The best drip coffee makers can provide both the convenience and taste of good coffee. But there are so many coffee maker models in the market, how can you, an average consumer, verify whether they’re up to standard?
Luckily, there are communities of coffee experts out there like the Specialty Coffee Association [SCA] that has the expertise to help us scale down the endless pool of choices.
In this article, I’ll spill the beans on the 8 best SCAA coffee makers that have made it through a round of their rigid standards to earn the certification and another round of my research to earn a place in this lineup.
The 8 Best SCAA Coffee Makers – How They Compare
Best Programmable Option
Best Automatic Pour-Over
Best Specialty Coffee Experience
Best Precise Customization
Most Size Inclusive
What Is The Specialty Coffee Association?
First, let’s get to know what this community is and why you should trust them with your picks of drip coffee makers.
The Specialty Coffee Association [SCA] is a nonprofit organization that gathers coffee professionals and experts from all over the world to share their knowledge and support the growth of specialty coffee and sustainable coffee activities including growing, trading, and consuming.
This organization was only established very recently in January 2017 as the SCA of America and Europe united as a global community for more impactful collaborative efforts.
What Are SCAA Certified Brewers?
Why is there one extra A in the initialism for the SCA?
That A stands for America. But, since the former SCA of America [SCAA] has joined forces with the SCA of Europe to form the SCA we know today, as I’ve explained above, I will use SCA and SCAA interchangeably throughout the article.
So, what are SCAA certified coffee makers?
These are home brewers that have been reviewed and passed the SCA-certified Home Brewer Program.
The program was developed by the coffee experts and professional tasters of SCA and the European Coffee Brewing Center, so you can imagine how strict the requirements are to make it to the final lineup.
It was designed to help lessen the weight of the decision-making process of casual coffee drinkers and home baristas, especially fans of drip coffee makers.
Typically, coffee maker brands and manufacturers pay and send in their products to be tested for a spot among other SCAA certified coffee makers.
The coffee makers pass as long as they have met all of the minimal requirements and prove their ability to brew a cup of coffee that meets the SCA’s Golden Cup Standard.
What Is Golden Cup Standard Coffee?
The Golden Cup Standard is also developed by the SCA (thank you, captain obvious). The standard places emphasis on the brew strength measured in the Total Dissolved Solids ratio.
If the cup of coffee’s ratio falls into the 11.5 – 13.5 grams per liter range, it can be considered a Golden Cup of Joe.
To achieve that desirable ratio, you can follow the brewing recommendations below:
- Coffee-to-water ratio: ~ 55 g/l
- Coffee brewing temperature: 195 – 205 degrees Fahrenheit (91 – 96 degrees Celsius)
SCA Certification Requirements
But you need much more than just the ingredients to make an excellent brewed cup of coffee. The other key factor is in the tools AKA the coffee makers.
So, what are the requirements for an SCAA certified coffee maker? Here are 9 of the notable criteria to give you a general picture of the benchmarks the experts of SCA abide by and how rigorous they can be.
1. Coffee Volume
The coffee maker’s brew basket should be able to accommodate the Gold Cup coffee-to-water ratio mentioned above as the bare minimum without having the coffee overflow during the brewing process.
2. Brewing Time
At the coffee maker’s maximum capacity, the minimum contact time between the coffee grounds and water should be more than 4 minutes but less than 8 minutes.
Of course, that figure is subjected to variation depending on the grind size.
3. Brewing Temperature
SCA makes it clear that the water temperature only counts once it comes into contact with the coffee grounds.
The minimum requirement is that the water temperature should reach 92 degrees Celsius (198 degrees Fahrenheit) within the first minute.
The coffee maker should maintain its temperature within the range of 92 – 96 degrees Celsius (198 – 205 degrees Fahrenheit) for the remainder of the brew cycle.
4. Brewing Preparation
This section refers to the resulting brew’s strength and extraction of coffee in the brew basket.
