The Best Temperatures For Coffee Brewing Perfection
If you're as passionate about coffee as we are (and if you're reading this, we suspect you are), then you should be equally passionate about coffee brewing temperatures.
Regardless of the brewing method you choose, the water temperature is going to play a major part in the extraction process.
What Is The Perfect Coffee Brewing Temperature?
The perfect water temperature when brewing coffee ranges between 195 and 207. Although that may seem like a narrow range of temperatures, there is a wide gulf of outcomes within those 12 degrees. Also, keep in mind that temperature is one of many factors that impact extraction and brew quality. Other factors at play are the grind level of your beans, the coffee-to-water ratio, and even how the coffee bean was processed and roasted.
So please take these recommendations with a grain of sand...or should we say grind of coffee.
Temperature For Light Roast Coffees: 195 - 200 Fahrenheit (90.5 - 93.3 Celsius)
Temperature For Medium Roast Coffees: 200 - 205 Fahrenheit (93.3 - 96.1 Celsius)
Temperature for Dark Roast Coffee: 203 - 207 Fahrenheit (95 - 97.22 Celsius)
Use these ranges as a starting point and then follow the tips below to adjust for your chosen brewing method.
Most household drip coffee machines don't allow you to adjust the temperature, and most of them will automatically heat the water to somewhere within a range of 195 - 205. Without the ability to change the temperature, you'll need to rely on adjusting your grind size or water ratios to affect your extraction.
But there are a number of high-end drip machines that do allow for temperature adjustments. If you are the lucky owner of one, then adjust the temperature to match the roast level of your coffee.
The grind size for French Press is typically more standardized than other methods, which means the temperatures should remain fairly standardized as well. If your temperature and grind size are dialed in and your brew is coming out over or under-extracted, then pay close attention to how long you are letting your grinds steep before serving.
There is so much nuance within the pour-over method that it really depends upon the type of extraction you're after. Courser grind sizes can hold up to hotter temperatures, and finer grind sizes may need cooler temperatures to balance extraction.
Most espresso machines are going to brew somewhere between 200 - 203 but it is a variable that is set by the specific equipment you are using. Check your owners manual for details about the settings on yours. If your machine is operating properly, then it will be consistent from one extraction to the next.
What About The Temperature For Cold Brew?
The best temperature for making cold brew coffee is actually room temperature, contrary to the name of the drink. You may find some recipes that call for steeping cold brew coffee in the fridge, but we are firmly against that and recommend that it NOT be refrigerated until after all the grinds have been strained out.
Suggested Reading: The Lucky Goat Guide To Making Delicious Cold Brew Coffee At Home
What Happens If You Brew Coffee At The Wrong Temperature?
If you brew coffee at the wrong temperature it can lead to over or under-extraction of the beans.
Over Extracted is when too many of the soluble flavors of the roasted bean make it into your brew. This results in bitterness and a dull and empty flavor profile of your coffee.
Under Extracted is just the opposite and suggests that not enough flavor made its way to the final brew, and doesn’t achieve the proper balance of flavors.
The whole reason we target specific temperatures for different roast levels is that darker roast coffees extract more efficiently than lighter roasts. Or to state that in simpler terms, darker roasts unlock their flavors more easily than light roasts.
Hotter water is also a more efficient extractant than cooler water. That means the hotter the water the easier it is for the coffee beans to present their flavors. Since lighter roasts aren't as bold as dark roasts, they can use the extra boost of efficiency that hot water provides.
Is Boiling Water Too Hot For Coffee?
Yes, using water that is boiling hot will lead to over-extraction and an undesirable level of bitterness in the coffee. In fact, anything over 207 degrees is too hot for all roast levels and brewing methods.