Every coffee maker out there is capable of producing a seemingly decent cup of coffee – it’s what they’re made to do, after all – and if you’re okay with drinking mediocre coffee, by all means, go ahead.
However, if you’re looking for premium quality and rich flavor cup after cup, you should give SCA certified coffee makers a try.
Here’s all you need to know!
Now, when we know exactly what to look, it’s time to review and compare the popular products on the market.
I’m going to compare the top recommended picks, consider the online reviews and opinions, and come up with the best picks.
Let’s dive in!
The Best SCA-Approved Coffee Makers
- Bonavita Coffee Maker BV1900TS
- OXO BREW 9 Cup Coffee Maker
- Technivorm Moccamaster Coffee Brewer
- Cuisinart PurePrecision Coffee Brewer
- Behmor Connected Coffee Maker
- BUNN HB Heat N Brew Programmable Coffee Maker
- Braun MultiServe Coffee Machine
- Breville Precision Brewer Coffee Maker
- Brim 8 Cup Pour Over Coffee Maker
The SCAA-certified products can get a bit pricey, which is why I decided to start with an affordable model. You still have options, even if you’re working with a tight budget.
The Bonavita offers some handy features, including smooth, one-touch operation and the fact that the unit shuts off automatically. On top of that, thanks to the optional pre-infusion mode, it also allows you to pre-soak the coffee grounds and let them „bloom.“
Oh, and since a lot of parts have a “dishwasher-safe” label, clean-up is a breeze, too.
All the problems I’ve had with this coffee maker are tightly related to the carafe. First off, you’re meant to use it to fill the water tank – but it doesn’t work. I’ve tried it over and over again, and every time I had to clean a puddle of water from the kitchen counter.
Furthermore, due to its poor design, getting those last bits of coffee is near impossible – it gets trapped inside the lip every single time. The only way to work around it is to turn the carafe upside down completely. It’s not a huge issue, but it’s worth mentioning, nonetheless.
OXO BREW 9 Cup Coffee Maker
If you’re looking for an SCA-certified coffee maker that not only looks aesthetically pleasing but performs exceptionally well, too, the OXO On Barista Brain might be the perfect choice for you.
Controlled by a microprocessor, this coffee maker is more than “just a pretty face” – it has the Brains, too.
And yes, that pun was intended. All jokes aside, though, it’s packed with some handy features, such as adjustable brewing temperature, programmable wake-up timer, as well as freshness countdown.
It doesn’t stop at making coffee, either – it will make tea and other hot beverages like it’s nobody’s business!
Now, before you get carried away, you should know that this model comes with a not-so-affordable price tag, so make sure you check in with your wallet before you hit that “Add to Cart” button.
Another issue you should be aware of is the size of this coffee maker – it’s by no means a small unit.
So, if you’re struggling to fit all your appliances on your kitchen counter as it is, you might want to skip this one.
Technivorm Moccamaster Coffee Brewer
If you don’t mind spending a small fortune on a coffee maker, you should consider the Technivorm Moccamaster.
The adjustable brew basket has to be my favorite feature – not only can you steep your coffee a bit longer if you’d like, but thanks to the drip-stop feature you can stop it mid-brew to pour a cup, as well.
Now, in case you were worried about all the plastic parts found in the unit, especially the reservoir, you should know that they’re all made from BPA and Phthalate-free plastic.
Furthermore, the heating tank itself is made from stainless steel, so you don’t have to worry about your coffee having a plastic taste.
Oh, and once it’s done brewing your coffee, the warming plate will keep it at an optimal temperature for up to 100 minutes!
My main concern is the price – it’s fair to say that it’s not for everyone’s pocket.
One other thing I didn’t quite like is the carafe – I can’t shake off the feeling that it’s a bit too flimsy. And at this price point, having parts that don’t seem like they’ll last very long is unforgivable.
Cuisinart PurePrecision 8 Cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer with Thermal Carafe
If style is a major concern, I suggest that you consider choosing this coffee maker.
This will be an elegant addition to any space and is sure to turn heads when you have guests around. This is the perfect example of how form meets function
There are options to customize your drink based on what you want.
For instance, there is a flavor strength control, which will allow you to choose from mild, medium, or bold, depending on what tickles your taste buds.
The timer can also be programmed up to 24 hours in advance. Plus, there is an automatic on and off feature. You can also pause the brewing process.
Have you ever had a bad-tasting coffee?
With this coffee maker, I assure you, that won’t be the case!
One of the reasons for this is the charcoal water filter, which will effectively get rid of the impurities in the water for a fuller flavor of your caffeine fix.
There is also a stainless steel permanent filter that is laser-etched, as well as a paper filter.
Behmor Connected Coffee Maker (Control Using a Mobile App)
We are living in a digital era where this coffee maker has its perfect place!
