By Tara Smith
SCA’s Certified Home Brewer program has long been the recognized mark of excellence when it comes to home brewing machines. The program recognizes brewers that meet SCA’s longstanding rigorous technical requirements which are based on decades of industry knowledge and research by the Coffee Brewing Center. All SCA Certified Brewers have met these requirements, which are based generally on proper water temperature, brewing time, and ability to brew within the Golden Cup recommendations. Essentially, if you see the SCA Certified Home brewer mark on the packaging of a brewing machine, you can be assured of consistent, delicious coffee. Requirements of quality include:
- Golden Cup Ratio: The brewer basket must allow for 55 grams of coffee per one liter of water.
- Brewing time and temperature: Temperature must reach 197.6 F within one minute and never exceed 204.8 F. Water contact time with coffee: between 4-8 minutes.
- Proper strength and extraction: The brewer must make a beverage with the strength (solubles concentration) of between 1.15% and 1.35% resulting from an extraction (solubles yield) of between 18.0% and 22.0%.
- Uniformity of performance and extraction: to ensure consistency, multiple brewers are subjected to numerous brew cycle tests before passing the critical component of certification.
- Carafe Temperature: The container that receives the coffee must contain a coffee temperature of no less than 176 F and no more than 185 F. Temperature must be maintained during the first 30 minutes of holding time.
Emma Sage, SCA Coffee Science Manager, has been at the helm of this program since 2011 and tests brewer models and prototypes every quarter. “Engineering a coffee brewer that meets the delicate balance of proper brewing elements is a challenging one. It takes a real time and resource commitment from producing companies to get these brewers right.” This program is part of SCA’s Research Center, an institution that exists to drive, support, and disseminate scientific research throughout the specialty coffee community.You might have noticed that the list of SCA certified home brewers has grown in the past few years to include not only long-participating companies like BUNN and Bonavita but also new certified brewers from KitchenAid, OXO, Behmor, Wilfa, Cuisinart. Many high-end distributors such as William Sonoma and Sur La Table have taken notice and created customized merchandising displays for SCA certified brewers and the program was even featured by Cook’s Illustrated both in their print magazine and TV show. It is exciting not only to see so many manufacturers commit to designing their brewers to meet SCA technical requirements of quality, but to have the program become so highly visible to consumers!
One of the newest features of the program is a recently updated and released SCA Certified Home Brewer logo. Designed to align with the new SCA brand, the logo will be transitioned onto the packaging of certified machines over the next year and will become the new mark of brewing excellence for home brewers.
Recognizing that standards of excellence can and should extend past just home brewers, SCA is looking towards expanding this program to include more equipment such as espresso machines to allow for even more member companies to participate and demonstrate their dedication to quality in brewing.
Peter Giuliano, SCA’s Chief Research Officer, notes, “As specialty coffee continues to grow as a phenomenon, more and more people want to have the Specialty experience at home. The brewing equipment companies are a big part of making that possible are worth celebrating, and we seek to support their mission to spread this experience to every kitchen and every breakfast table.”
If you’re interested in learning more, or submitting your prototype for testing, contact Emma Sage at Emmas@sca.coffee
Tara Smith is the director of marketing for the Specialty Coffee Association.