The Ideal Coffee Temperature: For Drinking and Brewing

the coffee community has different opinions about the correct temperature of coffee to prepare and drink it. there is certainly personal preference to the answer, but also a lot of research on the subject. I reviewed the available scientific studies and experimented with preparing and testing coffee at different temperatures.

All information is summarized here, including what is clear (water brewing temperature) and what is not (such as coffee drinking temperature). I did a lot of research to get to the bottom of this, including reading half a dozen studies. it’s all summed up in a comprehensive FAQ section. feel free to jump to a section to get started:

Reading: Best coffee temperature

  • brewing temperature
  • temperature of coffee to drink
  • coffee taste at different temperatures
  • what is the best water temperature to prepare coffee?

    The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) recommends brewing coffee with hot water at 195 – 205 degrees F (about 90-96 C). The SCA is the organization that most baristas and Q graders follow. In general, if the coffee industry uses 195 to 205 degrees to brew coffee, the rest of us should follow suit.

    This hot water temperature maximizes coffee extraction during brewing. Extraction is a chemical reaction that removes the soluble oils from the coffee bean and converts them into brewed coffee. coffee extraction requires a solvent (water) and energy (heat), and higher brew temperatures speed up coffee extraction. Since we all want to have our coffee as soon as possible, we use a high temperature to prepare the coffee.

    can you use boiling water to make coffee?

    Most coffee roasters discourage the use of boiling water for coffee. the common opinion is that boiling water scalds the coffee and over-extracts the soluble oils, resulting in a bitter taste. I think it’s perfectly fine to use boiling water to brew coffee, as long as you reduce the brew time.

    There is no clear evidence that boiling water alone causes over-extraction or “scalding” of coffee beans. after all, coffee beans are already roasted at 385 degrees, well above boiling temperature.

    One study found that people did not notice any difference in taste when drinking coffee brewed at different temperatures. Okay, the study found that extraction levels had a big impact on flavor. therefore, while the temperature of the water itself does not affect the flavor of the brewed coffee, the temperature does lead to more extraction, and the extraction greatly affects the flavor. that means boiling water is fine, but be sure to factor that in with a shorter brew time!

    i recommend brewing between 195 and 205 degrees f because that’s the sca standard. most brewing guides you’ll find use this standard water temperature for coffee. if you use boiling water, be sure to shorten brew times. It helps to try the coffee at different temperatures and make it with what tastes best.

    See also: Menu Starbucks

    Boiling water can make sense because the water cools as it leaves the kettle and mixes with the coffee grounds. one experiment found that boiling water was 200 degrees once it came into contact with coffee grounds. for all the people who warn that boiling water scalds coffee beans, it may not even be possible to do so. boiling water takes a minute or two to cool down to the standard range of 195 to 205 degrees.

    does the brew temperature change for different types of coffee?

    use 195-205 degrees for all types of coffee brewing (drip, pour over and immersion devices). most brew recipes will vary brew time rather than water temperature. cold brew coffee is the exception, where the water is either room temperature or chilled. cold brew also takes 12 hours to brew, showing the balance between heat and brew time.

    light roasts require a higher water temperature. light roast beans have more soluble oils due to their shorter roast time, so be sure to increase the temperature or time to fully extract the flavor of a light roast. light roasts will taste more acidic (sour) if not sufficiently extracted. meanwhile, dark roasts have a longer roasting process, which extracts more solubles from the coffee. use a lower brew temperature or brew time for dark roasts. dark roasts will taste particularly bitter if over-extracted.

    what is the best temperature for coffee to drink?

    The sweet spot for drinking coffee is 140 degrees, which maximizes the flavor of the coffee without burning your tongue. most people prefer to drink coffee at 140 degrees. another study found that 136 degrees was the best temperature when considering personal preferences and risk of burns.

    There is a wide range of preferences about the right temperature for drinking coffee. This is mainly because the flavor of the coffee changes at different temperatures. higher temperatures activate taste receptors on the tongue. this explains why hot beer is bitter and melted ice cream is sweet. Similarly, the temperature of the coffee makes a big difference to the perceived flavor. one study found that temperature was more important than blend in judging coffee flavor.

    After reviewing all the studies, I conducted an experiment on the temperature of coffee. I used a basic kitchen thermometer to record the temperature of the coffee before each sip and noted the flavors. Surprisingly, the coffee tasted different with every 10 degree change in temperature.

    Delicate flavor notes appear when the coffee is cooler than 120 degrees, along with acidity and bitterness. as the temperature rises above 160 degrees, the burning sensation of hot coffee dominates the flavor.

    the national coffee association (nca) recommends serving coffee at 180 degrees. I found that the temperature of the coffee was too hot. their recommendation could be informed by the evolutionary bias towards the preference of hot drinks. That could be a good thing for the world, as the University of Colorado Boulder found that people holding a cup of hot coffee judged others to be more generous and caring.

    See also: Top 8 Địa chỉ mua cafe rang xay ngon tại Hà Nội –

    but there are safety risks in drinking extremely hot coffee. hot beverages can cause burns above 116 degrees, and regular hot coffee drinkers are actually less sensitive to sweet flavors.

    Clearly, there is no optimal temperature for drinking coffee. it depends on how much you prefer heat versus flavor. this is how I found the taste of coffee at different temperatures.

    over 175 degrees: too hot

    Coffee at 175 degrees or higher will burn the taste buds. there is also no discernible coffee flavor at this temperature. the only reason to serve coffee at 175 degrees is to make it last a while.

    160-175 degrees: spicy with some flavor

    Coffee will taste “hot” between 160 and 175 degrees, but it’s still drinkable. not much flavor at this level of heat. I noted brief sourness or bitterness at the beginning of each sip. the aroma is strong at these temperatures. I recommend 160-175 degrees if it’s a cold morning or if you’re drinking a low-quality cup of caffeine.

    140-160 degrees: lots of flavor and warmth

    This is the ideal place to enjoy a hot and quality coffee (at least for me). coffee at 140-160 degrees warms up the body. you will notice the roasted flavor and the characteristic bitterness of the coffee. this coffee temperature is good for dark roasts and for people who like the warmth of a hot drink.

    120-140 degrees: full of flavor and warm

    The full range of coffee flavors is evident between 120 and 140 degrees. each sip lingers for a few seconds as taste buds assess the full range of delicate notes and acidity. the coffee is no longer “hot” below 140 degrees but feels lukewarm. 120 to 140 degrees is a good temperature for any craft coffee, particularly a light roast with different notes.

    less than 120 degrees: “cold” but tasty

    at this point, the coffee is “cold”. the tongue no longer reacts to heat. this allows the flavor to remain in the mouth and become perceptible. it was hard to get over the perception that this coffee was “cold”. it’s best to pour the coffee over ice once it approaches 100 degrees.

    what’s next?

    Now that you know the proper temperature for brewing and drinking coffee, read our brewing guides to brew your next batch of craft coffee.

    See also: Best Coffee Mug Warmer for 2022


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