The solubles concentration (the strength of the cup of coffee) should fall between 1.15% and 1.45%. And, the solubles yield (the extraction) should fall between 18% and 22% as a minimum requirement.
5. Performance Uniformity
Each coffee maker will have 10 separate brew cycles run and tested to make sure that it can produce a consistent performance yield that meets the requirements in section 4.
6. Extraction Uniformity
As a minimum criterium, all of the coffee grounds in the brew basket should come into contact with the hot water within the first minute to optimize coffee extraction.
All machines are given a numerical rating based on the average extraction uniformity.
7. Beverage Clarity
Drip coffee makers are known for producing a clean cup of coffee thanks to the assistance of the paper filters, so excessive sediment in the cup is very much frowned upon.
As a rule, SCAA coffee makers have to produce less than 75 milligrams of sediment per 100 millimeters of brewed coffee.
8. Holding Receptacle And Temperature
The container, such as a thermal carafe or glass carafe, that holds the extraction yield after the brewing process should be able to contain the content at the maximum capacity of the coffee maker.
The container should also be able to keep the coffee warm, within the temperature range of 80 – 85 degrees Celsius (176 – 185 degrees Fahrenheit) during the first 30 minutes after brewing.
9. Instructional Materials
Other than the coffee maker itself, the package sent to the SCA to be tested should also include operating manuals and other instructional materials that home baristas can follow to produce a cup of coffee that meets the Golden Cup ratio.
So, as you can see, everything related to the coffee makers, from the preparation to the brewing, and finally the serving stage, is taken into account by SCA Certified Home Brewer Program to make sure that the consumers can rely on their coffee maker reviews.
How To Choose A SCAA Certified Coffee Maker
But your set of requirements to pick the coffee maker for you isn’t the same as the SCA’s.
As an average consumer, other than worrying about the quality of the cup of coffee, you should also keep the following factors in mind to bring home a coffee maker that’s for you.
Are you looking for SCAA certified coffee makers for yourself only?
Or are there other coffee drinkers in the household as well?
How many cups does your household drink a day?
Think about your household’s coffee consumption habit to pick the drip coffee maker that can best accommodate your needs.
Most of the models of drip coffee makers certified by the SCA can brew up to 8 cups of coffee, but you can find those capable of making more as well, around 10 or 12 cups.
Some coffee maker models also allow you to brew only a single cup or a tumbler amount for a single user without compromising the brew quality.
Coffee lovers with a tight morning schedule may not have the spare time to spend on a 10-minute coffee brew cycle and prioritize this factor over others.
So look out for coffee machines with a brewing time shorter than 5 minutes and less hands-on brewing routine.
Features And Convenience
Some want a bit more control and flexibility over their cup of coffee, which can come with additional sets of features that provide more precision and skills.
But others may desire more ease and convenience. Some essentially just need a no-brainer one-button function.
Ease Of Clean
Anyone loves a low-maintenance coffee maker but not all are easy to clean. So how much effort are you willing to put in cleaning and maintaining your coffee machine? We’ll briefly go through this in the detailed coffee maker reviews below.
Glass Or Thermal Carafe
One of the SCA certification requirements I listed above also covers the container that holds the coffee after brewing, usually the carafe.
These coffee makers come with either a glass or thermal carafe.
Other than its classy look and ease of clean, the glass carafe is often praised for not retaining and spoiling the next batch of coffee with flavor carry-overs, which is a big no-no if you don’t like the taste of old coffee in your new one.
The glass material is also cheaper to produce, so expect a cheaper price point compared to coffee makers with a thermal one.
The downsides are its vulnerability and inability to keep the coffee hot for long, so a hot plate is usually needed. But, as long as it’s an SCAA coffee maker, you can rest assured that it’s passed the first-30-minute test.
And its cons are the thermal carafe’s pros. At a steeper price, you can get a thermal carafe that’s a lot more durable and better at keeping the coffee ready for drinking for many hours.
