee – no compromise on flavor
- Controls temperature accurately with a powerful heater
- Maybe too simplistic for some
- The classic look might be considered a little boring
4. Behmor 5393 Brazen Plus Temperature Control Coffee Maker
This model from Behmor measures 9” x 9” x 15.25” and weighs 10lbs. It has a 40oz water reservoir – enough to brew up to eight 5oz cups.
It includes several features that allow you to customize coffee to brew the way you like it.
This brewer has a powerful 1400-watt heater and customizable temperature control.
Although the recommended temperature for brewing coffee is 195-205°F, this machine allows you to select 190-210°F (with 1° accuracy), giving you greater control over the brewing process.
Water is delivered via a large shower head with a pulsing water flow for more uniform extraction.
The pre-soak function for optimum coffee bloom can be set from 15 seconds to up to four minutes.
This unit comes with a double-walled thermal carafe and includes altitude calibration for brewing when above sea level.
One issue with this unit is its potential lifespan – if you want a machine that will last many years, you might choose to look elsewhere.
Also, compared with some other models, we find some of the design features to be less ergonomic.
- More control over variables than other models
- Large showerhead for uniform saturation
- Pre-soak bloom option can be set from 15 seconds to four minutes
- Double-walled thermal carafe
- Pulsing water flow
- May not last as long as some more expensive models
- Not as ergonomic as some of the other options
5. BUNN HB Heat N Brew Programmable Coffee Maker
This coffee maker measures 9.7” x 8.7” x 16.3” and weighs 8.5lbs.
It can make a 10-cup carafe in 10 minutes, features an auto-warmer plate that shuts off after two hours, and a programmable timer. It comes with a three-year warranty.
The main feature of this unit for optimum brewing is the “Heat N’ Brew” system that heats water to the perfect temperature before it begins the extraction process. This ensures the coffee comes out aromatic and delicious.
We appreciate the programmable start feature – this is always a great addition – and the drip-free, shatter-resistant carafe will help avoid unnecessary spillages.
If anything, this machine lacks some of the features of more advanced machines that allow for the very best brewing, although it still makes a very good pot of coffee.
One issue is that you can’t interrupt the brewing cycle, so you need to wait until the end before you can pour your drink.
- Simple design, easy to use
- Programmable timer allows you to have coffee waiting when your morning alarm sounds
- Heat N’ Brew system ensures water is at the optimum temperature for brewing
- Drip-free, shatter-proof carafe to avoid the mess
- Three-year warranty
- Must wait until the end of the whole brewing cycle before pouring
- Lacks more advanced features that provide the very best brews
All great options – and one winner
We’ve enjoyed reviewing the best SCAA certified coffee makers for you.
Any brewer that is SCAA approved is guaranteed to make a great cup, but for us, the overall winner, with a combination of perfect brew and ease of use, is the Technivorm Moccamaster, a highly recommended machine.
Which brewer do you use? Do you have an SCAA certified machine or something else?
If you have anything to add, please leave us a comment – we always love hearing from you. And if you enjoyed reading, please don’t forget to share!