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As much as I love espresso and espresso drinks like lattes, there are some mornings that I just want a good cup of black coffee. While pour over drippers and French presses make great coffee, having a coffee maker that will brew my morning coffee with the press of a button is much more convenient.
However, many options on the market will have you sacrifice high-quality coffee for the convenience of an automatic coffee maker. Luckily, the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) has already done the work of vetting some coffee makers to see which can brew coffee up to their Golden Cup standard, so you don’t have to choose between quality and convenience. Whether you want a brewer that can make you a few cups or a full 12 cup pot, there’s a coffee maker with the SCA Certified Home Brewer designation that can meet all of your needs. Learn more about how a coffee maker becomes an SCA Certified Home Brewer and what the unique features are of five of the coffee makers we carry at Whole Latte Love.
The Golden Cup certification comes from the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA), and it’s a designation given specifically to automatic coffee makers. The SCA is a global community of coffee professionals that want to help the coffee community thrive through sustainability efforts, education, carefully developed standards, and growth opportunities across the globe. The SCA was formed in 2017 when the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) and the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe (SCAE) came together.
The SCA’s Golden Cup Standard is based on the brew strength of a cup of coffee as defined by the Total Dissolved Solids. You can learn more about the specifics of those standards here, and if you have a scientific background or interest it may be helpful when researching TDS. We recently bought a refractometer for our studio, so in future blogs we’ll be exploring TDS more. What it boils down to is a way to measure how strong a cup of coffee is and how that strength is the best for enjoying the flavor of a cup of high-quality coffee.
Technically, this list is looking at the SCA Certified Home Brewers, which have to meet the SCA’s Golden Cup recommendations on top of two other requirements: proper water temperature and brew time. Being an SCA Certified Home Brewer means that these coffee makers consistently make great-tasting coffee.
Bonavita had some behind-the-scenes changes during the coronavirus pandemic, but we’re excited to share that they’re starting to come back in stock! Bonavita aims to create machines that will help draw out all of the flavors in your favorite coffee while still keeping their coffee makers simple and easy to use. With the BV1500TS, Bonavita streamlined the brewing process and created a simple machine that brews delicious coffee.
The BV1500TS is a smaller coffee maker designed to brew four to five cups of coffee at a time. It comes with an optional pre-infusion feature, so if you’re using fresh coffee you can bloom your coffee and fully saturate your grounds before the brewing process begins. This brewer also features a large showerhead, so you’re getting a more even dispersion of water, meaning the coffee extraction is more evenly distributed. This leads to a more balanced cup of coffee with no sections of your filter basket being over or under-extracted.
The double-walled stainless steel carafe is designed to keep your coffee warm for hours, though most users do recommend pre-heating your carafe with hot water to make sure your coffee isn’t cooling as soon as it hits the carafe. This is easy to do by either pouring hot water into the carafe or doing a cycle through the machine with just water and no coffee in the filter basket. No matter which method you choose to use when pre-heating your carafe, make sure that you also pre-wet your paper filter before you brew.
When brewing with the BV1500TS, Bonavita recommends 10 grams of coffee per cup that you’re brewing, so for a full pot of five cups, you’ll be looking for around 50 grams of coffee in the filter basket. Bonavita says to use a coarser grind that resembles table salt when using their drip coffee makers. Since the BV1500TS doesn’t have automatic settings for stronger or weaker brewing, if you decide that you want a stronger cup of coffee you’ll want to dial in a little finer for a lengthened extraction time, though you’ll have to be sure not to go too fine and overflow the filter basket. On the other hand, if you want a weaker cup, you can go coarser to lessen extraction time. When you start the brew process, you have the option to add a pre-infusion step by holding down the brew button until the light starts blinking. Once it starts blinking, press the start button once to start brewing. If you don’t want to pre-infuse, just hit the brew button once to make a delicious batch of Golden Cup coffee!
While testing out all of the coffee makers in this blog, I wanted to make each brewing experience as close to the others as possible. To achieve this, I used the same coffee and the same texture to make sure that each brew process was as similar to the others as possible. I used the Bear Claw Blend from Fuego Cofee Roasters with a medium-coarse grind for each. I ground using the Eureka Brew Pro and brewed a full pot of each type of coffee.
