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What Does It Take to Get ECBC Certification?

  • 5 min read

If you’re familiar with Moccamaster coffee brewers and grinders, you’ve seen the ECBC Seal of Approval - that small oval sticker on the front of the tower of your brewer or grinder. But what does that sticker really mean?

The ECBC certification is a mark of quality for coffee brewers and grinders that meet specific standards of performance, safety, and consistency.

Earning ECBC certification is not an easy task. The ECBC certification is a highly respected credential in the coffee industry, demonstrating that a coffee machine can consistently produce high-quality coffee. It also shows that the engineers and designers who created it have a deep understanding and appreciation of coffee brewing techniques.

What is the ECBC?

Established in 1971 by The Norwegian Coffee Association, the European Coffee Brewing Centre (ECBC) is an independent testing authority. The mission of the ECBC is to test coffee brewing equipment to a consistent and measurable standard. This standard is often referred to as The Golden Cup Standard.

The Golden Cup Standard uses science-backed guidelines and research from the European Coffee Brewing Centre and the Specialty Coffee Association. Specifically, the Golden Cup Standard states, “Coffee shall exhibit a brew strength, measured in Total Dissolved Solids, of 11.5 - 13.5 grams per liter, corresponding to 1.15 - 1.35 ‘percent’ on the SCA Brewing Control Chart, resulting from a solubles extraction yield of 18 - 22 percent.”

ECBC Certification for Coffee Brewers

To obtain ECBC certification, coffee brewers must undergo rigorous testing and evaluation by independent laboratories accredited by the ECBC. The testing process involves brewing a set amount of coffee, measuring the temperature, extraction rate, turbulence, and total dissolved solids (TDS) that are produced. We commonly refer to these as the “four T’s”. 

Every test follows a standard format that conforms to proper brewing practices. All tests must use:

  1. Fresh, cold water.
  2. Proper grind for the required brewing time of the device.
  3. 60 grams of coffee per liter of water.
  4. Water contact temperature that is measured in the center of the filter on the surface of the coffee.
  5. Adjusted voltage during the test to obtain the given wattage of the brewer.
  6. Equipment working at full capacity. 

In order to receive the ECBC Seal of Approval, a coffee brewer must meet ten standards:

  1. Brewing Time and Coffee Grind: Time is crucial to cup flavor and the recommended time to brew coffee must be between 4 and 6 minutes.
  2. Brewing Temperature: For normal operations, the temperature in the brew basket must reach 198° F within the first minute of the brew and stay between 198° - 205°.
  3. Solubles Concentration (Strength): The solubles concentration must be between 1.30% to 1.55%.
  4. Solubles Yield (Extraction): This refers to how much coffee material has been removed from the coffee grounds. The yield must be between 18% - 22%.
  5. Uniformity of Performance: Coffee soluble concentration must be consistent across 10 separate batches.
  6. Uniformity of Extraction: All the coffee in the brew basket must be moistened during the first minute of the contact time.
  7. Physical Measurements: The brew basket and carafe must be large enough to accommodate the desired coffee-to-water ratio.
  8. Sediment: Excessive sediment in the brewed coffee should be avoided. The brewer should produce no more than 75 milligrams per 100 milliliters of brewed coffee.
  9. Receptacle Container: The carafe must hold a full capacity of coffee with a minimum of 0.5 cm clearance from the maximum level of coffee to the bottom of the brew basket. The carafe must also maintain the temperature of the coffee no lower than 176° F during the first 30 minutes of holding time.
  10. Instructional Manual: The stated range of capacities for proper brewing should coincide with ECBC test ranges in all written and printed instructional and promotional material supplied with the brewer. Advice for correct coffee brewing should be included in the included material.

If the coffee brewer meets all the criteria above, it is awarded ECBC certification, which is recognized as a mark of quality and reliability by coffee professionals and enthusiasts around the world.

It’s a challenging and rewarding process that takes the coffee brewing experience to the next level. A coffee brewer that performs within the ideal ranges of the four T’s produces the perfect ratio of the coffee flavor compounds extracted into water, or put simply, what we enjoy when we sit back with a good cup of coffee.

ECBC Certification for Coffee Grinders

Similar to coffee brewers, coffee grinders must also undergo rigorous testing and evaluation by independent laboratories accredited by the ECBC. The testing process involves measuring the particle size distribution of the coffee grind, evaluating the consistency of the grind, and assessing the grinder's safety, durability, environmental impact, and ease of use.

A coffee grinder must meet the following criteria to receive ECBC certification:

  1. Coffee Volume: The grinder hopper must accommodate 60 grams of coffee beans.
  2. Temperature of Ground Coffee: The grinder must not heat the coffee more than 18° F immediately after grinding.
  3. Grind Retention: The grinder must be able to dispense ground coffee without retaining too much coffee. The average retention range is between 2.5 - 5%.  
  4. Grind Quality: The coffee grinder must be able to produce a grind distribution within +-5% of the ECBC grind standard.
  5. Uniformity of Performance: The grinder must produce reliable and consistent grinds repeatedly across 3 uses on the same setting.
  6. Uniformity of Extraction: The grinder must produce ground coffee that can be brewed to acceptable extraction using the SCA/ECBC Golden Cup Standard.
  7. Manuals and Instructional Materials: Any instructional, operating manuals, pamphlets and promotional material that comes with grinder must include some suggestion of coffee to water ratio and cleaning instructions.

If a coffee grinder checks all seven of these boxes, they are eligible for ECBC Certification. As you can see, the testing of grinders by the ECBC for coffee grinders is just as meticulous and rigorous as it is for coffee brewers.

Now, when you see that oval sticker on your brewer or grinder, you know it means that your coffee is destined to be delicious!

Moccamaster Brewers and Grinders: ECBC-Certified

We are proud to say that all Moccamaster coffee brewers are ECBC certified. The Moccamaster KM5 Burr Grinder is also one of the few coffee grinders to receive ECBC certification. Featuring a powerful direct-drive motor, the KM5 grinds coffee quickly and efficiently. With 50mm flat steel burrs and a stepless grind size knob, the ECBC-approved KM5 delivers a precise uniform grind at the exact size you need for a range of brewing methods.