But sadly, it doesn’t really have that chic look that brightens your kitchen as the glass material does.
This factor is probably higher in your list if you only have limited space for the drip coffee maker.
Not everyone can afford to splurge on a coffee machine. I’ll make sure to mention affordable options in the reviews below.
Keep in mind that the initial cost coupled with the highly desired certification approved by an established coffee organization that they earn can make the prices of these coffee makers a lot higher than the average market price point.
Technivorm Moccamaster 79112 KBT Coffee Brewer
What is a Moccamaster? It’s a drip coffee maker handmade in the Netherlands by the brand Technivorm, a household name in the coffee makers market for the last 50 years.
The Technivorm Moccamaster line is also the most popular line to get the SCA certification, flooding the best SCAA certified coffee makers lineup as they make up nearly 40% of the list.
This Technivorm coffee maker in particular is well-loved for its durability, sleek and professional-looking design, and ease of use with straightforward functions.
The Technivorm Moccamaster is equipped with the copper boiling element developed by the keen engineers of the market-leading brand.
This feature helps accelerate the water heating process and enables better control over the brewing temperature so that it doesn’t venture outside of the optimal range for the most amazing coffee.
The cone-shaped brew basket of the Technivorm Moccamaster is also ideally designed to ensure a 4-to-6-minute steeping time for your specialty brew.
This coffee machine also offers some flexibility with 3 switch settings to manually adjust the steeping time. You can also take the carafe away for a serving while the coffee brewer is still up and running.
This Moccamaster model comes with a stainless steel thermal carafe to keep the coffee warm without the need for a hot plate.
This 10-cup coffee maker also automatically turns off after the brew cycle completes to help you save energy.
Though the price is relatively steep compared to other coffee brewers in the market, the 5-year warranty should justify the purchase and shows how durable Technivorm believes the coffee maker should be.
If you missed out on my best drip coffee makers review out of all machines in the market, here’s a spoiler: This one also took the crown as the best drip coffee maker.
- Consistently short brew time (4 – 6 minutes)
- 3 settings for steeping time adjustment
- Insulated carafe with travel lid
- Sleek stainless steel design
- Takes up relatively large counter space, especially height-wise
- Not programmable
Bonavita BV1900TS 8-Cup One-Touch Coffee Maker
Making coffee can’t get any easier with this Bonavita coffee maker that boasts a one-touch function and auto-off after brewing.
Despite its plain appearance, the Bonavita drip coffee maker is a powerful machine with a precise 1500-watt heater to maintain the water temperature within the best range for brewing.
The coffee brewer also comes with an optional pre-infusion mode that enables it to wet coffee grounds with hot water to enable “blooming”, an expansion of coffee and release of carbon dioxide for a Golden Cup brew.
Water saturation and extraction uniformity are also enhanced thanks to the flat-bottomed filter basket and larger showerhead to evenly distribute hot water over the ground bed.
This is another drip coffee maker that comes with a thermal carafe.
Many parts of this 8-cup brewer are also dishwasher-safe to make the machine even more low-maintenance.
- One-touch and auto-off functions for ultimate ease of use
- Pre-infusion mode for better coffee extraction
- Flat-bottomed filter and large showerhead for a more even coffee-to-water contact
- Dishwasher-safe components for ease of clean
- Quiet operation
- Most affordable
- Needs a lot of space above the device due to the excessive release of steam during the brew cycle
- Carafe may not keep the coffee as hot as you desire
Cuisinart CPO-850 Coffee Brewer
If you’re a fan of manual Pour-Over coffee makers, this Cuisinart PurePrecision model with a thermal carafe can be a great automatic Pour-Over coffee brewer alternative to make delicious coffee almost effortlessly.
You’ve probably heard of Cuisinart before if you’ve looked up and down for a great coffee maker. This is another famous home appliance brand. Though it’s best known for its food processor, its coffee machines have also become a popular choice for home baristas.
