An essential part of making great coffee is getting the coffee brewing temperature right.
Just like you can’t bake something if the oven temperature is too hot or too cold, you can’t make good coffee if the water temperature is too hot or too cold.
To extract the best flavor from your coffee, you’ll need to brew at the correct temperature. The best temperature for brewing coffee is 205 degrees Fahrenheit or around 96 degrees Celcius.
Anything hotter will burn your coffee and give it an overly bitter, acidic taste.
Anything cooler and you’ll get an under-extracted, weak cup of coffee – if you could even call it coffee!
How to measure water temperature
Assuming you’re just using a regular kettle to heat up your water, you can use a simple cooking thermometer to get the exact temperature of the water.
Most households have one of these lying around as they’re also very useful for cooking meat and chicken.
Just insert the probe end of the thermometer into the water and see what the water temperature is.
- Super-fast: Instant reading thermometer with backlight features 3.9 inches food grade stainless steel probe gets temp readout within 3-5 seconds with high precision sensor
- Accurate readout: Cooking thermometer with temp range of -58 ~ 572 degree Fahrenheit (-50 ~ 300 degree Celsius); accurate to ±0.9 degree Fahrenheit; Perfect for indoor outdoor cooking, grilling, BBQ and so on
- Easy to use: Kitchen thermometer with foldable probe design folds away easily and locks into base for portability; Magnetic back and hook allows for convenient storage
- Smart design: Digital meat thermometer will auto shut off if readout stays on for 10 minutes; Powered by AAA battery; batteries included
- Backlight display: Grilling thermometer features backlight LCD display to let you see clearly while cooking in the evening, indoors or outdoors
A fancier way to measure the water temperature and a way you can definitely impress your friends is by using a laser thermometer.
You simply point the thermometer at the water and you’ll get an exact reading of the water temperature.
This may seem a little excessive but laser thermometers are definitely a cool gadget to have, and they’re not too expensive.
- BETTER ACCURACY: 12:1 D:S, lasergrip 1080 can accurately measure targets at greater distances compared to most other IR thermometers; For best accuracy, the distance between the thermometer and object of measurement should approximately be 14.17 in(36cm)
- TARGET QUICKER: Measure surface temperature ranging from -58℉ to 1022℉/ -50℃ to 550℃, you can choose the unit from ℉/ ℃; Response time: ≤500Ms; A built in laser gives you the precision to hone in on the exact space you want to measure
- ADDED FUNCTIONS: The LCD screen is backlit, also has an auto-off function to extend the battery life, and features a low battery indicator so you never accidentally run out of juice (battery included)
- VERSATILE DESIGN: Infrared technology makes it to measure the surface temperature of various objects especially temperatures above boiling points and below freezing points; Use it for cooking, ovens; A/C, refrigerators; or soapmaking cats toy etc.
- NOTE: The thermometer can't measure the internal temperature of an object; Temperature readings from this devices are inanimate objects, the measured temperature for humans or animals will not be correct; Class 2 laser, optical power 0. 5-0. 9Mw
Finally, yet a more efficient option is an electric gooseneck kettle. Many gooseneck kettles have various water temperature settings built in.
You simply enter the number you wish to reach and the kettle will heat up to exactly that much.
- Slow & Steady Flow: Achieve a perfect saturation with the finely curved gooseneck spout coupled with the ergonomically designed handle which allows for subtle adjustment to flow rate and speed drop by drop
- Precise & Responsive Heating: Set the desired temperature to enjoy coffee between 104°F to boil; only take 2min* (*lab data) to heat your water to 200°F, the perfect brewing temperature, and hold it there for 60mins owing to the built-in NTC thermistor which senses a one-degree change
- Prompt Temperature Checking: Read the real-time water temperature and the target temperature you set from the hidden LED panel on the kettle base
- Durable Performance: Grade 304 full stainless steel kettle from inside out is sleek in design and brings 1200W rapid heating, great coffee doesn't have to wait
- Safe to Use: A combination of auto shut-off at the set temperature and boil-dry protection supports safe operation of the kettle
Plus, you’ll have the added benefit of the gooseneck to perfectly bloom your coffee grounds and wet them evenly as you brew.
If you can’t get your hands on a kettle with a built-in thermometer, you can just let the water come to a boil and remove it from the heat, open the top of the kettle to increase surface area, and let the water rest for 30 seconds.
This should drop the water temperature by 4-7 degrees C and get you in the 96 degree/205 degree range, ready to mix with your coffee grounds.
Frequently asked questions
What happens if you brew coffee too hot?
If the water temperature is too hot, you’ll end up with an over-extracted cup.
Over-extraction is when the compounds from the coffee grounds are released too quickly, which tend to make the cup bitter and overly sour.
Keeping the water just under a boil will help make sure the flavors are extracted as evenly as possible, which is why the ideal coffee brewing temperature is 96 degrees Celcius.
Letting the water boil for too long can also ruin the cup, as boiling tends to concentrate the mineral content of water.
What’s the best temperature to drink coffee?
As you may imagine, drinking coffee right after it has been brewed is more likely to burn your tongue rather than excite your taste buds.
You should let coffee cool down a little before drinking it. How much you should let it cool really depends, as variances in temperature will affect the taste.
The higher end of temperature will taste slightly bitter and have notes of sweetness.
The medium end of temperature will taste more towards the bright and acidic range.
Can you brew with cold water?
You can make cold brew with cold water. Some recipes will call for room temperature water, and others call for cold water. Either is fine, because at that range, the brewing process has slowed down enough anyway.
Last update on 2021-01-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API