What is the best temperature to brew coffee?

According to the SCAA, the optimal water temperature for coffee is 92 – 96C (197.6 – 204.8F) for 90% of the contact time.

In manual brewing method such as french presses and pour-overs, this can be achieved by bringing the water to a boil and letting sit for 3-5 minutes before adding it to the ground coffee.

 

29 thoughts on “What is the best temperature to brew coffee?”

  1. I have a related question,

    I have a related question, and can not seem to find the answer online:

    What is the ideal hold temperature for coffee, if such a thing exists? I suspect that the electric hotplate warmer on our office coffee maker is running too hot. 15-20 minutes after brewing the coffee tastes burnt.

    I have begun to leave the warmer off and simply microwave tepid coffee, which seems to have made this a non-issue, but my science background won’t let it rest. I would like to know the ideal hold temp, and if possible what specific chemical degradations are causing such a strong burnt flavor.

    Cheers!
    ~Mike

    1. RE

      The coffee is most likely being burnt. That and too hot brewing will turn the coffee bitter. Too cool will leave it weak and acidic. The flavor will start to deteriorate after about 45 no matter what. If you keep it in a thermal container (thermos, insulated carafe) it will stand a better chance of lasting than a hotplate. I use a French Press with RO filtered water @ 190 deg (just when bubbles start to rise should be close if you don’t have a thermometer) for 5-6 minutes before separating the grounds. Then pour into a thermal cup. Can’t do much better than that for good flavor. Even Maxwell House tastes good if it is brewed right. Most auto drip units won’t do well brewing and then burn the bejezzes out of it. Look into a Bodum Santos unit if you want automatic brewing at its best. Comparable results to a press but I still prefer a $15 press any day.
      Cheers

      1. coffee too burnt

        The older coffee makers burn the brew as noted. One method [seen at a surplus electronics store] is to find and locate a ‘muffin fan’ safety cover/screen. Clip off the side spokes, leaving only a wire structure that looks like concentric circles and to be set on top of the elemen. The glass pot sits on top of that screen and provides some buffering to lower the temperature to a more reasonable level. Looks goofy at first, but the coffee wont burn right away.

        1. re: coffee too burnt

          That’s a good idea. I had never thought of that. If you prefer something you can get at a well stocked kitchen store look for a stove element diffuser (not sure if that is the exact name). I use one for my vacuum pot on the stove and it works well.

          1. flame tamers

            The thing in the well stocked kitchen store is called a Flame Tamer.  We use it for coffee as well as keeping anything hot on the stove without burning.

    2. Hold temp.

      If one uses Two(2) filters (paper) you will have no “burn” at the 2 hr. mark. I use one mesh & one paper filter.
      It’s not the heat so much but the sediment that burns.

      1. RE:Hold temp.

        This may work for your tastes but you are also trapping most of the oils that give coffee a coffee flavor.

  2. There is an interesting

    There is an interesting discussion regarding flat & ramped brewing temperatures on commercial espresso machines…

    https://www.espressoquest.com/Blogs/6/43.html

    The author discusses how starting a lower temperature of 92C and finishing at 88C and can produce “smoother, richer and more chocolaty” espresso. He suggests that the high flat brew temperature of commercial espresso machines (even high end machines) within the 92-96C range are “too hot and too stable”.

  3. Serving Temperature

    Brewing coffee at 197.6 – 204.8F (which I can do at home) certainly produces the best results for me. However, a liquid at that temperature burns my tongue something fierce. I work at a cafe with pretty low-grade equipment; we use a large drip coffee pot and the coffee comes out at around 185F. I recognize that this is too low but our management won’t do anything about that. That being said, 185F is too hot, even for me, a heavy coffee drinker, to enjoy. I think I can figure out how to adjust the temperature of the warmer (a hot plate) that maintains the temperature after brewing is complete.

    Would letting coffee cool to a certain temperature and then keeping it there before serving affect taste? I was thinking that somewhere around 155 – 160F would be a good temperature to serve at–immediately drinkable, I think, while still hot enough for it to be at least warm until it is finished.