It offers wireless control, which makes it the perfect choice for a contemporary space.
All that you have to do is to download a compatible mobile app to unlock the full potential of this coffee maker, including integration with Amazon Alexa.
The latter allows you to control the machine with the use of your voice. Meanwhile, the mobile app can be used for setting the brewing temperature, altitude, and brew strength.
To ensure the best flavor and aroma of your coffee, it comes with a pulsed water flow design. The latter allows the full saturation of the coffee grounds to optimize its taste.
Personally, I also liked the design of the carafe. It is made of stainless and comes with a double wall insulation, which is the one responsible for maintaining precise temperature, so you can enjoy your coffee hot!
However, one of the drawbacks is its price.
For a coffee maker with advanced features, expect that it will be more expensive than those with basic functions. Nonetheless, I assure you, the cost can be justified!
BUNN HB Heat N Brew Programmable Coffee Maker
This is not your traditional coffee maker. What makes this unique is the Heat & Release technology, which has been exclusively developed by the manufacturer.
With the latter, there is a digital thermometer to ensure the precise temperature of the water when brewing your coffee.
The thoughtful design is also worth noting, which puts an emphasis on your needs. It comes with a drip-free carafe with an ergonomic handle.
The controls are also strategically positioned. Cleaning the coffee maker will not require too much on your end.
For your peace of mind, the coffee maker is covered by a three-year warranty from the manufacturer.
Hate drinking cold coffee? Such will not be a problem with the use of this product.
There is an auto warmer plate to keep the drink hot. However, the warming function will automatically turn off after two hours.
Aside from the price, one of the issues with this product is its height.
It is quite taller compared to conventional models, which will make it challenging to store if you have a small cabinet.
Braun MultiServe Coffee Machine (Summer & Winter Delight Creator)
Braun is the trademark for quality appliances, and their best take in this category is the MultiServe coffee machine.
Owning a coffee machine with a TempSensor System means that you do not need to worry about hitting the right temperature, speed, or time of the brew.
There are three sensors that closely monitor the temperature, and the Brew Choice Plus system allows you to switch between four modes at a click of a button (Over Ice, Light, Gold, Bold).
Next, the ExactBrew System automatically calculates the optimal settings and potentiates smooth water flow. The final bit of this network of features is the FastBrew exclusive heating technology that delivers a full pot of coffee in under eight minutes.
That’s right – within moments, you’ll have a quality brew for your whole family or friends.
There is no need to worry about the freshness of your coffee – the indicator on the display will signalize once it’s sitting for too long in the pot.
For your safety, this SCA-certified home brewer features a hot surface indicator light below the hot plate that will remain illuminated until the hot plate cools down (it will do so even if you turn off the appliance).
You can select 7 different sizes of brew. Should you opt for a full carafe, you’ll be pleased, as the unique long & narrow shape of the carafe traps moisture and eliminates any possible bitter taste.
Such a long carafe comes at the expense of weight and height of this appliance, though, so it can be a bit difficult to store.
Breville Precision Brewer Coffee Maker (For Fresh Coffee-Flavored Mornings)
Yes, it is a fact – you’ll be paying a steep price with the Breville BDC450 coffee maker.
But what is important is that it is worth every penny if you’re willing to invest in a high-quality coffee maker.
The Breville’s patent steep & release valve holds the water when you’re brewing small cup volumes, and it is coupled with a wide-neck carafe for larger quantities.
As its nickname suggests, this brewer is precise and automatically adjusts the water temperature and time of the brew in gold cup preset mode, meeting, if not exceeding, the SCA standards.
At first, I thought that the fact that the carafe was not removable was going to be a problem, but it wasn’t, as the maker is very easy to clean and maintain.
A unique thing about this coffee maker is that it uses similar components to those of an espresso machine. The water is not boiled in the heated metal coil of the pipe, but in a thermal block where it gets from the electric pump.
Another feature that I liked is the automatic shutoff, so I can program it the night before, and treat myself to fresh brew the next morning.
The only downside is that it leaves around ⅓ cup of water in the filler basket after brewing, which I believe results from an auto-shutoff valve. This is not the case if you use the carafe; it only occurs with a few cups.
Brim 8 Cup Pour Over Coffee Maker (The Perfected Art of Home-Brewed Coffee)
Say hello to one of the best coffee makers with a pour-over shower head for the even coffee bed saturation by Brim.
The precise and delicate technology implemented into the design of this coffee maker results in a smooth and delicious flavor with a traditional technique that Brim’s line of coffee makers delivers since 1961.
One of my favorite things about this coffee maker is its reliability. The perfected brew temperature from 197.6 to 204.8°F ensures optimal extraction and premium quality, And 176° is ideal for keeping your coffee warm with no effects on the taste and without burning.
