ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Coffee Talk: Standards Deliver Superior Brew

New York, Aug 06, 2008

Coffee is a critical component of the morning routine for more than fifty percent of Americans. From high-tech, automated appliances to drip coffee makers, standards help to keep coffee delicious and safe for people to enjoy worldwide.

On the high-tech front, a new coffee machine called the Clover is revolutionizing the way the popular morning beverage is brewed and enjoyed. Combining the mechanisms of a traditional French press and a vacuum pot coffee maker, the Clover uses precise measurements of beans, water temperature, and brew time to produce exceptional cups of coffee.

The Clover relies upon a proportional integral derivative (PID) controller to produce the exact temperature of water desired for each cup of coffee. Similar to the trial and error process of adjusting a bathroom shower’s temperature, PID controllers are generic control loop feedback mechanisms that sense and adjust temperature automatically. If the water being used is too hot, the PID controller senses that, and adjusts the temperature to make it cooler. If the temperature is then too cold, the controller will sense that, and adjust it again, continuing the process in a loop until the water is exactly the right temperature.

Standards have contributed to the development and proper use of PID controllers like the one used in the Clover. IEC 60546, Controllers with analogue signals for use in industrial-process control systems - Part 1: Methods of evaluating the performance, sets guidelines for the performance of PID controllers using continuous input and output signals.

This standard was developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), Subcommittee (SC) 65B, Devices & process analysis. ISA, an organizational member and accredited standards developer of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), holds the secretariat for this subcommittee, and Beckman Coulter, Inc. serves as Assistant Secretary. ISA and NEMA – also an ANSI organizational member and accredited standards developer – jointly serve as the U.S. National Committee (USNC)-approved U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to SC 65B.

Originally published in 1987, an update to IEC 60546 is anticipated for 2008.

Advanced brewing technologies are not likely to be found on the average kitchen counter, but an American National Standard from ANSI member the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) ensures that household coffee makers perform consistently and safely.

ANSI/AHAM CM-1-2007, Method for Measuring Performance of Household Coffee Makers, guides the measurement of specified product characteristics, facilitating the comparison and evaluation of different brands and models.

No matter the brewing technology used, the quality and consistency of coffee is ensured by a number of standards developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), including:

  • ISO 20481:2008, Coffee and coffee products -- Determination of the caffeine content using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) -- Reference method;

  • ISO 8460:1987, Instant coffee -- Determination of free-flow and compacted bulk densities;

  • ISO 11817:1994, Roasted ground coffee -- Determination of moisture content -- Karl Fischer method (Reference method);

  • ISO 1446:2001, Green coffee -- Determination of water content -- Basic reference method;

  • and more.

These standards were developed by ISO Technical Committee 34, Subcommittee 15, Coffee. The ANSI-accredited U.S. TAG Administrator to this subcommittee is the Specialty Coffee Association of America, an ANSI organizational member.

To learn more about coffee brewing in America, visit

 Homeland Defense and Security Standardization Collaborative