All About SCA Certified Coffee Makers - A Coffee Lovers Guide!

All About SCA Certified Coffee Makers – A Coffee Lovers Guide!

This article is all about SCA Certified Coffee Makers and what a Specialty Coffee Association of America Certified coffee make is, what being SCA certified means and what the criteria to be SCAA certified is.

I’ll also talk about how to pick a SCAA certified coffee maker and the details that you need to consider if you are thinking of a certified coffee maker.

Pull up a chair and keep reading as we dive into this topic, starting with….

What Does SCAA Certified Mean?

The SCAA (now just called the SCA) is the Specialty Coffee Association Of America, was formed in 1982 as a non-profit trade organisation for those in the specialty coffee industry. Currently, it has members in 40 different countries representing roasters, producers, exporters, importers and retailers.

In January 2017, the SCAA and their European counterpart the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe merged to form the SCA to be known simply as the Specialty Coffee Association. Currently, they have 10,000 active members.

They have training courses for baristas, and, of course, the subject of this article, certification of specialty coffee makers.

To get certified, the coffee makers need to meet a set standard for brewing time, proper water temperature and meet the SCA Golden Cup recommendations in order to get certified.

Let’s now talk about the criteria.

What Does SCAA Certified Mean
SCA Certified home brewer logo

Read: Moccamaster coffee ratio

What Is The Criteria To Be SCA Certified?

Drip coffee makers have in recent years become more complex than their 1980s and 1990s counterparts where all that a drip coffee machine did was heat water and then drip over the coffee grounds which were held in a paper filter.

Fast-forward to today.

The best models have temperature gates, and temperature control, a pre-infusion step and the ability to hold, and even maintain a preprogrammed brewing temperature.

Due to the complexity of various models, the SCA has an exact specification that coffee makers must meet in order to be certified by them.

The ideal brewing temperature is from 195F to 205F (92C to 96C) and must be able to hold that temperature in the carafe for half an hour post brew cycle.

The brew cycle should not take any less than 4 minutes with 8 minutes as the maximum amount of time allowed for the drawdown.

Pre-Infusion, since we touched on it earlier, is not part of the criteria set out by the SCA (or SCAA). However, it is an important step and, in my opinion, it is something that they should add. Pre-infusion is something you may know as blooming or just “bloom” of your coffee grounds. It is the process of degassing your grounds of carbon dioxide, and it does affect the taste of your resulting coffee. Some of the better drip coffee makers do have a pre-infusion step included.

Extraction, the minimum requirement related to the solubles concentration which is set at 1.15% and 1.35% extraction measured as a yield of the solubles which is between 18% to 22% when measured as the weight of coffee in your brew basket, which is determined and measured with a coffee refractometer and a brewing control chart.

Which is geek speak for your coffee maker being able to make a consistently good cup of coffee.

What Is The Criteria To Be SCA Certified
You can be assured of a great cup of coffee with a SCA certified machine

Read: Percolator vs Drip

How To Pick A Coffee Maker That Is SCAA Certified

Picking a coffee maker that is SCA (SCAA) certified can be a little tricky as many different coffee makers from a number of manufacturers have made the rigorous requirements become certified and do, according to their standards, make a great cup of coffee.

I’ve already outlined above what is required to meet their standard, let’s talk about what you should look for and consider in SCAA coffee makers.

The Capacity

Who do you make coffee for? Are you making a cup of coffee for yourself only or are you making pot of coffee for many people and what are their coffee drinking habits.

Do you need an 8 cup, 10 cup or 12 cup coffee machine to meet your requirements?

Do you want something that keeps your coffee warm or are you happy for it to sit there and cool down?

It will defeat the purpose of buying a larger coffee maker when you are just making one cup at a time. There are options on machines that have the ability to select a single cup of coffee, a full pot of coffee or just a half pot of coffee without making any compromises on the quality of extraction.

Give serious consideration to the capacity.

Brewing Time

Brewing time is how quickly your machine is going to whip you up a coffee, and, to a degree, how much patience you have.