This Pour-Over coffee maker gives you 3 flavor strength settings – mild, medium, and bold – to adjust to fit your personal preference.
You can change the water temperature setting between hot and extra hot for a more suitable extraction.
This machine also has a Brew Pause function, allowing you to take the carafe out to pour yourself a cup of coffee before the brew cycle is complete.
The Cuisinart brewer also comes with a charcoal water filter to be inserted into your water reservoir to produce coffee that’s cleaner and richer, while reducing the number of mineral build-ups to make the descaling process easier to handle.
This standard 8-cup machine may take up quite a bit more space on your counter compared to others but it’s relatively shorter than many coffee makers.
If you prefer the look of the glass carafe, feel free to opt for that option since it can also produce coffee that meets the SCA Golden Cup recommendations.
- 3 flexible flavor settings
- Extra hot water temperature option
- Comes with a charcoal filter
- Classic drip machine design
- Programmable including self-clean
- More affordable (<$200)
- Takes up quite a bit of counter space but is short
- Coffee may leak a bit while pouring
- The LCD display may dim over time
Brim 8 Cup Pour-Over Coffee Maker Kit
Another quality auto Pour-Over coffee brewer that made it to the SCA list is the stainless steel candidate from Sensio Inc.
What makes this 8-cup coffee maker unique is its glass carafe which is shaped like a Chemex, a manual Pour-Over coffee brewer popular for its aesthetically pleasing hourglass appearance.
And, like the Chemex, here, the conical filter basket is also fitted to the upper chamber of the carafe while a Pour-Over showerhead hovers over it. This isn’t purely aesthetics, of course, but for a more even and smooth flavor extraction as well.
Great coffee is also brewed thanks to precise and constant temperature maintenance. The coffee warmer also keeps it steady at 176 degrees Fahrenheit (80 degrees Celsius) without the development of bitter notes for an ideal coffee experience.
And after 30 minutes, the machine knows to automatically turn off.
Another unique plus that this can-it-be-more-perfect coffee maker offers is the eco-friendly reusable filter that also comes with the machine so that you don’t have to rely on disposable paper filters.
- Pour-Over and pulse brewing showerhead for an optimally even extraction
- Permanent filter to reduce waste
- Consistent temperature control
- Aesthetically pleasing hourglass appearance
- Light and not too big
- More affordable (<$200)
- The vulnerable carafe that’s hard to find a replacement
- The permanent filters are hard to clean and grounds may wander into the coffee
- Some parts are made of plastic so heat may make them smell, affecting the coffee experience
Ninja 10-Cup Specialty Coffee Maker
The Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker has a more distinct design compared to those I’ve listed so far.
The machine on one side and a pillar on the other, hence, leaving a large space in the middle, make the whole brewer look like an architectural piece.
But that’s not all that you should pay attention to on this stainless steel coffee brewing device.
The elevator in the middle space enables you to adjust its height according to the container you use. There are 6 brew sizes in total, covering from a single cup, a travel tumbler, to a full carafe capacity.
What’s more, classic black coffee isn’t the only thing you can brew on this machine either. Think iced coffee and specialty drinks such as lattes, cappuccinos, flat whites, etc.
The possibilities know no limits thanks to the fold-away frother that comes with the brewer for easy milk steaming and texturing.
The Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker also has a programmable delay function for convenient morning coffee planning.
You can also enjoy a beautiful glass carafe, a gold-tone permanent filter, and a Ninja Smart Scoop as bonuses of the purchase.
- Specialty coffee experience with the convenient fold-away frother
- 6 different brew sizes
- Comes with useful accessories
- More affordable (<$200)
- Takes up space, especially vertically
- The frother doesn’t heat the milk so you have to heat it yourself before using the tool to make steamed milk
Breville BDC450BSS Precision Brewer
If you’re in the coffee scene for a while, you must have heard of the brand Breville. Today, the Breville Precision Brewer is also among the best of the best drip coffee makers.
