Determining what is the best temperature to brew coffee depends on the beans and the drink in question.
Everyone in the coffee community knows to brew their coffee between 195 – 205 degrees Fahrenheit. But where did that range come from, is it even true, and should we always stick to it?
Nothing in life is black or white. The same applies to coffee brewing temperatures. Several factors determine what temperature to brew your coffee, and sticking to one temperature will negatively affect your coffee drinking experience.
If you prefer your eggs cooked a certain way, you won’t eat them like that every time. It’ll get boring real quick.
Novelty is what makes us like things, and it’s the same with coffee. Each temperature range will bring out different flavors, and if you stick to one, you’ll taste the same flavors all the time, which isn’t much fun.
So instead of religiously sticking to one temperature, keep experimenting. But different factors impact your brew temperature.
Dark and light roasted coffee beans are each prepared differently and therefore need different brew temperatures to extract all their flavors. If you use water that’s cooler for a lightly roasted bean, it’ll taste underwhelming.
And if you use borderline boiling water for dark coffee beans, it’ll extract too much too quickly, leading to over-extraction. That’s why it’s important to consider your coffee beans’ colour before deciding on a temperature.
What Brewing Method Are You Using? With some brewing methods, you can get away with using hot or even boiling water without burning your coffee.
With others, you need to let your water sit for up to a minute. Otherwise, your water will over-extract, causing your coffee to taste bitter and burnt.
What part of the world do your beans come from? Colombia? Kenya? Ethiopia?
And at what altitude was it grown?
Are the coffee beans you’re using top-shelf coffee or average coffee?
All these factors impact your brewing temperature.
Lightly roasted coffee beans haven’t been roasting for long, so there are fewer natural oils and flavors. This is why you need to use water close to boiling to effectively extract all the necessary flavors.
Simply get your water to boil, wait 10 seconds, and pour. With darker roasts, you’ll want your water to be slightly cooler. Since darker beans have been roasted for longer, most of the flavor has already been extracted, and extracting too much too quickly can lead to bitter and burnt coffee.
So instead of waiting 10 seconds as you would with lighter roasts, wait 30 seconds. And if your coffee beans are super dark, consider waiting up to a minute.
Sometimes you buy coffee beans because you’re looking for a specific note like peach or chocolate just to taste nothing. Could this be false advertising?
Maybe, but in most cases, it’s just that your water wasn’t hot enough to extract the notes you’re looking for. Instead, boil your water, wait 20 seconds, and pour.
If you still can’t taste the notes you’re looking for, then half the time until you find it.
Yes and no. Coffee brew temperature is important, but not as important as most coffee aficionados say.
Will five degrees too hot or cold make your coffee taste undrinkable? Probably not. And if it does, then your water temperature isn’t the problem, your coffee beans are.
Boiling your water and waiting 10 to 30 seconds will do the trick. And don’t forget to experiment with different temperatures to taste the flavors they bring out.
Coffee brewing temperature is important and you should tailor your water temperature to your roast and preparation methods, but don’t obsess over it because it might ruin your coffee drinking experience.