For the Bonavita BV1500TS, a full pot is 5 cups of coffee, so I used the recommended 10g of coffee per cup and used 50g of coffee to brew. The coffee was smooth and delicious, and I especially noticed the fruit and cocoa notes of the coffee with this coffee maker. It was very simple to brew, and the coffee stayed warm in the carafe for hours after brewing. The cup of coffee was smooth, flavorful, and overall really enjoyable to drink.
Ratio started their company in 2012 because they looked at the coffee maker industry and saw that espresso makers have developed more than classic drip coffee makers have. Their entire brand is centered around making simple machines that make great coffee, and they definitely succeeded with the Ratio Six.
The Ratio Six is a sleek coffee maker that can brew up to eight cups of coffee that meets the SCA Golden Cup standards in under seven minutes. The Ratio Six has a unique automated pre-infusion feature that will bloom your coffee and let the grounds become saturated with water before starting the full brewing process. The light-up buttons on the front make it clear what stage of the brewing process the Ratio Six is in, so it’s easy to set it and forget it. This is a very streamlined and straightforward machine that makes great coffee, but without the extras that some of the other coffee makers on this list have.
To brew with the Ratio Six, it’s best to opt for a full pot of coffee. To do this, you’ll want to use 75g of coarsely ground coffee with a consistency similar to sea salt. Like the Bonavita BV1500TS, the Ratio Six only has one setting, so the way to adjust the strength of your coffee is to play with the consistency of your coffee grounds. To brew, all you have to do is hit the button on the front of the machine, and once the process starts the machine will light up to show you if it’s in the bloom stage, the brewing stage, or ready to drink. Once the coffee is ready to drink, remove the filter basket and place the lid on the top of the carafe and you’re ready to enjoy! Even without pre-heating, I found that this carafe will stay warm for hours.
The coffee I made with the Ratio Six was smooth and flavorful, and the cocoa notes from the coffee are what really stood out to me. I’ve reviewed the Ratio Six before, so if you want to learn more about the experience of brewing with this coffee maker, make sure to check that out!
Breville has been creating a range of different high-quality kitchen appliances since 1932. Their mission is to listen to consumer needs and respond with well-thought-out designs that enhance kitchens all over the world. This led to them creating several coffee makers that have been certified by the SCA. I’ll be focusing on the BDC450BSS Precision Brewer, which we carry at Whole Latte Love with a thermal carafe or a glass carafe.
The BDC450BSS Precision Brewer has a range of brewing options, including a Golden Cup setting. This will brew with a specific length and temperature of water that is in accordance with SCA's guidelines, but this coffee maker also has settings that let you adjust to get the perfect cup for your preferences. There are options for stronger and weaker coffee than the Golden Cup standard, as well as an option to make a custom cup. This setting allows you to customize the bloom time, brew temperature, and flow rate. If you’re brewing into your own pour over dripper, you can select that option as well.
The PID temperature control in this machine allows for extreme temperature precision, lending nicely to the name of this brewer. If you’re concerned with heat conservation after brewing, you may want to opt for the thermal carafe, which is designed to stay hot. Whether you opt for the thermal or glass carafe, you should be pre-heating both to make sure your coffee isn’t cooling too quickly.
If you prefer iced coffee, you can choose the “Over Ice” setting, and the BDC450BSS Precision Brewer will make your coffee slightly stronger to accommodate for the watering down that happens when the ice melts in your coffee. There’s also a unique cold brew option, which will hold the coffee in the brewer basket for the amount of time you set it to and release it into your carafe once you reach that time. If you’re looking for a coffee maker that allows for a variety of brewing methods at the touch of a button, this is a great option.
