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7 SCAA Certified Coffee Makers (Top Machines Approved by the Experts)

SCAA certification is the highest honor that one can bestow on a coffee maker. This approval isn’t focused on how cool the machine looks or what kind of tech it features, but the ability to make a quality cup of coffee.

Here’s an introduction to how the certification process works and a few of the best SCAA certified coffee makers for 2021.

Photo_GlassCarafeDarkBackground_SCAACoffeeMakers

Technivorm Moccamaster KBT Coffee Brewer

“Technivorm
  • Engineered and hand-assembled in the Netherlands
  • Copper boiling element for consistent brewing temperature
  • Thermal carafe with travel lid

What Makes an SCAA Drip Coffee Maker?

The Specialty Coffee Association of America is a non-profit organization focused on sharing coffee knowledge and defining coffee standards to pursue the perfect cup. 

The Specialty Coffee Association takes great pride in its history of investigating the scientific principles of coffee – from chemistry and physics to agronomy and sensory perception. – SCA.org

The standards they’ve compiled relate to each step in the process: green coffee, cupping, roasting, water quality, and finally brewing. It’s this last step we’re looking at here.

To meet the Golden Cup standard, a coffee maker will need to achieve the right results in a series of specialized tests. And not just once. The SCAA will test 5 of the same coffee machines (10 if it’s a model that’s never been submitted before). They then run some tests up to 10 times on each machine.

scaa testing requirements

Coffee volume

This test isn’t precisely to see how much coffee the machine will make, but whether it can brew with the right ratio. This takes into account the size of both the brew basket and the carafe. To meet the Gold Cup Ratio, the machine needs to hold 55 grams of coffee for each liter at total capacity, without the basket overflowing.

Brewing time

A brewer on this list needs to brew an entire pot of coffee in between 4 and 8 minutes when using the machine’s standard settings. This isn’t about convenience for the user but about regulating the coffee’s time with the grounds to ensure the best extraction. 

Brewing temperature

The general recommendations for brewing water temperature are between 195 and 205F (1), but the SCAA demands a more specific 197.6 to 204.8F (92-96C). The water must be at least 197.6 F during the first minute of contact with the coffee grounds and remain within the minimum and maximum temperatures for the entire brewing cycle. This only refers to the brewing water temperature, not the coffee’s temperature in the carafe.

Uniformity of Performance

It’s all fine and well if your coffee maker can make a good cup once but will it be able to do it ten times in a row? Also, if you put two of the same machines next to each other, will they both give you the same quality cup? The SCAA runs each machine through 10 brew cycles and tests each cup for the concentration of solubles.

Holding Receptacle & Temperature

This may sound like an obvious one, but the SCAA needs to ensure that the capacity of the carafe matches the water reservoir. There’s no point in a 12 cup coffee maker if the carafe only holds 10 cups. In the case of machines that use a hotplate, it needs to keep the coffee warm without burning it. During the first 30 minutes, the temperature must remain between 176 and 185 F (80-85C), and at no time should there be an increase in temperature.

These tests are just the tip of the iceberg. Coffee makers also need to be tested for beverage preparation (brew strength), uniformity of extraction, beverage clarity (sediment), and even the quality of the instruction manuals (2).

We should point out that although this certification signifies high quality, it doesn’t mean that all uncertified machines are bad. Brands need to pay a fee in the thousands of dollars and provide the machines for testing. Some companies might decide it’s not worth the money to enter the certified home brewer program.

Looking for SCAA approved brewers from previous years? See our review of the Kichen Aid KCM0802 and the Behmor Brazen review.

What to Look For When Buying a Gold Standard Coffee Maker 

Buying an SCAA certified coffee maker will assure you that your machine meets the best standards for brewing. But you still need to choose something that will work for your needs and budget. Before you make your decision, here are a few things to consider.

Capacity – the drip coffee machine is an excellent choice for batch brewing but not always helpful in making smaller quantities of coffee. If you want the option to brew smaller batches, check if your coffee maker has an option for a half carafe or single serves. 

Versatility – a one-touch machine is incredibly convenient, but there’s more than one way to make a great cup of coffee. If you’re interested in experimenting with your brew or exploring the coffee flavor wheel, you’ll need a coffee maker that allows you to change some of the brew settings. These might include brew temperature, flow rate, and optional pre-infusion cycle.

Carafe – traditional drip coffee machine featurew a glass carafe with a hotplate underneath to keep the coffee hot after brewing. The downside to this is that the coffee can become burnt-tasting after time. The alternative is a stainless steel thermal carafe, which keeps coffee warm through insulation rather than a direct heat source.

