In recent years drip coffee makers have somewhat fallen out of favor in the coffee movement. While they are still used in some cafes, they have been largely replaced by manual or soft brew methods.
However, we should not underestimate the capacity and quality of some drip coffee makers. While some are literally glorified trash, others have been carefully designed and manufactured for optimal extraction and can make delicious coffee.
If you are seeking the convenience and ease of a drip coffee maker then the first place to look is the SCAA approved home brewers list. These are coffee makers that have been certified by the Specialty Coffee Association and are of a superior quality for better coffee. Buy once, buy well is our philosophy…
What is the SCAA?
The Specialty Coffee Association (previously SCAA) has a program for testing home coffee makers with the goal of promoting better coffee brewing. To be certified by the SCAA a coffee brewer must be able to maintain proper water temperature, to have an acceptable brewing time, and be able to brew within the SCA Golden Cup recommendations.
What are the requirements SCAA Coffee Makers must meet?
The SCAA has a list of rigorous requirements that a coffee brewer must meet in order to be certified. The brewers have to be able to produce consistent and reliable brew without excess sediment. We have summarized the main ones below but there is a full list here.
If a coffee maker is able to meet these standards they are included on the list of SCAA coffee Makers. While a pre-infusion step is not required by the SCAA you will find the best coffee makers include this in the design. By wetting the coffee grounds before brewing it allows them to degas and to produce a better tasting coffee.
The SCAA Coffee Makers are guaranteed to produce a high quality brew, however in order to determine which one will best meet your needs you need to think through a few things…
How much coffee are you going to be brewing? Most of the SCAA coffee makers brew 8 cups, while a few can brew up to 10-12 cups. If you are looking for one for the office you may want to opt for a larger size. Some models also offer the ability to select your desired brew size.
Thermal Carafe vs Heat Plate
The next thing to consider is whether you want a thermal carafe or a heat plate. A coffee maker with a glass carafe and heat plate is often cheaper, and it is effective at keeping the coffee piping hot particularly in the first few minutes. However if you do brew a large batch and leave it on a heat plate too long it tends to cook the coffee and produce unpleasant flavors. As such it is often better to opt for a thermal carafe, which doesn’t compromise the flavor of the coffee.
How involved do you want to be in the brewing process? If you are just looking for a quick cup of joe, programmability won’t really matter. On the other hand, if you are a barista, wanting to be able to adjust the temperature for different roasts or the time of pre-infusion you will need a more advanced coffee maker.
The Best SCA Coffee Makers
The Best SCAA Coffee Maker
The Technivorm Moccamaster is our pick for the best SCAA Coffee Maker. This iconic coffee maker has a tried and tested design and has earned its reputation as one of the best drip coffee makers on the market. While expensive, it really is the best when it comes to build quality and the quality of coffee it produces.
The Moccamaster features a copper boiling element that heats the water to the perfect brewing temperature. It also has a 9 hole spray head that allows for even saturation of the coffee. Overall this is a very minimalistic coffee maker. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of some other coffee makers but that is the beauty of it. This coffee maker is all about brewing a consistent and quality cup of coffee.
The Moccamaster comes with either a glass carafe and heating plate or a stainless steel carafe. It also comes in a huge array of colors- when we checked last there were 28 different options! If you are looking for a statement piece for your kitchen that will brew delicious coffee look no further. See our more in-depth review here.
Breville Precision Brewer
Specialty Coffee Lover
If you are a coffee enthusiast then you might want to consider the Breville Precision Brewer. This versatile brewer has 6 preset modes allowing you to brew filter coffee, pour over, cold brew and iced coffee. Where it really comes into its own though is in the ability to customize almost every parameter of the brewing process. From water temperature, to bloom time, to flow rate the Breville Precision Brewer really is for a specialty coffee lover who wants to tweak his brew. There is also the option of getting an adapter which allows you to brew v60 on the machine.
In terms of brew capacity the Breville Precision Brewer can brew anywhere from one to an impressive 12 cups. It comes with an excellent thermal carafe. If you love craft coffee and are looking for a brewer with a lot of customization then the Breville Precision Brewer is the best option. See our more in-depth review here.
Bonavita 8-Cup Coffee Maker
If you are looking for a basic drip coffee maker that can brew good tasting coffee, the Bonavita is an excellent choice. This wee coffee maker is very popular among the specialty coffee crowds. It features a pre-infusion function allowing the coffee to bloom before brewing. It also has a showerhead which disperses a steady and consistent pour of water over the grounds. The water is heated to around 200-203F and remains at that temperature throughout the brewing process.
The Bonavita Connoisseur is easy to use with no complicated settings to figure out for those who are looking for just a simple cup of coffee. It lets out an audible tone when your brew is done so that you know to get your coffee while it’s hot.