To brew with the BDC450BSS Precision Brewer, Breville recommends pre-heating the carafe by adding hot water and letting it sit in the pot for 30 seconds before pouring it out and starting to brew. After pre-heating your carafe, add your coffee to the filter basket, pour water into the reservoir, choose the right setting for the coffee you want to brew, and hit the start button. You can set a timer for this brewer as well, so if you want your coffee to be ready by the time you enter your kitchen in the morning, this is a great option. As a note, only the “Gold” setting will brew a cup of coffee that meets the Golden Cup Standard, but the other options will allow you to get a gold star cup of coffee every morning.
This is the only machine on the list that requires you to flush the system when before the first use, but it’s a simple process. When you first turn on your machine, you have to set the water hardness using the included strip to judge what level of hardness your water is at. This was simple and went pretty quick, so this coffee maker was still ready to brew only a few minutes after it was out of the box.
When I brewed with the BDC450BSS Precision Brewer I used 40 oz of water and 70g of coffee as the instruction manual provided with the coffee maker recommends. I brewed using the “Gold” option so that I could get a gold star cup of coffee to compare to the others, and it brewed quickly and easily. I really liked the coffee that was brewed from this coffee maker. I picked up mainly on the floral and fruity notes in the coffee, but the cocoa flavor I noticed with the other machines still was noticeable. The coffee was smooth and flavorful, and I found myself wanting to pour another cup of it almost as soon as I finished my first.
I tested out the “over ice” function on the Precision Brewer as well since I wanted to compare it to the Braun machine’s over ice setting, and I found that it made great-tasting iced coffee. To brew over ice, Breville recommends doubling the amount of coffee that you use to account for the ice that dilutes the brewed coffee. You can also only brew up to 20 oz of iced coffee, so make sure that you aren’t overfilling the water reservoir. If you do, the BDC450BSS Precision Brewer will not let you choose the “over ice” option (or the cold brew option). Since you’re using more coffee to brew, I noticed that the resulting iced coffee still had a lot of flavor and wasn’t noticeably weaker than the hot coffee even after quite a bit of ice melted in my drink.
Technivorm is a Dutch brand founded in the Netherlands in 1964. According to their website, their name is a combination of two Dutch words, “Techniek” and “Vormgeving,” that translate to “form” and “function.” Their Moccamaster coffee makers are exemplary of how they used both of these concepts to create great coffee makers. The first Moccamaster was created in 1969, and today Technivorm has twelve Moccamaster coffee makers that are SCA Home Brewer Certified. Considering the fact that all Technivorm coffee makers are handmade in the Netherlands by the Technivorm team, it’s no wonder that these coffee makers are so high-quality. I’ll be focusing on the 8-cup capacity Moccamaster KBTS 741 in this blog, but all of the Moccamasters that we carry are certified by the SCA to craft Golden Cup coffee.
Moccamasters are designed and built with a heating element that monitors the brew temperature to make sure that it meets the SCA recommendation. The unique nine-hole showerhead creates an even dispersion of water so that your filter basket is evenly saturated, meaning that you’re getting a more evenly brewed cup of coffee without over and under-extracted sections of the basket. Technivorm does recommend pre-heating the carafe, which you can do by pouring hot water into the carafe or by doing an “empty” brew cycle on the machine. Since the Moccamaster KBTS 741 has a drip stop function, you can just run a small amount of water through the machine as well and stop it once the carafe is heated and your paper filter is fully wet.
To brew a full pot with the Moccamaster KBTS 741, Technivorm recommends using 69g of coarsely ground coffee with a consistency similar to table salt. After pre-heating your carafe and pre-wetting your paper filter, add your ground coffee to the filter and fill the water reservoir. Turn on the machine and the coffee maker will start the brewing process right away. Once the coffee maker is done brewing, turn off the machine, empty the filter basket, and place the lid on the thermal carafe to keep your coffee warm. If you’re brewing with a different Moccamaster model that has a glass carafe, there is a built-in warming plate under the carafe to keep your coffee warm after brewing. This will keep your coffee at 175 degrees Fahrenheit, which is best if you’re enjoying your coffee black, or 185 degrees Fahrenheit, which is best if you’re adding creamer or milk to your coffee.