The Best SCAA Certified Coffee Makers in 2021

The rigorous testing process means that the list of approved coffee makers isn’t a long one. But among the 30 or so that made the grade, here are our favorite brands and brewers with SCAA certification.

product details Button
Best Overall Technivorm Moccamaster KBT 10-Cup Technivorm Moccamaster KBT Coffee Brewer
  • Material: Metal, plastic
  • Dimensions: 6.7 x 13 x 16.1 inches
  • Capacity: 40 oz
amazon-logo SEE ON AMAZON
Best Temperature Control Breville BDC450 Precision Brewer Breville BDC450 Precision Brewer Coffee Maker
  • Material: Stainless steel, plastic
  • Dimensions: 14 x 9 x 16 inches
  • Capacity: 60 oz
amazon-logo SEE ON AMAZON
Best Thermal Carafe OXO Brew 9-Cup Coffee Maker OXO Brew 9-Cup Coffee Maker
  • Material: Stainless steel, plastic
  • Dimensions: 8.3 x 15 x 17.2 inches
  • Capacity: 45 oz
amazon-logo SEE ON AMAZON
Budget Pick Bonavita 8 Cup BV1900TS Bonavita BV1900TS One-Touch
  • Material: Stainless steel, plastic
  • Dimensions: 12.4 x 6.8 x 12.2 inches
  • Capacity: 44 oz
amazon-logo SEE ON AMAZON
Best Value for Money cuisinart-cpo-850-scaa-certified-drip-coffee-maker.jpg Cuisinart PurePrecision CPO-850
  • Material: Stainless steel, plastic
  • Dimensions: 12 x 7.5 x 13.5 inches
  • Capacity: 64 oz
amazon-logo SEE ON AMAZON
Best for Pour Over Lovers Brim 8 Cup Pour Over Brim 8 Cup Pour Over
  • Material: Glass, silicone, stainless steel
  • Dimensions: 12. x 6 x 12.8 inches
  • Capacity: 41 oz
amazon-logo SEE ON AMAZON
Most Versatile Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker CM401 Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker CM401
  • Material: Stainless steel, glass, plastic
  • Dimensions: 12 x 8.8 x 15 inches
  • Capacity: 50 oz
amazon-logo SEE ON AMAZON
Best Smart Brewer Café Specialty Drip Coffee Maker Café Specialty Drip Coffee Maker
  • Café Specialty Drip Coffee Maker
  • Dimensions: 12.5 x 7.3 x 14 inches
  • Capacity: 45 oz
amazon-logo SEE ON AMAZON
Technivorm Moccamaster KBT Coffee Brewer
Best Overall Technivorm Moccamaster KBT 10-Cup
  • Material: Metal, plastic
  • Dimensions: 6.7 x 13 x 16.1 inches
  • Capacity: 40 oz
Breville BDC450 Precision Brewer Coffee Maker
Best Temperature Control Breville BDC450 Precision Brewer
  • Material: Stainless steel, plastic
  • Dimensions: 14 x 9 x 16 inches
  • Capacity: 60 oz
OXO Brew 9-Cup Coffee Maker
Best Thermal Carafe OXO Brew 9-Cup Coffee Maker
  • Material: Stainless steel, plastic
  • Dimensions: 8.3 x 15 x 17.2 inches
  • Capacity: 45 oz
Bonavita BV1900TS One-Touch
Budget Pick Bonavita 8 Cup BV1900TS
  • Material: Stainless steel, plastic
  • Dimensions: 12.4 x 6.8 x 12.2 inches
  • Capacity: 44 oz
Cuisinart PurePrecision CPO-850
Best Value for Money cuisinart-cpo-850-scaa-certified-drip-coffee-maker.jpg
  • Material: Stainless steel, plastic
  • Dimensions: 12 x 7.5 x 13.5 inches
  • Capacity: 64 oz
Brim 8 Cup Pour Over
Best for Pour Over Lovers Brim 8 Cup Pour Over
  • Material: Glass, silicone, stainless steel
  • Dimensions: 12. x 6 x 12.8 inches
  • Capacity: 41 oz
Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker CM401
Most Versatile Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker CM401
  • Material: Stainless steel, glass, plastic
  • Dimensions: 12 x 8.8 x 15 inches
  • Capacity: 50 oz
Café Specialty Drip Coffee Maker
Best Smart Brewer Café Specialty Drip Coffee Maker
  • Café Specialty Drip Coffee Maker
  • Dimensions: 12.5 x 7.3 x 14 inches
  • Capacity: 45 oz

1. Technivorm Moccamaster KBT Coffee Brewer – Best Overall

Technivorm Moccamaster KBT Coffee Brewer

Specifications

  • Material: Metal, plastic

  • Dimensions: 6.7 x 13 x 16.1 inches
  • Capacity: 40 oz
  • Carafe: Thermal
  • Filter: Basket

It’s probably not surprising to see a Technivorm machine at the top of the list. The Dutch brand has been built on a commitment to quality materials and precise engineering. These hand-assembled machines are designed to be as true to the manual brewing process as possible. Some people say the resulting coffee is indistinguishable from a pour-over coffee maker.