The coffee maker comes with a stainless steel carafe which, while sufficient, has been reported to not be all that good at keeping the coffee hot, and is also difficult to pour from. They do have a smaller coffee maker that has a glass carafe which while not approved, does have the same design. Overall this is a great coffee maker made by a well known and respected brand and it has a great price tag.
Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker
The Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker is a stylish and versatile coffee brewer, offering more options than just pour over style beverages. The Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker can also brew lattes, macchiatos, cappuccinos, and fresh and flavorful iced drinks. A built-in frother allows you to take your coffee to the next level by adding smooth and silky foam to the top of your glass with either hot or cold milk.
You can brew batches in different sizes, depending on how many people want a cup of coffee. The Ninja has six different capacity options, from a single cup to a full 10-cup carafe. It’s also pod free, making it an ideal choice for the eco-conscious. While the Ninja won’t brew the best tasting coffee compared to the other machines on this list it is a versatile brewer, if you are wanting the option of brewing other drinks as well.
Cuisinart Pure Precision
The Cuisinart Pure Precision coffee brewer is an eight-cup coffee maker which makes it a good option for multiple users thanks to its generous capacity. It’s easy to use, with temperature controls ranging between hot and extra hot and a programmable flavor strength control. You can choose whether you want your coffee to be mild, medium, or bold.
You can choose between a brewer with an attractive glass carafe or an option with a thermal carafe. Both include a charcoal filter to purify water and a laser-etched stainless steel filter for coffee grounds.
This automatic pour over coffee maker boasts a pre-wetting function to ensure that your grounds can bloom. It also has 24 hour programmability allowing you to set your coffee to automatically brew in the morning. Overall this is a good option if you are looking for a basic coffee maker.
GE Cafe Specialty Drip Coffee
The LUX Coffee Maker
If you are in the mood to splurge, then the GE Cafe Specialty Drip Coffee Maker is for you. This luxurious coffee maker is without doubt the most beautiful coffee maker on this list. Available in brushed steel, matte black or white with copper accents it is a real statement piece. And it isn’t just a pretty face! The GE Cafe brews a fantastic pot of coffee (and at a very quick speed).
Designed for the coffee connoisseur it offers excellent temperature control and adjustable brew strength. It is also unique in that it has built in wifi smart features allowing you to control the machine via Alexa and Google. Be warned though, you will pay a pretty penny for this high end coffee maker.
The Final Verdict
We hope you can see that you won’t go wrong by investing in a SCAA Coffee Maker. These coffee makers have undergone extensive testing to ensure they produce the best tasting coffee. So any of the machines on their list is going to be a good buy.
In our opinion, the Moccamaster is the best SCAA Coffee Maker; it has a timeless design, is extremely well built and makes delicious coffee. If you are wanting something a bit more customizable, the Breville Precision Brewer is a good option, or if you are wanting a basic but affordable coffee maker the Bonavita wins out.
Brewing Tips For SCAA Coffee Makers
We have compiled some brewing tips below to help you get the most out of your SCAA Coffee Maker.
Use freshly ground beans
Your coffee is only going to be as good as the coffee beans you use. So make sure you invest in high quality, freshly roasted coffee beans. It is always best to grind your coffee beans on demand as well, which helps keep the coffee fresh and tasting good. If you don’t have a grinder you may need to invest in a quality burr grinder.
Weigh Your Coffee
When it comes to brewing the best coffee you should use the golden ratio of coffee brewing which is 1:18 or 55g of coffee to every 1L of water. Don’t just eyeball your coffee but weigh it out on a scale to ensure an accurate and consistently brewed coffee.
Use Filtered Water
I’m sure you will know that the main ingredient in coffee is water, so bad water= bad coffee. Make sure you use filtered water for the best tasting coffee. Or use a machine that has a water filter built in.
Rinse Your Paper Filter
If you are using a paper filter with your coffee maker, make sure you rinse it thoroughly with hot water before using. This prevents you from having a papery taste in your coffee.
Clean Your Coffee Machine
It goes without saying but make sure you clean your carafe and filter well after each use. This prevents the build up of coffee oils which will lend an unpleasant flavor to your brew.
What is the Best Technivorm Coffee Maker?
While all the models of the Technivorm are SCAA certified, we would recommend the Technivorm Moccamaster KBT which is the model that comes with a stainless steel thermos. While it is not available in as many colors as the glass carafe model, we do think a thermal carafe is better in the long run for better tasting coffee.
What Temperature Do Coffee Makers Brew At?
The ideal brewing temperature for coffee is 195-205F. If a coffee is brewed at a lower temperature than this you will have under-extracted, sour coffee. And vice versa if it is brewed at a higher temperature than this it will be over-extracted and bitter.
A high quality coffee maker, such as a SCAA coffee maker will ensure the coffee is always within this temperature range during the brewing process. A cheaper coffee maker will likely not be able to maintain this.