Coffee makers are a staple ornament in the American kitchen. These little machines grace countertops all over the US, spewing out hot water and bitter caffeine to the masses.
They are so commonplace that even many NON-coffee drinkers have one somewhere collecting dust.
Until somewhat recently, the iconic American coffee pot was accepted as one of the only ways to make a cup of joe. These were dark times.
During this bleak and dreary era – known as the first wave of coffee – coffee was essentially dirty caffeine water.
The black beverage was a utilitarian drink used only for caffeine pick-me-ups. Very few innovations concerning the betterment of coffee even existed.
Then in 1971, the first Starbucks was born. People wanted coffee to taste better, so they added in flavors and used better (kind of) beans. Shortly after in 1978, Erna Knutsen coined the term “specialty coffee”. People started studying the chemistry behind the flavor. Direct trade and beautifully farmed coffee was on its way to becoming standard practice for the niche industry.
So why are we writing an article about coffee makers?
Aren’t they out of date?
Doesn’t specialty coffee need to be made by hand?
SCAA certified coffee makers are now available to the average kid…and for prices an average kid can afford!
Maybe you reminisce in the nostalgia of waking up to the smell of burnt Folgers as a child. Even bad coffee can leave pleasant memories…so why not try making new ones with a machine that actually respects coffee that is tasty and sustainable?
What Does “SCAA Certified” mean?
If you’re unfamiliar, the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) is a non-profit coffee trade association that is a world leader in promoting the cause and growth of specialty coffee.
The SCAA works to standardize coffee knowledge and techniques that promote goodness for the industry and the environment. SCAA certifications are not to be taken lightly.
SCAA protocol examines automatic machine brewers based on a set of standards. These standards are, of course, meant to uphold and bolster coffee quality. Basically, a set of parameters are put to the test – if the machine performs well, it gets the thumbs-up.
These parameters include coffee volume, brewing time, brewing temperatures, beverage preparation, and much more…yeah, it’s a lot.
A complete list of coffee makers and required parameters can be found here if you’re interested!
Those involved in the specialty coffee industry work together to promote quality. The assimilation of coffee knowledge is important not only for the existence of tasty coffee but it’s vital for coffee sustainability and growth.
SCAA standards ensure that valuable resources are preserved as much as possible during the brewing process.
Water and coffee – two very valuable resources – are staples of coffee brewing. If we use the optimum amount of water and coffee to achieve a great cup, we will avoid wasting unnecessary amounts of coffee and water.
Our 3 Favorite SCAA Certified Coffee Makers
Welcome to the digital age folks! We live in a world where making small talk with your household devices is becoming more and more common. Sometimes this thought can be unnerving…but not when Behmor comes to your aid.
The Behmor Connected brewer is a Wi-Fi compatible machine that can sync up with almost every common smart device. Simply open up the Behmor app and set every parameter from pre-infusion time to water temperature. It can even be used with Alexa, giving you the power of a coffee god.
Using the brew profiles function, you are able to repeat, discover, and also share brewing recipes with your fellow coffee comrades. The app is a complete interface, not only allowing you access to machine functions, but it also alerts you when your coffee is ready.
If you don’t wish to pre-grind, simply select the pre-heat function on the app. It will heat up the water before you grind your coffee!
Things we like:
- Compatible and accessible. The app acts a comfortable and mobile interface.
- Extremely simple design. The interface is all on your smart device, leaving the coffee maker looking and feeling simple.
Things we don’t like:
- For those not akin to the feel of digital interfaces, this machine will prove to be a hassle.
- It’s completely reliant on the app…if the app shuts down, no real control over your coffee.
Quite a few people are interested in this machine due to Tim Wendelboe’s involvement in the design. Wendelboe is a world renown roaster and barista. When people see “Wendelboe” on a product, they get crazy.
The Wilfa is one of the most aesthetic machines we’ve ever come across. It’s easy to look at, but it’s also extremely versatile and ergonomic.
The water tank easily comes off to allow for easy cleaning and maintenance. Wilfa incorporated a pump that sucks out all remaining water once the brew cycle is complete. This prevents water build up and off-tastes (from being in contact with the machine too long).
The filter holder is also removable, letting you add a Chemex or v60 into the mix!
Options are limited on the Wilfa, giving the user two choices:
- Change water to coffee ratio
- Change flow rate
The flow rate can be changed by adjusting a knob on the filter holder. What’s nifty here is that you can take an automatic drip brewer…and turn it into an Immersion brewer! Your possibilities just went through the roof.
Things we like:
- The flow control. It’s brilliant.
- Easy to manage. It’s clean and simple.
Things we don’t like:
- Those wanting a “carefree” experience will have a hard time. You need to tinker with this brewer.
- Moderately featureless. Some users could want more subtle parameters to control.
Bonavita has been a respected advocate of SCAA standards for years. Just about every machine the company puts out is stamped with a specialty seal of approval.
Every part of the BV1900TD 8 Cup brewer is built for quality and simplicity. It’s easily the simplest brewer featured in this article. However, “simple” doesn’t mean bad. Regardless of its small list of features, the 1900TD brewer is built to last. Its careful engineering will keep the coffee flowing for years to come.
The 1900TD is the 1900TS’s big brother. This machine features an auto-start timer that isn’t an option on the TS model. It also has a pre-infusion cycle mode to be used for degassing and brew preparation.
Things we like:
- It’s easy to understand and almost effortless to brew up a stellar cup of coffee!
- Bonavita is a trusted brand that served us well in the past. It’s definitely a dependable machine.
Things we don’t like:
- The lack of features can be constricting for those wanting to venture out.
- …nothing else really. It’s a stand-up brewer that doesn’t disappoint.
So, What’s the Verdict?
We picked these three machines to review, as they each represent a different style of machine-to-human interaction. They sit within a similar price range and all offer killer coffee.
The Behmor has an expansive interface featuring variable multi-parameter control. This brewer allows the user to adjust a vast array of parameters while still performing at SCAA standards. For those wishing for total control and access, the Behmor is the brewer for you.
The Wilfa gives the user options, but it isn’t overwhelming. If you don’t wish to make every decision when it comes to brewing variables, consider buddying up with this machine. The Wilfa can also be a playground for craft coffee nerds. Flow control is variable and other brew methods can be incorporated. It’s an all-around coffee brewing dream.
The Bonavita brews good coffee…that’s it. Grind up some of your favorite beans, press the brew button, and taste the magic. It’s low-hassle and built like an old truck (It’s gonna last).
An automatic dripper isn’t just good for the craft coffee novice, it’s a valuable brew method in your coffee arsenal!
Having the option of automated brewing lets you experiment with variables without human pour velocity errors.
It lets you breathe and enjoy the aroma!