Its tech-savvy manufacturer equips it with the thermocoil heating system and digital brewing temperature control (PID) technologies that are highly precise for the most uniform and consistent results all the time. As long as you keep the stainless steel Breville Precision Brewer in its tip-top shape, of course.
Compared to what other drip coffee makers offer, this Breville coffee maker can surely give you the most flexibility in adjusting and customizing the brew parameters.
From 3 different water flow rates to change coffee-to-water contact time, to bloom time and brew temperature, the coffee brewed can match whatever taste you desire.
If you’re not really into tinkering and just want an easy dose of caffeine, this 8-cup coffee maker can supply you with 6 different presets, including the Gold Cup Standard, iced coffee, and Cold Brew.
You can also customize and save your own presets to save time and still get to enjoy the best coffee in the morning.
Feel free to brew single cups as well. The dual filter baskets and patented Steep and Release technology can accommodate any brew volume.
But all of these functions and features come at a pretty steep price and a relatively large footprint for your small apartment.
- Easy brewing with 6 automatic presets
- Customize and make your own preset
- Temperature controlling technologies that precisely adjusts the temperature but still leave room for customization
- Adjustable flow rates
- Dual filter baskets
- Big footprint
- Coffee may take long to be brewed
- Carafe may not keep the coffee hot for long
OXO Brew 9 Cup Stainless Steel Coffee Maker
Like most coffee makers on this list, the OXO Barista Brain can also flex its start-of-the-art technologies that enable better control over the water temperature.
In this case, specifically, the BetterBrew Precision Brewing and the well-engineered showerhead offer a consistent result of balanced and flavorful coffee that meets the Gold Standard regardless of how much coffee you’re trying to make.
Ease of use is another pro that has to be highlighted on the OXO Barista Brain. But instead of a one-button one-stop, you’ll operate the machine through one dial.
It allows you to program and set the wake-up timer, pick the brew amount, and start the brew cycle.
The machine also has a pause and pour function so you can slip a sip of coffee during a cycle.
Although this 9-cup coffee maker is not the most affordable in this lineup, nor the smallest, its sleek and chic looks and “brains” are definitely worth a purchase if you’re looking for a machine that’s beginner-friendly.
- BetterBrew Precision Brewing technology for better temperature control regardless of the brew size
- Fully programmable
- One-dial operation
- Rainmaker showerhead and internal mixing tube for a uniform flavor extraction
- Chic and sleek black design
- Takes up space vertically
- Plastic parts may smell due to heat
- Not the quickest brewer
- May not keep the coffee as hot as you desire
Braun MultiServe Coffee Machine
This stainless steel machine can bring to the table exactly what you order – multiple serves.
The multi-serve dial allows you to pick from 7 different brew sizes, from a single cup to a carafe-worth of coffee.
And the exact brew system and temp sensor system are in place to ensure an optimal brew quality for every batch. In particular, it automatically calculates and adjusts the water flow rate and temperature appropriately to meet the Standard Golden Cup all the time.
You can also make an easy switch from hot coffee to Cold Brew at the touch of a button using the BrewChoice Plus function. The customizable settings include Over Ice, Light, Gold, and Bold coffee.
Too bad it’s not the fastest coffee maker in the bunch, taking up to 8 minutes to deliver a full carafe of coffee. But if this isn’t a priority, the convenience this MultiServe device offers should be worth its price tag.
- Customizable with 4 different settings to venture outside of the classic hot coffee
- Temp sensor to manage the temperature within the ideal range
- 7 different serving sizes adjusted by a simple dial
- Leak-free water reservoir
- Not the fastest brewer as it can take up to 8 minutes
- Heavy and space consuming
- The hot plate may not keep the coffee at the ideal temperature for long
Our Pick For The Best SCAA Coffee Maker
So, what is the best coffee machine for home use according to the SCA and my standards?
Its expensive price tag is definitely worth the long-term investment in a durable and reliable coffee maker that can produce a consistent brew all the time.