A fine example of which is your morning coffee and does it take too long to brew or do you have the patience to wait for it to be ready?

This also depends on what kind of coffee you like in the mornings. It shouldn’t be too much of an issue – set it up, jump in the shower and have your machine brewing away while you are in there.

Glass Or Thermal Carafe?

The type of carafe that comes with your coffee maker has an effect on the coffee and, in my opinion, a much better coffee is brewed with a glass carafe. Thermal carafes have their purpose and do help to keep your coffee hot for a minimum of half an hour to meet the SCAA certification standard. Most of them will be able to keep your coffee hot for a couple of hours.

A glass carafe, which is generally less expensive and do a much better job at keeping your coffee piping hot.

The drawback is the heated hot plate that has a tendency to stew your coffee and you ending up with an overtly bitter coffee. There is also the aspect of wasting energy.

If you are making just one cup of coffee or using it straight away, a glass carafe will be your best choice. If you wash fresh tasting coffee hours later, a thermal carafe will be what you are looking for.

There is of course, no harm is having both since a glass carafe is cheap enough to buy.

A thermal carafe is, as you would expect made of stainless steel and does not compromise the flavor at all in anyway.

Glass Or Thermal Carafe
A glass carafe is best.

Settings And Features

Modern coffee makers have various settings and features which allow you to control the brew temperature, pre-infusion, and a lot more. These settings allow you to customise your coffee to exactly how you like it to be.

Long gone are the days where all you have to do is switch it on and that is all. One touch brewing is still an option if that is what suits you, if that is the case you have no need for a complex coffee brewer that such programmable features.


You’ve heard it all before, size matters! Be sure to check the dimensions of the coffee machine and check if you actually do have space for it and that it does not take up too much space.


this also refers to the volume and how much coffee you can make and the size of the carafe. If you are making coffee for a lot of people then a 10 to 12 cup carafe will be more suitable. If you are only make coffee for yourself, then a smaller sized carafe is more ideal.

Cheapest SCA Coffee Maker

The cheapest and best priced SCA coffee maker in terms of quality and being SCA certified is the Moccamaster.

It is not the cheapest drip coffee maker or pour over coffee maker, nor is it the lowest priced SCA certified coffee maker of the type. It is best priced in terms of quality and getting more bang for your buck.

Is Ninja SCA Certified?


the Ninja specialty coffee maker is SCA certified as it has been inspected and has passed the certification standard by the specialty coffee association.

What Is The Golden Cup Standard?

The golden cup standard is a standard set by teh SCA which is related to the strength of the brew and is a measurement of the total dissolved solids of 11.5 to 13.5 grams per liter or 1.15 to 1.35% of the Brewing control chart.

What Is Considered Specialty Coffee?

Since the topic has been touched on with the use of the word specialty coffee in this article it is only fair to address this question.

Speciality coffee is any coffee that achieves a score of 80 points on a 100 point scale. Typically, it is grown at an elevated altitude and cultivated with a lot of care and attention from the coffee growers and, once the quality is achieved, is sold at a premium price to traders or directly to coffee roaster that deal in specialty coffee.

Final Thoughts, Frappé-Ing It All Up, SCA Certified Coffee Makers

There are many SCA certified coffee makers that meet their rigorous standards and you can be assured that the ones that do will make you great cups of coffee for many years to come. If you are new on your coffee journey and unsure how to select a good coffee maker, one that is certified by the SCA is a great starting point.

The Moccamaster is most certainly one of the better SCA certifed one.

Coffee is love, it's more than love — it's a passion of mine. I've had the luck to have travelled and enjoyed the most exotic of coffee's and unique flavors, brewing methods and techniques of making the perfect coffee from Thai hill tribe coffee to Indonesian volcanic coffee, Malaysian coffee that comes in a tea bag and the array of flavors in Vietnam, from Vanilla to Orange to Coconut to Avocado to even salt coffee and the famous egg coffee. The best part of my coffee adventures is getting to mix with the locals over a nice brew and learning how they make it! I'm cited and referenced on Google Scholar for the topic of coffee.

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