The Moccamaster KBT isn’t the only SCAA-certified coffee maker the brand has, but there’s a lot to love about this machine. The “T” in the name signifies a thermal carafe, which will keep your coffee hot for up to an hour. The carafe includes a travel lid, which makes it more portable and helps to keep the heat in.

It’s simple to operate, with just a simple on/off switch on the base. You can adjust the flow speed on the brew basket for either a full jug or half jug. This doesn’t give you much control over coffee brewing, but everything has been set up to work to SCAA standards. A copper element maintains the water temperature at an ideal 196-205 F, and the machine brews a full pot of coffee in just 4-6 minutes.

As of 2021, 12 of Technivorm’s coffee makers are SCA certified. So if the Moccamaster KBT doesn’t quite tick all the boxes for you, or you prefer a hotplate model, there are plenty more to choose from.

For a full rundown of all the features, head over to our Technivorm Moccamaster review.

2. Breville BDC450 Precision Brewer Coffee Maker – Best Temperature Control

Breville BDC450 Precision Brewer Coffee Maker

Specifications

  • Material: Stainless steel, plastic

  • Dimensions: 14 x 9 x 16 inches
  • Capacity: 60 oz
  • Carafe: Thermal
  • Filter: Cone and flat bottom baskets

The correct water temperature is one of the key demands of the SCAA testing process, so getting this right is essential for any brand that wants to be on this list. The Breville Precision Brewer achieves this by using a PID temperature control, which is more accurate and stable than a traditional thermostat (3). In this case, the PID also allows you to select your preferred temperature.

The Breville Precision Brewer is an incredibly versatile machine with the ability to control many variables in the coffee brewing process. In addition to the temperature, you can adjust the bloom time and flow rate. The machine includes both cone shape and flat bottom filter baskets to bring out different flavors in the beans (4).

All these options add to the price tag, so this might not be the best machine for someone who isn’t interested in experimenting. But if you are worried about what your settings should be, start with the Gold brew preset. This refers to the Golden Cup standard and will adjust the machine’s settings to meet SCAA requirements.

Both the glass and thermal carafe versions of this particular machine have achieved certification. If you don’t need to keep your coffee warm for long periods, you can save a bit of money by getting the same settings with the glass carafe.

3. OXO Brew 9-Cup Coffee Maker – Best Thermal Carafe

OXO Brew 9-Cup Coffee Maker

Specifications

  • Material: Stainless steel, plastic

  • Dimensions: 8.3 x 15 x 17.2 inches
  • Capacity: 45 oz
  • Carafe: Thermal
  • Filter: Cone shaped basket

This clever coffee maker was originally released the OXO On Barista Brain, with the idea that this machine will make you a barista-quality brew. This comes thanks to a range of features that help mimic the manual pour over brewer process.

The brewer features a rainmaker showerhead, which helps to disperse water evenly over the grounds. A microprocessor controls what’s known as a pulse brew, releasing the water intervals as you would if you were brewing manually. 

Alongside a double-walled thermal carafe, the OXO Brew includes a 60-minute freshness timer. 

Once the brew cycle is finished, the timer automatically starts, telling you how long the coffee has been sitting. The timer runs up to one hour, after which the machine has an auto shut-off. But don’t worry. Even with the machine switched off the insulated carafe will keep your coffee warm.

A newer model of this machine has also been SCAA approved: the Oxo Brew 8 Cup. The standout feature of this slightly smaller model is the optional single serve basket that allows you to brew just one cup without sacrificing flavor. With this option, you’ll miss out on the 9-Cup’s LCD screen and programmable timer.

If it sounds like this could be the machine for you, check out our full OXO On coffee maker review.

4. Bonavita BV1900TS One-Touch – Budget Pick

Bonavita BV1900TS One-Touch

Specifications

  • Material: Stainless steel, plastic

  • Dimensions: 12.4 x 6.8 x 12.2 inches
  • Capacity: 44 oz
  • Carafe: Thermal
  • Filter: Flat-bottom basket

This is a simple one-touch machine that will get you a consistent cup of coffee without any fuss. An on/off switch at the base is all you need to start the brewing process, but you can hold and press for an optional pre-infusion mode. Using this mode will wet the grounds to allow for a period of degassing before dispensing the water again to begin the brewing stage.