Each stage of the process is carefully controlled, from grinding, measuring, to the brewing itself.
By the way, it has a permanent filter, which means that you don’t need any additional paper filters.
What is more, you can brew any amount of coffee up to eight cups in a matter of minutes, so another ode goes to the productivity and functionality of this coffee maker.
Lastly, it looks great on your kitchen counter, and the Satin Copper variant got extra points from me for its sleek design.
Not only is the main unit beautifully designed, but the carafe, too. It features a removable cool-touch silicone sleeve for an easy grip even when the coffee is hot.
The only downside I noticed is that the carafe feels a bit less durable than with the other models. This can be subjective, though, but the plastic that was used does not seem that reliable. But if anything happens, it’s good to know that you’re covered under a 2-year warranty.
First Things First: What Is The SCA?
Okay, before we go any further, I should take the time to explain what the SCAA is and what it stands for – but since you’re already here, looking to buy one of the best SCAA-certified coffee makers, I’m pretty sure you already know that these guys mean business.
Anyway, the Specialty Coffee Association of America is an organization with an apparent goal in mind – to set new standards and raise the bar on all aspects of gourmet coffee.
Their focus is on using the best coffee beans, the right roast for achieving maximum flavor, and even something that’s often overlooked – the water you use for making coffee.
Most importantly, though, they take the time to subject coffee makers to a series of tests and evaluate their performance – those lucky few that pass the test end up on the SCAA-certified list.
UPDATE: The SCAA is now called the SCA. Before, it stands for Specialty Coffee Association of America. Now, it is only Specialty Coffee Association, which makes it more globally inclusive. It merged with the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe and now has more than 10,000 members.
To be specific, based on the website of the SCA, their mission statement reads:
“Engage, inspire, and expand a sustainable global specialty coffee trade through leadership in events, education, and research.”
The organization aspires to build a community where sustainability is the main goal. They are geared towards unifying the forces within the coffee industry to raise the global standards. The community includes even farmers, making sure of their ethical work standards.
What Are The Requirements?
Now, you should probably be aware that most SCAA-certified products come with a not-so-affordable price tag, but with the extensive amount of tests they have to undergo – and pass with flying colors – rest assured that they’re worth every penny.
Here are the requirements that should be met:
During the first minute of the brewing process, the water should reach a temperature of 197.6 degrees Fahrenheit (92 degrees Celsius), and maintain at least that minimum throughout the process, without going over the 204.8-degree (96 degrees Celsius) mark, even when you’re brewing a full pot.
Moreover, the unit has to feature a resistive temperature device that will allow you to regulate the temperature according to your preference.
The SCAA requires that the brewing time takes no less than four and no more than eight minutes to achieve the best possible results, and get their “seal of approval.“
Uniformity of Performance
One way to ensure consistent results cup after cup is to take anywhere between 5 to 10 units of the same coffee maker model, subject them to numerous brew cycles, and see if they’ll deliver the same quality cup of coffee each time.
Uniformity of Extraction
The principle here is pretty similar to the one mentioned when I was explaining the tests the SCAA does to determine the consistency of performance. The difference, however, is the fact that here they’re looking at the amount of soluble solids found in the coffee versus the actual grounds.
They’re checking for uniformity of extraction. They test whether or not the grounds are saturated evenly throughout the basket.
As per the SCA Golden Cup Standard, the coffee maker should produce less than 75 milligrams of sediment per 100 milliliters of coffee. More than that and the brewer doesn’t make the cut.
Holding Receptacle and Temperature
First off, the carafe has to be able to hold all the coffee brewed using a full water reservoir – and by “full“ I mean filled to its maximum capacity. For instance, if the coffee maker has a 10-cup water tank, the carafe should have a no less than a 10-cup capacity, as well. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a kitchen countertop flooded with coffee.
Furthermore, it has to maintain an optimal temperature without increasing it and possibly burning your coffee in the process. The general guidelines are that the carafe should keep your coffee at a temperature above 176 degrees Fahrenheit (80 degrees Celsius), without going over the 185-degree (85 degrees Celsius) mark during the initial 30 minutes after brewing your coffee.
Comprehensive User Manuals
To achieve a seal of approval from the SCA, the manual should include not only the basic stuff such as the right coffee to water ratio and care and maintenance instructions but all the other essential tips you might need to get the best possible user experience, as well.
The list of SCAA-certified coffee makers is a short one, indeed, which is a good thing – at least you don’t have to deal with an overwhelming number of models to choose from, right?
However, that doesn’t mean it’s an easy choice to make. When you’re about to spend a small fortune on a coffee maker, you have to be sure it’s worth every penny – and the OXO BREW 9 Cup Coffee Maker sure is.
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