To brew with the Technivorm, I did pre-heat it by doing a cycle of just water through the filter and into the carafe. It did a good job of pre-heating the carafe and pre-wetting the filter. I did accidentally start the process because I had the machine on without water, but as soon as I added water to the coffee maker it began brewing. To avoid this, make sure that your coffee maker is off when you add water. For a full 60 oz of water, I used 99g of water as the instruction manual suggests, and I found that the cocoa notes were most prominent, though the fruity flavor of the coffee was still noticeable.
We also have a blog about Moccamasters with more information about the different models we offer, so make sure to check it out if you want to learn more about the Moccamaster range!
The Braun brand was founded in 1928 to engineer radio technology, but since the early 1950s Braun has been creating kitchen appliances. Braun has continued to innovate their coffee makers, and they currently have two that are certified by the SCA. I’ll be talking about the KF9170SI MultiServe Brewing System here, but we do carry their other Golden Cup certified coffee maker as well.
The Braun KF9170SI MultiServe Brewing System can brew batches of coffee as small as 5 oz and as large as 10 cups, so whether you want to top off your travel mug or brew enough for your entire family, this coffee maker can help. Like the Breville BDC450BSS Precision Brewer, there’s a setting to brew at the Golden Cup standard, but you can also opt for other settings if you want a stronger or weaker cup of coffee, and there’s also an iced coffee setting as well. Since the KF9170SI MultiServe accommodates single cups of coffee, there’s a built-in shelf that you can fold down to make sure your mug is closer to the spout the coffee drips out of for heat preservation. This model also features a warming plate with a timer that will tell you when the pot finished brewing as well as indicators of freshness based on the time since the brew cycle finished.
To brew with the KF9170SI MultiServe, select the amount you want to brew, choose your preferred setting to brew your coffee, fill the filter basket, fill the water reservoir with enough water for the brew amount you chose, and press the start button to begin brewing. There is also an auto-on feature in this machine, so you can program it to turn on and start brewing automatically in the morning.
Of all the machines I tried, this was the one that I personally had the most problems with. It’s possible that it was a user error, but I did have a few issues when I first tried to brew with this coffee maker, and I had to unplug the machine for a few minutes before plugging it back in and brewing. Once I overcame those technical difficulties, it was easy to choose the gold cup option and brew. For a full put of coffee, it’s recommended that you use 10 “big scoops” of coffee according to the included scoop, but according to the instruction manual that comes out to be about 82g of coffee, which is what I used.
The fruity and floral tastes were most noticeable in this cup of coffee, though the cocoa flavor was a lot more subtle and almost unnoticeable. It was still a very smooth, evenly extracted cup of coffee without bitterness or sourness, and it was an enjoyable cup of coffee even with some flavors not shining as much as they did with the other machines.
I also tested out the “over ice” function on the Braun, and I really liked it. To use the over ice function, you fill your cup or carafe with ice and hit the “over ice” button and then what brew strength you want. You can choose from “bold,” “gold,” or “light,” and Braun recommends the “bold” setting since adding ice will water down your coffee. I chose to brew with the “gold” setting so I could compare it with the same hot coffee. Though I liked the coffee, iced coffee doesn’t necessarily give you the same flavors as hot coffee does, though the coffee itself was smooth and overall tasted good.
In comparison to the Breville “over ice” feature, I liked that the Braun KF9170SI MultiServe recommends brewing with ice in the carafe so that when you pour out your coffee it’s immediately cold. I also like that I could choose to brew an entire carafe of iced coffee with the MultiServe if you wanted to whereas the Breville Precision Brewer only lets you brew up to 20 oz of coffee to compensate for how much extra coffee they recommend adding to the brew basket.
Becoming an SCA Certified Home Brewer means that a coffee maker will consistently brew great cups of coffee that bring out the flavor of your favorite roast while still having the benefit of a convenient and easy brewing process. With just the push of a button, any of these five coffee makers can deliver you a cup (or a pot) of high-quality coffee so you can start your day right.
Do you have a preference for one of these SCA Certified Home Brewers? Make sure to leave a review on the product’s page so that others can hear about your experience! And make sure you never miss a sale, new product launch, or deal by following Whole Latte Love on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and Twitter as well as signing up for our email newsletter.