This Bonavita coffee maker uses a large shower head that delivers better saturation of the grounds and a flat-bottom filter basket that sits directly on top of the carafe rather than inside the machine. This design minimizes the distance the coffee has to travel so you don’t lose any heat, but it does mean that you need to be a little careful when removing the carafe along with the basket after brewing. 

For a little more programmability (and money), you can upgrade to the BV1900TD. It has the same brewing features but adds a small screen for setting an auto-start time.

Discover all the details of this brewer in our Bonavita BV1900TS review.

5. Cuisinart PurePrecision CPO-850 – Best Value for Money

Cuisinart PurePrecision CPO-850

Specifications

  • Material: Stainless steel, plastic

  • Dimensions: 12 x 7.5 x 13.5 inches
  • Capacity: 64 oz
  • Carafe: Thermal
  • Filter: Permanent stainless steel

This is probably the best Cuisinart coffee maker on the market, and its SCAA certification is well earned. The brewing process is fully automatic, but you do have some control over the strength of the brew and the temperature of the water.

The Cuisinart CPO 850 gives you options for mild, medium, or bold coffee, which essentially speeds up or slows down the water flow to vary the extraction (5). For brew temperature, you have “hot” or “extra hot”. There are no numbers for this, but we can assume both settings will still fall between SCAA requirements. 

You can access a programmable timer from the Cuisinart CPO 850 control panel to set a start time for the machine, adjust the auto shut-off, and start the machine’s cleaning cycle.

The brewing process includes a prewetting stage, and the laser-etched stainless steel filter is said to help extract maximum flavor from the beans. If you’ve chosen the extra-hot setting, you’ll be grateful for the insulated stainless steel carafe. It features a brew-through lid that helps maintain the temperature and prevents oxygen from entering.

However, if you prefer the traditional hotplate, the PurePrecision CPO-800 with glass carafe also has SCAA certification.

6. Brim 8 Cup Pour Over – Best for Pour Over Lovers

Brim 8 Cup Pour Over

Specifications

  • Material: Glass, silicone, stainless steel

  • Dimensions: 12. x 6 x 12.8 inches
  • Capacity: 41 oz
  • Carafe: Glass
  • Filter: Permanent stainless steel

Many of the machines on this list claim to replicate the pour-over method, but the Brim has also emulated the look. Unlike other drip machines, the filter here sits directly on top of the carafe, as you might find with a Chemex.

Unlike a Chemex, you don’t need any skills or knowledge of brewing. The Brim has a simpler operation than many automatic coffee makers. You need to fill it and switch it on, and the machine will do the rest.

Your coffee is made with pulse brewing to allow full blooming of the coffee, and the showerhead provides a more even extraction. This is all done at between 197.6F to 204.8F as per SCAA standards. The keep-warm setting might not be quite what you’re used to, with a temperature of 176F and an auto shut-off after 30 minutes. But as this is meant to be more pour-over coffee than drip coffee, it’s designed to be consumed directly after brewing to retain the best possible taste.

7. Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker CM401 – Most Versatile

Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker CM401

Specifications

  • Material: Stainless steel, glass, plastic

  • Dimensions: 12 x 8.8 x 15 inches
  • Capacity: 50 oz
  • Carafe: Glass
  • Filter: Permanent gold tone filter

Ninja machines are some of the best drip coffee makers for family use, so it’s great to see that a couple of them have made it onto the SCAA approved list. Drip coffee machines are great for their simple operation, but they only make one style of drink. With the Ninja Specialty, you should have enough options to cater to the whole family.

You can make six different brew sizes for the traditional drip lovers, from a single cup up to a full carafe. There’s also a travel mug size for coffee on the go. These coffees come as either classic or rich, which is a slightly stronger brew.

For the fans of cafe-style drinks, you have the specialty brew option. This makes a small, concentrated cup of coffee that can be served as espresso-style or as a base for drinks like cappuccinos and lattes. The Ninja won’t heat the milk, but there is a fold-away milk frother to add that professional touch. 

For households with both coffee and tea drinkers, you might want to look at the Ninja Hot and Cold Brew System, which is also SCAA certified.

8. Café Specialty Drip Coffee Maker – Best Smart Brewer

Café Specialty Drip Coffee Maker

Specifications

  • Material: Stainless steel, plastic

  • Dimensions: 12.5 x 7.3 x 14 inches
  • Capacity: 45 oz
  • Carafe: Thermal
  • Filter: Permanent gold tone

The Café Specialty Coffee Maker is one of the more recently SCAA-certified coffee makers and the only one that features wifi connectivity. With Alexa or Google, you can use the Voice-to-Brew controls or connect to the SmartHQ app for more options.

