About the European Coffee Brewing Centre

European Coffee Brewing Centre is run by the Norwegian Coffee Association.

Introduction

Brewing coffee depends not only on roast, ground coffee and water, but also on the equipment, which ensures that the water extracts the coffee optimally. The construction of such brewing equipment is thus of greatest significance.

The Norwegian Coffee Association (NCA) was established in 1962. The organisation promotes coffee as a quality product, and since its start NCA has focused on quality standards for coffee and coffee brewing.

In 1975, NCA established its coffee laboratory European Coffee Brewing Centre. This laboratory is carrying out evaluations of coffee brewers based on the standards from the studies of the Coffee Brewing Center of the Pan American Coffee Bureau.

Until 1991 our laboratory received funds from the International Coffee Organisation.

In 1997 SCAA – Specialty Coffee Association of America introduced their coffee brewer certification programme. Consequently, we are now two organisations co-operating on a coffee brewer programme based on the same criteria.

The certification programme is designed to develop precise standards for brewer evaluation. By doing so, it will promote a clear understanding of the factors that influence the ultimate quality of the coffee beverage. The standards serve as a basis for communication among coffee suppliers, brewing-equipment manufacturers, filter manufacturers and most importantly the end users at both home and catering locations.

The programme is designed to evaluate, recognise and promote those coffee brewer models that have the capability of delivering an outstanding coffee beverage to the consumer. The programme is voluntary. Any manufacturer may submit any brewer for evaluation.

An updated list of the approved brewers will always be found on our website.

Our Certification Programme has been highly successful.
More than 90% of the Norwegian catering trade and more than 50% of the households have purchased brewers meeting our certification standards. Since the start of ECBC in 1975 we have achieved to maintain high coffee consumption per capita, among the highest in the world.

Evaluation of the Coffee Brewer

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.

To brew coffee correctly, a range of factors must be optimal

The 6 most important are:

  • the degree of grind of the coffee
  • the contact time between the coffee and the water
  • the temperature of the water
  • the filtration
  • the wetting process
  • the technical construction of the brewing equipment