    1. RE: Serving Temperature

      I have mixed feelings on this. The good is that you are going to burn the coffee a little less. The bad is that you are essentially serving cold coffee. At some point someone is going to add milk to the coffee. This knocks the warmest coffee down to immediately drinkable so will probably knock what you are suggesting down to cold. I also think but can’t prove that there is an unequal loss of heat in a cup of coffee where the coffee cools from the top therefore you have warm coffee longer where as if you start off will cool drinkable coffee you may have cold coffee before you hit the bottom but like I said that is just a theory. The milk/creamer is my big worry.

      1. While it is true that there

        While it is true that there is an unequal heat loss, due to convection, the warmer coffee tends to always be above the colder coffee. (Water experiences decreasing density as it freezes, but above ~4°C (~39.2°F) it stops gaining density as it gets warmer, and becomes lighter as it gets warmer.

        So, while the heat loss is focused on the top, the colder water then sinks below the the surface, resulting in the hottest water always being at the top.

    2. Love coffee but can’t take the heat

      I am SO glad to read your post, because I have the same problem. Everyone who knows me is aware that I love coffee, so they are flabbergasted when they see me put an ice cube into my coffee cup before I serve myself. (You can use filtered water for ice cubes just as you can for coffee.) If the coffee was made strong with this in mind, the ice doesn’t dilute it too much.

      Another solution is to use “cubies” – reusable pillows of liquid that you freeze. I bought mine in the camping department, near the ice chests. You put them into your beverage and they don’t dilute it. But since they’re made of plastic, you may notice their flavor. When I use these at home, here’s what I do to minimize that risk: I put several cubies into a large cup like I would do if I were about to have a glass of iced tea. I pour my coffee into the cup right over the cubies, which cool the coffee as it passes over them. Then, I immediately remove the cubies with a spoon, wash and dry them, and return them to the freezer for the next time. Sometimes I add a little more coffee to bring the temperature up a notch. Now my coffee is ready to drink – not too hot, and black, just the way I like it. If I am especially lazy, I just pour a cup of coffee and drop a couple of cubies into it; but then I do notice a plastic taste, so it’s not as good a solution.

      I’d love to read anyone’s solutions to this problem – and I won’t apologize for having a sensitive mouth. It’s served me well all my life, so I should treat it well in return. 🙂

      1. bad idea putting anything

        bad idea putting anything plastic into a very hot cup of liquid will result in potentially harmful chemicals being extracted from the plastic cube.  They should only be used with room temperature liquids.

  4. Bialetti temperature

    I have a question about espresso making temperature. If the ideal brewing temperature is 92 to 96 C, then why does espresso (or in my case I actually use a stove top Bialetti pot) taste good? In making espresso you are pushing steam through coffee grounds and iisn’t steam at a temperature over 100C?

    1. RE: Bialetti temperature

      In a moka pot the steam pushes hot water through the grounds. You are not actually making coffee with the steam.

      I should also clarify that while a moka pot makes perfectly good coffee it is not espresso. Espresso by definition of coffee made with high pressure. Espresso requires a minimum of about 9 bars of pressure. A moka pot is more in the 1-1.5 bar range. If you look at your moka pot there should be a pressure release valve that will pop long before anything approaching 9 bars. The pot just is not designed for that pressure and without the pressure release valve could actually explode.

      1. Thanks for the clarification.

        Thanks for the clarification. But do you know what temperature the water that does get pushed through the grounds is?

        1. RE: Thanks for the clarification.

          Not really if I had to guess just slightly below boiling. I have limited experience with Moka pots but a vacuum pot works on a similar but not identical principal and the water that hits the beans is just a few degrees off of boiling when it gets pushed up to the grounds in a vacuum pot. Wlevation will also affect the temperature since water boils at a lower temperature with higher altitude. My guess would be that a Moka pot or a vacuum pot will be as close as you get to the ideal temperature in regular coffee. Most drip coffee makers use water far below the ideal temperature. The only consistent exception to this that I am aware of is the Technivorm which does not use a pump and uses water pressure to force the hot water into the filter basket.

