There is always more to learn about brewing coffee. A perfect cup of coffee is always close at hand but far away. Although we all know the importance of choosing the right coffee beans for your coffee, one factor that can seriously affect the taste (often overlooked) is the coffee brewing temperature!
No matter when the temperature is too low or too high, no beans can fully express their flavor.
The optimal coffee brewing temperature is 205 degrees Fahrenheit (or 96 degrees Celsius).
205°F is generally considered the best temperature for brewing coffee, but you can slightly lower it to 195°F. It means you need to keep the water temperature between 195°F and 205°F to get the best extraction.
205°F is lower than the boiling temperature of water at 212°F. You can use a thermometer to check the heat measurement, or you can approximate it. However, we recommend using a thermometer to control better and maintain the ideal brewing temperature.
How Does Temperature Affect Extraction
Water at different temperatures has different degrees of extraction from the coffee grounds. So what happens if the brewing temperature is above 205°F or below 195°F?
- Water temperatures above 205°F tend to be over-extracted from the ground and produce bitter coffee.
- Water below 195 degrees Fahrenheit tends to cause under-extraction, usually resulting in sour coffee.
The 195-205°F range is not an objective gold standard for coffee brewing temperature. This is only the most commonly used range by most people worldwide because it tends to produce the best and most balanced coffee. You can leave this recognized temperature range, but we do not recommend you to do so unless you are an experienced coffee veteran.
There are quite a few coffee professionals who use lower temperatures to obtain different coffee effects. For example, Jeff Verellen, the winner of the 2013 World AeroPress Championship, used water at 181.4 – 183.2°F.
If you have master-level control over other variables, you can do this, but most people like to stick to the practiced, classic range of 195 to 205 degrees.
How To Get Consistent And Reliable Water Temperature
First, find the altitude where you live. The boiling point of sea level is 212°F. On the high plains of Texas (3000 feet above sea level), the boiling point of water is 206°F. In Boulder, Colorado (5,000 feet above sea level), the boiling point of water is 202°F.
The higher your location, the lower temperature is required for the water to boil.
If you live in an area between 195°F and 205°F, you are lucky. You can directly use the freshly boiled water every time because it boils within the ideal range.
If you live at sea level, you need to let your water cool for a few minutes after boiling before using it. We recommend using a thermometer and stopwatch to see how long it takes for your water to cool to an acceptable temperature. It may only be one minute, but it may also be five minutes, depending on your altitude and the kettle’s size and material.
If you live in a high-altitude area boiling below 195°F, there is a risk of under-extraction. It would help if you made some adjustments. We recommend that you fully preheat your brewer to reduce temperature loss when pouring water. And through finer grinding or add brewing time to increase extraction.
Gadgets That Get The Job Done
You can use some convenient gadgets to heat the water to the specified temperature.
A traditional thermometer is an excellent tool worth having, which is economical and convenient. You can also buy a simpler and more accurate tool: a laser thermometer. You can purchase these devices at any hardware store.
Another convenient tool is the gooseneck electric kettle. This kettle has an electronic base that allows you to set and monitor the exact temperature of the water in real-time, which means that it can easily help you reach the optimal coffee brewing temperature. These kettles are absolutely accurate and a must-have for connoisseurs obsessed with coffee.
If you are using a regular kettle, you can always use the tried and tested method: boil it. Once it is boiled, pour out for 30 seconds, this will usually give you around 195-205°F. Of course, this is inaccurate. It is just an estimate of the water temperature, which risks destroying your coffee. So, please at least prepare a thermometer for your coffee.
What About Cold Coffee And Iced Coffee?
The perfect hot brew requires the perfect temperature, but you may be wondering how cold coffee and ice coffee fit in.
There are two methods for cold brewing coffee: room temperature steeping (about 70°F) and “standard refrigerator” temperature (about 35°F) steeping.
When the room temperature is steeping, you can brew it in cold water or room temperature water. Due to the high temperature, the steeping time does not need to be that long, usually about 8 to 12 hours (we recommend about 10 hours). Due to the warmer temperature, coffee tends to extract more, resulting in a more heavy-bodied coffee flavor.
When the “standard refrigerator” temperature is steeping, because the water temperature is lower, it takes longer to extract the flavor from the grounds. This method requires 12-20 hours (we recommend about 16 hours). The advantage of keeping low temperature during the steeping process is that it takes longer to extract and make it taste lighter. It also highlights the flavors and undertones and produces coffee with lower acidity.
Finally, the water you use is critical to the quality of coffee. We recommend that you always use filtered water to ensure the best brewing.
So, now you know that the perfect coffee brewing temperature is 205°F. This is the optimal temperature to release the best flavor and aroma and truly realize your full potential coffee beans. Why not bookmark and share this handy guide that allows you to make perfect coffee every day?
It is generally considered that 205°F (or 96°C) is the best temperature to brew espresso. But you can also brew espresso at 195°F, that is, you can control the coffee brewing temperature between 195°F and 205°F (90.5°C-96.1°C).
Unless you are an experienced barista, we don’t recommend that the coffee brewing temperature exceeds this range. Due to the effect of temperature on extraction, too high a temperature will cause your coffee to become bitter and burnt. Conversely, if the temperature is too low, it will cause the coffee to become sourer.
Cold coffee is usually brewed in two ways: steeping at room temperature (about 68°F-72°F) and steeping at ideal refrigerator temperature (about 35°F-38°F).
Due to the higher temperature, the steeping time is relatively short at room temperature, usually about 8-12 hours. It takes about 12-20 hours at the ideal refrigerator temperature due to the low temperature (we recommend 16 hours as a great starting point).
According to the rule that the longer you steep, the more you extract from the coffee grounds, adjust the steeping time appropriately.
Many people use boiling water to brew coffee because you only need to boil the water and then brew it. However, this will spoil the flavor of your coffee.
The optimal coffee brewing temperature range is 195°F to 205°F, and the temperature of boiling water reaches 212°F, making your coffee bitter due to over-extraction.
For your delicious coffee, you need to use some gadgets to monitor the water temperature. The traditional water thermometer is a great choice, practical and economical. Of course, if you are using an electric kettle, it will be perfect.