• Shlomo Krudo

What's the Optimal Water Temperature For Coffee?

Updated: Oct 24

The temperature of the water used is an essential aspect of the coffee-brewing process and is one of the vital components. In a nutshell, this indicates that you must take care to prevent the temperature of the water from ever reaching more than 205°F.


Can You Use Boiling Water to Brew Coffee?

Brewing should be between 195 and 205°F or between 91 and 96°C, except for cold brew.

It's essential to keep in mind that this temperature range is lower than the boiling point of water, which is 212°F (100°C); that's the main takeaway from this: water at a temperature that's too hot for making coffee.

The temperature of the water is significant because it affects the rate at which the soluble compounds in coffee dissolve.

Because it is more difficult for water to dissolve many compounds that contribute pleasing flavors to your cup at temperatures lower than 195°F ((91°C), the lower end of the ideal temperature range is 195°F (91°C).

This is because it could take the water longer to dissolve those compounds at lower temperatures.

Suppose the water is overheated (for example, to the point where it is boiling). In that case, it will dissolve a disproportionate number of compounds in a concise amount of time, which may cause the coffee to be either bitter or acidic.


What's the Optimal Water Temperature For Coffee? | Coffee brewing | Brewing Java | Take control of your home brewing

Heat retention

Because I don't have the patience to wait for the water to boil, I heat it in a standard electric kettle at home because it heats the water very quickly.

When I use a pour-over method, I transfer the water from the electric kettle to a gooseneck kettle.

The whooshing motion of the water during the transfer cools it down enough (on average, to close to 205°F, (96°C) for it to be ready to pour, eliminating the need for me to wait.

There are electric gooseneck kettles, but my current setup works well for me.

After wetting the filter, a professional barista will frequently return the kettle to the heat source even though they are not actively pouring coffee.


Water Temperature Retention Tests

When in a hurry, wait thirty seconds after taking the kettle off the stove before pouring the water because waiting one minute would be too long.

Nevertheless, when I put this hypothesis to the test at my house, I was astonished by how well my tea kettle preserved heat.

When I tested the temperature of my water again after 30 seconds, it consistently registered 210°F (99°C).


After one full minute had passed, there was only a two-degree drop after that.

After two minutes, the temperature had dropped to approximately 203°F (95°C), having been about 207°F (97°C) one minute and thirty seconds earlier.

After three full minutes, the water had only dropped in temperature by an average of 12 degrees Fahrenheit (-11°C), coming in at a temperature of 200°F (93°C) across most tests.

This is still well within the temperature range that is optimal for brewing. Your surrounding environment has a significant impact on how quickly the temperature of your water will drop.

On the day of the test, the temperature in my room was 78°F (23°C), and I used a kettle made of stainless steel, which is an excellent material for maintaining heat.

If you are curious about the temperature of the water, you can conduct the same experiment at home using your kettle.

To ensure that the water they use is always at the ideal temperature, professional baristas use specialized equipment, which typically consists of water towers or kettles equipped with induction plates that can measure and maintain a specific temperature.

Even though you can get similar equipment, it's probably something you can only have to make beer at home.

It is possible to check the temperature of the water as it is being heated by using a thermometer with a digital readout; however, an alternative method is to remove the kettle from the heat for anywhere between thirty seconds and one full minute before pouring.

This should serve the purposes of the home brewer admirably well.

Remember that pouring water into a brewing device or brewing vessel causes a significant drop in temperature for the water.


What's the Optimal Water Temperature For Coffee? | Pour over | Brewing Java | Take control of your home brewing

In one experiment, I noticed that my water immediately cooled to 200°F (93°C) when it was poured directly off the boil into ceramic mugs that had not been preheated.

Furthermore, once it was removed from the protective embrace of stainless steel, the water lost heat rapidly until it reached approximately 160°F ( 71°C). As a result, many baristas attempt to compensate for this loss by preheating their equipment and the mugs in which they serve the coffee with hot water.

Both are attempts to cut down on the heat lost during heat transfer from the water used for brewing the coffee to the device and from the coffee itself to the mug.

When everything is considered, I am confident that the heat retention of a device or vessel will noticeably alter the flavor of the beverage being brewed.

Even though it won't hurt anything if you do it, I usually don't bother preheating my appliance in a standard kitchen unless it's a byproduct of me rinsing a paper filter.

But it's certainly not going to hurt anything if you do it.

At least for ceramic, preheating appears to have a beneficial effect on reducing heat loss.

In the tests I ran with preheated mugs, the water temperature dropped immediately to around 200°F (93°C); however, the inevitable drop to even lower temperatures was noticeably slower.

This indicates that your coffee has a better chance of remaining warmer for extended periods.


Elevation and Temperature of the Water

The boiling point decreases by 1°F for every 500 feet above sea level.

This indicates that the temperature at which water begins to boil in a location such as Denver, which is located 5,280 feet above sea level, is approximately 202°F (93°C) rather than the typical 212°F (100°C).

That's pretty crazy! What does this imply for those who work in the coffee industry and live a mile above sea level?

The ideal temperature range for brewing coffee is right around where the boiling point of coffee is located.

As was previously mentioned, it is not recommended to bring coffee to a boil at sea level; however, in higher-altitude locations such as Denver, it is possible to experiment with this method.

That's pretty crazy! What does this imply for those who work in the coffee industry and live a mile above sea level?

As was previously mentioned, it is not recommended to bring coffee to a boil at sea level; however, in higher-altitude locations such as Denver, it is possible to experiment with this method.


Final thoughts

Water temperature is critical for the quality of your great cup of coffee. To avoid acidic or overly bitter-tasting coffee, use water that is between 195°F and 205°F.

Anything colder or hotter will alter the flavor of the coffee beans, extracting unpleasant notes that would not be present otherwise.

Use the same temperature range for espresso and iced coffee for a smooth taste. Use water that is no warmer than room temperature for cold-brew coffee.

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