Even if you skip the wifi, you’ll still find an impressive level of programmability here. Like some of the other coffee machines on our list, you can set the number of cups, the water temperature, and brew strength. 

But what sets the Café Specialty Coffee Maker is the ability to store these settings for later use – no need to change them each time. Like the Breville coffee machine, there’s a Gold preset, which will ensure you are brewing to meet SCAA standards.

When it came to brewing performance, the GE Appliances Cafe crushed it. The coffee maker flew through its brewing cycle with impressive speed on the machine’s default Gold brew cycle. – CNET

It’s not just about user-friendliness either. This brewer will make a great cup of coffee, and it will do it fast, with a brewing time for a full carafe of under 5 minutes (6). 

The one downside here is the price. While it’s not the most expensive coffee machine on the list, it’s close, so you need to consider just how much you’ll use these tech features.

The Verdict

All of these machines will meet the SCAA standards, but it’s hard to go past the Technivorm Moccamaster for the top pick. The great thing about a certification process like this is its confidence when buying a new appliance. We love the slick engineering and quality materials, and the cool design doesn’t hurt either.

Technivorm Moccamaster KBT Coffee Brewer

FAQs

SCAA coffee makers keep their certification for three years after testing. After three years, the entire testing process needs to be repeated. If a company does not submit a coffee maker for retesting or doesn’t pass the test, it can no longer claim to be certified.

There is no difference between an SCAA and SCA certified home brewer. The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) is now part of the international Special Coffee Association (SCA), but the testing methods for home brewers remain the same.

Coffee solubles are the compounds in coffee beans that can be dissolved in water and are essentially what turns your water into a cup of coffee (7). Only around 30% of a coffee bean is soluble, and only 20% of this has a desirable taste. The SCA looks for a 1.15% to 1.45% solubles concentration in these coffee makers in each cup.

Drip coffee is not the same as pour over, but the two methods are similar in theory. Both drip and pour over use the filtration method of extraction. Ground coffee is placed in a filter (often paper) and water is poured over the top, so the coffee is extracted by gravity. With drip coffee, this is a fully automated process. With pour over coffee, everything is done manually, including heating the water, wetting the grounds, and pouring the water. This level of control means that pour over coffee is generally considered superior.

The recommended grind size for a drip coffee maker is a medium grind, however it will depend on your machine. Machines with flat bottom filter baskets generally work best with medium grind, but those with cone shaped filters do better with a medium-fine grind. Regardless of you machine, you’ll probably want to experiment with different grind sizes to perfect your extraction. If you don’t own a grinder, it’s worth noting that most prepackaged ground coffee is sold as a medium grind unless otherwise stated.

References
  1. How to brew coffee. NCA. (n.d.). Retrieved November 15, 2021, from https://www.ncausa.org/About-Coffee/How-to-Brew-Coffee
  2. SCA CHB Program Requirements. Specialty Coffee Association. (n.d.). Retrieved November 15, 2021, from https://sca.coffee/s/2017-SCA-CHB-Program-Requirements-ba6g.pdf
  3. Cotter, P. (2018, October 1). What’s a PID? . Seattle Coffee Gear. Retrieved November 15, 2021, from https://www.seattlecoffeegear.com/blog/2018/10/01/whats-a-pid
  4. Burgess-Yeo, S. (2021, March 6). Can filter basket shape affect the flavor of your coffee? Perfect Daily Grind. Retrieved November 15, 2021, from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2019/02/can-filter-basket-shape-affect-the-flavor-of-your-coffee/
  5. Vassau, M. (2019, September 17). How to control extraction: The key to brewing the world’s Best Coffee. Driven Coffee. Retrieved November 15, 2021, from https://www.drivencoffee.com/blog/how-to-control-extraction-key-to-brewing-the-worlds-best-coffee/
  6. Bennett, B. (2020, November 20). GE Appliances Cafe Specialty Drip Coffee Maker Review. CNET. Retrieved November 15, 2021, from https://www.cnet.com/home/kitchen-and-household/ge-appliances-cafe-specialty-drip-coffee-maker-review-brew-delicious-pots-fast-for-a-steep-price/
  7. An intuitive guide to coffee solubles, extraction and TDS. Handground. (2016, August 2). Retrieved November 15, 2021, from https://handground.com/grind/an-intuitive-guide-to-coffee-solubles-extraction-and-tds

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