  5. Massive Metric Mahem

    Since we live in a multicultural land with many languages and at least two mathematical systems can’t you bother yourself enough to do the math for the millions of morons who can’t and won’t??  Simply wasting the time of the author wouldn’t be a big deal but when you are ignorant enough to state a temperature in only one measurement then you immediately waste the time of millions of Americans who have been raised with their own standard and are now forced to convert the term. 

    Yup, I just queried the web to find out the optimal temperature for keeping coffee hot and now I’m tasked with converting centigrade to farenheit so I can figure out what temperature you are stating. 

    Well, I don’t do it so I don’t read any further into your article because down deep I’m convinced you don’t want any Americans reading your stuff.

    So, now I’ve lost interest in how hot coffee should be and I’m wasting more time letting you know just how dissapointed I am in your article.

    If you haven’t guessed it, I write electronic technical materials and I am one of those who must deal with both systems daily at work and I must make those conversions daily and write my document with both so others can read it without having to do those conversions.

    Keep writing, maybe I’ll finish your next article.

    Thanks

     

    1. RE: Massive Metric Mahem

      I’m not sure I can follow your comment here. The post reads “92 – 96C (197.6 – 204.8F)” and has read that way since at least 2006 (last edit time) and I believe going back to the origin of that answer.

    2. Grow up and stop acting like a victim

      First, the conversion is there–maybe you wanted it not to be there because someone pissed in your Cheerios this morning and you were looking to lash out at someone. Evidently, though, you need a basic reading lesson.

      I’m sorry, but there is nothing more off-putting than a US citizen acting like you are a victim of some vast conspiracy. Guess what, most of the world reads things on the web with only inches, miles, teaspoons, etc. I challenge you to look at virtually any recipe online. Where is your anger then?

      Yes, I am a US citizen, too, but I’m embarrassed when flatulent jerks like you feel the need to defend the rest of us.

      Grow up.

    3. proud of it.

      for your information decimal and centigrade will be the american  standard in a few years.  if you were still alive what would you say  then? even now, all measurements in science, medicine, electronics, engineering, etc. etc. are in your so called unamerican systems.  look on the next box of fruit loops or bag of potato chips you buy.  you are soon to be extinct, like the dinosaur.  and good riddance. Oh, and there is no way you write any thing technical unless it is the shade tree mechanic section of your local hick town paper where your favorite response to questions about problems on newer vehicles is “we don’t work on no cars with stinkin’ computers in them”.  plus, if you do these conversions on a daily basis then you would not have had to go anywhere to convert Celsius,.  You could have done it off the top of you head, or at least worked it out in a couple seconds with a pencil and paper.   you must take most people that can read and think even a little for idiots. technical writer my ass.   P.S. for your information the author did convert C to F.  right there in the text right after the centigrade temp.  maybe you didn’t  know that F stood for fahrenheit mr. technical writer.

      1. Proud of it, sure is

        Why not take the time to learn to spell and capitalize correctly.  By the way, I’m not sure that Americans will ever adopt the universal decimal system.  We were supposed to do it a long time ago and lo and behold, we still use are old, antiquated system of measurments.

        1. guys… the metric system is

          guys… the metric system is not the decimal system. Everyone uses the decimal system, it’s just the base 10 system. Metric on the other hand is a measuring system that brings our units in line with our numerals, for ease of mathing. I’m an american, and I use the metric system, and I teach it to my children, because it’s simply easier.

      2. Lame

        And why are you bringing up the decimal system?  Americans use decimals like 99.9% of the time!  Do you even understand what the decimal system is, in contrast to the metric system?  The former is a 10 based numeric system, the latter is a system of measurements.   One does not necessarily require the other.  The English system of measures of course employs the decimal system.  So while you’re throwing down allegations of all types of profane studity for those who fail to do some research, remember that you are soundly in that same group of people! 

    4. metric maYhem

      so if you work with metric to english conversions all the time you should at least remember the basic conversion formula. if not that then get a decent conversion app on your phone. so what kind of coffee machine do you have and why is this super critical information not available to you in any other format except searching the web? have another strong cuppa joe buzzkill!!

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