Advice for Coffee Brewers

In a new effort to document and record the many learning objectives and skills required to complete your SCA Training Certifications - we will post a series of audio and video recordings with documentation to guide you in your path to becoming an SCA Master.

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Audio Notes


  • The origins of coffee as the fruit of different species of coffee tree

  • Identifies Arabica and Robusta and recognizes the coffee tree and cherry

  • The process of getting coffee from the farm through to the final drink

  • Explains journey of coffee, specifically that coffee is picked, the beans are extracted from the fruit and then eventually roasted and brewed

  • Two main coffee species: Arabica and Robusta. The flavor profiles of both species and ability to differentiate Arabica and Robusta in a taste test


  • The definition of strength versus extraction

  • Explains the concentration of coffee in the cup (strength) compared to dissolved coffee from the bean (extraction)


  • A sufficient amount ground coffee is required, per liter of water, to make a high-quality cup of coffee. This is defined as the Gold Cup or Golden Cup standard: 50+grams /±55 grams per liter

  • Identifies the correct ratio of coffee to water required to produce Gold Cup standard coffee

  • The quantity of coffee commonly to make a single espresso

  • Identifies the correct quantity of coffee grams for a single espresso used is 7 – 10g

  • This is dependent on personal choice, culture and the coffee used


  • Grind size affects the rate of extraction (based on surface area) and the speed water can flow through the coffee bed

  • Identifies the appropriate grind texture for espresso, paper filter and French press (cafetiere)

  • The time the water is in contact with the coffee is mainly a function of grind size

  • Explains why each grind size is appropriate


  • The amount of time the water is in contact with the coffee will allow different quantities of solids to be dissolved. This results in different brew times for different brew methods and volumes

  • Describes the amount of time for the following:

  • Filter Coffee (1ltr/32oz +) 4-6 minutes;

  • Single cup filter 1-3 minutes,

  • Espresso 20-30 seconds


  • The correct water temperature is required to dissolve the desired flavors from the ground coffee. This range is 92 - 96C/195 - 250F

  • Defines the correct temperature range for water used to brew coffee


  • An increase in turbulence of the water in contact with the coffee will increase extraction

  • Demonstrates how to use turbulence in different brewing methods as appropriate


  • Water quality varies in different regions and this can affect brew quality and machine function.

  • Demonstrates understanding of the existence of hard and soft water and limescale Explains that water may have unwanted taints/odors


  • Different filtering methods: paper, cloth, espresso basket, metal filter

  • Identifies different filter methods and their characteristics and storage requirements


  • The relationship between pressure brewing and impact on time and grind size

  • Describes the impact of an increase in pressure on the rate of extraction


  • Storage of coffee must manage the following which affect the freshness of coffee: temperature extremes, moisture and light

  • Explains the factors that adversely affect coffee freshness


  • Cleaning (or not cleaning) brewing equipment has a direct impact on the taste of coffee

  • Demonstrates correct equipment cleaning procedures


  • The breakdown in coffee aroma and taste over time, caused by the loss of temperature and/or evaporation

  • Tastes and discusses three reference brews that have been held under varying conditions and times


  • The differences between the following brewing methods: Immersion, Gravity, Pressure

  • The range of different equipment used for brewing coffee

  • Demonstrates the correct use of each method of brewing (immersion, gravity, automatic filter brew, pressure) using the correct grind profile and brewing recipe

  • Demonstrates the correct use of brewing skills on the equipment that is available

  • Knowledge of the correct use of available brewing equipment that uses immersion, gravity and pressure brewing