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What is the best temperature to brew coffee?

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Temperature Matters

We all have our own coffee making rituals because coffee is something very personal – we love that taste, it gives us pleasure (and a lot of energy), and we just want it to be perfect. 

There are, of course, those who grab a coffee from a machine, gulp it down and go on with their business, but this is not about them. This is about those who care about their coffee.

And temperature makes a huge difference for taste and quality. Let’s jump right in.

Brewing temperatures explained

Some say coffee-making is an art, but here we’re going to talk about the science behind the perfect brew. 

Much will depend, of course, on your brewing method.

If you’re using a coffee-maker, your brewer should take care of the whole process, but the water should be maintained at 195 – 205 degrees Fahrenheit (90 – 96°C). 

There are baristas who swear 205°F is the ideal temperature, but, for regular consumers, it’s not always easy to be that precise. Anyway, brewing at this temperature allows the hot water to extract all the flavors and aromas carefully and quickly.

Check your coffee machine manual and see if the temperature is right!

Experts in the industry say that colder water will give you a coffee that is flat and under-extracted. A wannabe coffee!

On the other hand, brewing your coffee at a temperature higher than 205°F is also bad. You want to get the most out of your coffee, but apparently hotter water extracts too much flavor from the beans and this will make your coffee bitter.

There is such a thing as cold brew, but that’s a completely different story and it does not refer to the traditional brew we’re dealing with here.

If you’re brewing your coffee manually, you should bring the water to the boiling point which is 212°F (100°C). Turn the heat source off and allow the water to cool down for a minute before pouring it over the ground coffee.

Coffee connoisseurs recommend using a thermometer to make sure the water temperature is optimal. You can use a traditional one or a laser one.

Another tool that might come in handy is an electric gooseneck kettle, which allows you to set and monitor the temperature of the water.

So what temperature is ideal?

Everybody loves the smell of hot coffee, but should you be drinking right away? Obviously, at 205°F, there’s a considerable scalding risk, so you need to be careful. And patient. 

The preferred temperature for a cup of coffee and, indeed, the most recommended is 140 +/-15 degrees Fahrenheit or 60+/-8.3 degrees C. 

Now, this is definitely a matter of choice and personal taste so you can experiment as much as you want to see what works for you!

One thing to keep in mind though – adding milk or cream will lower the temperature of your coffee!

No matter what type of coffee you prefer brewing at just the right temperature – 195 – 205 degrees Fahrenheit – will allow you to enjoy all the flavors and aromas in those little magic beans!

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