How Hot is Too Hot? Correct Temperatures for Brewing Coffee

How Hot is Too Hot? Correct Temperatures for Brewing Coffee

Written by Guest Blogger,  Michael Hibbs

What is the correct temperature at which to brew coffee?

Water is often a neglected part of the coffee brewing process. As coffee lovers, we put a lot of time and effort into choosing and buying our specialty coffee. However, what we use to brew our beans with can have a significant impact on the finished cup…


What type of water should I use in the brewing process?

It is important to use fresh and clean water each time you brew coffee at home. Some people even go as far as using filtered or bottled water to brew. This may be something to consider if you live in an area that has water with a high mineral content or a chemical taste, as this will impair the flavor of your coffee.


Optimal coffee brewing temperature

There’s lots of science behind the perfect coffee brewing temperature. However, for most of us home coffee lovers, it’s enough simply to understand the correlation between the temperature of the water and the impact this has on the most important part of the brewing process – how the coffee tastes! After all, the whole point of selecting specialty or craft coffee is that it offers a superior drinking experience.


We all know that water boils at 100C (212F). For optimal brewing, it is important to keep the water below this point. The widely accepted temperature range for brewing coffee is 91C to 96C (or 195F to 205F). This will help achieve what’s known as ‘optimal extraction’.


You might be familiar with this term as applied to espresso, but it’s equally relevant to other home brewing methods. It basically means that the brewed coffee is neither flat and weak (under-extracted) nor burnt and bitter (over-extracted), both of which negatively compromise the taste of the finished cup.


Most brew methods take only seconds or minutes to complete, so it is important to ensure you get the most out of the time the ground coffee and water are combined. It’s also important to note that the optimal brewing temperature is the same for all brewing methods, except cold brew, and for all types of coffee, including Lanna’s Thai coffee.


If you’re serious about specialty coffee, investing in a thermometer can bring an element of precision into the brewing process that can help you enjoy your beans at their best. If you don’t want to have to get out a thermometer every time you brew, a good rule of thumb is to simply let the water reach the boil and let it cool for about a minute before introducing it to the coffee grounds.



What’s the best way to keep brewed coffee hot?


If you want to keep your brewed coffee hot, you might be tempted to leave it warming on the hotplate of your drip coffee maker or even to zap a lukewarm cup in the microwave to heat it up. However, to retain the optimal flavor, the best advice is it to transfer your coffee into a good quality coffee thermos or insulated travel mug. These can keep your coffee at a drinkable temperature for several hours, without the risk of burning your brew.


Enjoying your specialty coffee at its best

Hopefully you now understand a little more about the relationship between water, and more importantly, the temperature of the water you brew with, and the taste of your coffee. By taking the time to appreciate how you can get the most out of each and every cup, you can make the process of brewing specialty coffee at home all the more rewarding. 


Of course, if you’ve recently made the switch to Lanna Coffee, or even signed up for their subscription coffee service, you’ll also appreciate a different and much more worthwhile relationship between coffee and water: as your purchases make clean water possible for the hill tribes in Northern Thailand.



Michael Hibbs is a "self-made barista" and currently shares his love for coffee on his website Little Coffee Place. Coffee is his passion, and he can't spend a day without a hot and delicious cup of joe.

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