ECBC approved coffee machines and equipment extend the labeling system worldwide
September 01 - 2023
Coffee Geography Magazine
Does "machine coffee" have to taste bad? You can't work magic with the cheapest kind of coffee. But when the coffee machine itself isn't capable of brewing good coffee, then it doesn't really matter if the beans are of good quality.
Things have moved on. Conscious and coffee-loving employees, customers or guests are demanding better quality. The mindset that "coffee is coffee" is changing. And with a higher quality of coffee comes the demand that the coffee machine can make a good brew. Not everyone is aware that the ECBC approval programme covers not only coffee equipment for the domestic market, but also bean-to-cup machines in the professional market. More and more manufacturers are participating in the ECBC approval programme. Animo, Bravilor Bonamat, Spengler, Wittenborg, Gaggia, Necta, Crem/Welbilt, WMF, De Jong Duke, Franke and Jura are all well-known international manufacturers that supply approved coffee machines.
The European Coffee Brewing Centre (ECBC) was established in 1971 by The Norwegian Coffee Association. ECBC is an independent testing authority.The mission of ECBC is to test coffee brewing equipment according to The Gold Cup Standard. This standard is based upon scientific research from the Pan American Coffee Institute, European Coffee Brewing Centre and Specialty Coffee Association. The test program is developed by coffee science experts and professional coffee tasters to ensure precise standards for brewer evaluation. The coffee brewing equipment that passes the tests will be allowed to carry the Seal of Approval. The centre was supported financially by the International Coffee Organization (ICO) for many years. SCA and ECBC are co-operating on the programme based on the same criterias. Many of the large international manufacturers of coffee brewing equipment send their brewers to ECBC to test for approval.
Roast coffee contains a range of chemical substances, which are extracted when it comes into contact with water. Only about 30% can be extracted under normal conditions. This extract constitutes the colour, aroma, taste and body of the coffee.
The extraction of flavouring material from roast-and-ground coffee proceeds along pathways dictated by the natural laws of physics and chemistry. Only by understanding and applying those laws can an equipment designer create a brewer that delivers a high-quality beverage. Although appearance and aesthetic aspects of equipment certainly play a role in overall design, the first requirement of a brewing device is to deliver a coffee beverage of desirable flavour. Similarly, the convenience of assembly/disassembly and easy access to parts for efficient, economical service of equipment comes into play. These factors, however, also take a back seat to the brewer’s performance.
A brewer that looks good and is easy to assemble is of no benefit to the consumer if it prepares a poor-tasting beverage. As a result, equipment designers must know as much about the «science» of brewing as they know about the «art» of design.
Consumers, both in the professional and domestic market, are demanding high quality coffee and approved brewing equipment. Coffee brewing is precision. Time and temperature should ensure that the right amount of flavor and aroma is extracted from the coffee beans. A few years ago, the Norwegian Coffee Association began recommending that buyers request coffee machines approved by ECBC. Large public and private companies are requesting ECBC-approved equipment when preparing tenders for coffee services.