The Best Temperature to Brew and Drink Coffee

Best Temperature to Brew Coffee

You might think all coffee is made with the same hot water, but that's not true! As a barista, I know how important water temperature is for making and serving coffee.

Why does it matter? What temperatures are best for different types of coffee? And when is coffee too hot?

This article covers everything from how water temperature affects flavor to the best temperatures for making and serving coffee.

If you're interested in the science of making great coffee, you should read this guide on the best temperatures for coffee.

In this article we'll cover:

  • How Water Temperature Affects Coffee Flavor
  • Best Brewing Temperatures for Various Types of Coffee
  • Serving Temperature: How Hot is Too Hot?
  • Final Thoughts
  • Frequently Ask Questions

coffee brewing temperatures

Ideal coffee brewing temperatures

How Water Temperature Affects Coffee Flavor


In the coffee brewing process, hot water flows through ground coffee beans, releasing their: oils, acids, flavors, and aromas.

The compounds extracted vary based on the brewing water's temperature.

  • At lower temperatures: aromatics and subtle flavors of sweetness and acidity are extracted. 
  • As higher temperature: heavier body components and bolder notes become prominent.

It's important to remember that if the water is too hot or too cold, it can make your drink taste bad.

  • Under-extracted coffee tastes sour. 
  • Over-extracted coffee tastes bitter.

But there's more to it than simply finding the perfect temperature. Different types of coffee need specific brewing techniques, which are key to creating the best taste.

As a barista with experience in many espresso bars, it's important to experiment with different temperatures to find the best extraction for each blend. It may take time and patience, but it's worth it in the end.

Best Brewing Temperatures for Various Types of Coffee

Best Temperature to Brew Coffee

Is there one “best” temperature for brewing coffee? It's not that easy. Let's see what people say and what I suggest in the end.

Boiling Water for Coffee Brewing

Using boiling water for brewing coffee doesn't always result in a tasty cup. It can bring out bitter flavors, especially with delicate light roasts or fragile pour-over methods. Ultra-hot temperatures might burn the coffee, making it taste bad.

Another drawback is that when water is heated to boiling (212 degrees Fahrenheit or 100 degrees Celsius), it loses oxygen. This can lead to a coffee that tastes flat, with muted aromas instead of the bright floral scents you'd expect from freshly brewed coffee.

So, what's the lesson?

If you want to avoid bitterness or burnt flavors and get the best results, it's important to control the heat levels and adjust them based on the type of beans and brewing method you're using.

One Perfect Temperature to Brew Coffee

After lots of research and trying out many brewing methods, the National Coffee Association has figured something out. They recommend using water between 195 and 205°F (90-96°C) for brewing. This range helps get the best flavors from the beans without making the coffee taste bitter from being too hot.

This way is much better than using boiling water, but there's still room for improvement.

Changing Water Temperature According to Brew Type and Beans

When choosing a temperature for brewing coffee, think about the roast level of your beans first.

Different roast levels extract flavors differently.

  • For dark roasts, start with cooler temperatures, about 85-90°C. 
  • For light to medium roasts, use hotter temperatures, around 92-95°C.

The brewing method is important too, as it can change the best temperature range for your beans.

  • For a French press, use coarser grounds and temperatures at 205ºF/96ºC. 
  • Espresso needs finer grounds and temperatures between 197-205°F/92-96°C. 
  • For pour-over, use medium grounds at temperatures between 205-210ºF/96-98°C.

But, a study found that drip coffee tastes good even at 87°C.

Making great coffee is about trying different things. Experiment with temperatures until you find what you like best for your beans, how fine you grind them, how you brew, and what you enjoy.

Here's a table with the best temperatures for each method. Aim for the lower end for dark roast and the higher end for light roast.

Serving Temperature: How Hot is Too Hot?

Best Temperature to Brew Coffee

The brewing temperature is the temperature at which you make coffee, while the serving temperature is the temperature at which you serve it.

What Is The Ideal Coffee Serving Temperature?

The perfect serving temperature for a cup of brewed coffee is around 136°F (57.8°C).

This lets you enjoy all the flavors from brewing without burning your mouth or throat with extreme heat.

Tips for Maintaining the Perfect Serving Temperature

The aim is to keep your coffee within the suggested temperature range without making it too hot or too cold.

Here are some simple tips to help keep your drink warm but not too hot:

  • Warm up your cups or mugs with hot water before pouring your coffee. 
  • Pour your freshly brewed coffee into a preheated carafe or thermos. 
  • Cover your containers (cups, mugs, decanters) with lids whenever possible to keep the heat in without changing the taste. 
  • Consider using thermal sleeves to keep your drinks warm when serving or taking them away. These sleeves wrap around cups and mugs to keep them warm and also protect your hands. 
  • Espresso cools down quickly, so it's best to serve and enjoy it right away.

Final Thoughts

Finding the perfect temperatures for different brews can be tricky, but it's worth trying out different options to get the best flavor and aroma from your coffee.

Once you find those ideal conditions, make sure you serve your coffee at the right temperature range too.

Experiment with different temperatures and ratios – you might discover some delicious combinations. Share your experiences in the comments below!

Frequently Ask Questions

Can I cool down my coffee quickly without changing its taste or smell?

Definitely! These tricks can help reduce the heat and keep the flavors and aromas intact:

  • Try placing it in an ice bath. 
  • Try dipping a metal spoon in and out of the cup. 
  • Pour it into a metal cup.

How can I tell if the water temperature is right for brewing coffee?

Using a thermometer can ensure your water is the correct temperature. This helps you start your brew just right and adjust if needed.

Does water lose weight when heated?

No need to worry about losing water when heating it. The weight won't change unless you boil it in an open container for a long time.

How long should I wait before drinking freshly brewed coffee?

It's best to wait for a few minutes after brewing to let the flavors settle and the temperature to cool slightly. This allows you to fully enjoy the taste without risking burning your mouth.

Is it better to cool coffee gradually or quickly?

Gradual cooling allows the flavors to develop and meld together, resulting in a more balanced taste. Quick cooling methods may preserve the aroma but can sometimes affect the flavor


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