Is there a right or wrong temperature for brewing your coffee? Should you brew coffee with boiling water? We asked our resident barista, Mar, to demystify the affect of water temperature on brewed coffee and the optimal temperature to use for the best flavor.
How does water temperature affect the flavor of coffee?
Mar: Coffee is a soluble product that is influenced by many outside factors, this includes, time, temperature and turbulence (or agitation/movement). When specifically looking at temperature, we can assume that the hotter the water, the faster the coffee will “dissolve,” as we go through the process of extraction.
What happens during the extraction process and how water temperature affects it? What happens when the water is too cold? Too hot?
Mar: During the extraction process, water is mixed with the coffee to, at a base level, dissolve the coffee’s soluble parts into the water. When new water is added, the more coffee particles it can pick up. Temperature comes into play because the hotter the water, the faster the coffee particles will be picked up by the water. A great analogy would be if you ever tried to mix sugar into water, you observe that when the water is hotter, more sugar dissolves with less stirring. However when the water is cold, almost no sugar dissolves. Coffee acts in a similar way.
What is the optimal temperature for brewing coffee?
Mar: The optimal temperature to brew coffee is typical in the range of 195 °F to 205 °F (91°C to 96°C). Obviously there are outliers like cold brew. The major difference in the brew temperature is understanding the theory and principles behind why temperature may act a specific way.
Does this optimal temperature change depending on the type of roast?
Mar: There are some recommendations based on roast and density. We can assume that darker roasts are going to be lower density, so we should brew at slightly lower temperatures to avoid over extraction because the coffee will extract quicker in the water. For higher density coffees with a lighter roast, we should try to use a higher temperature water to account for lower solubility.
What equipment is best for controlling the water temperature for coffee?
Mar: It’s best to use something that can accurately read temperature whether it be a kettle with a thermometer or using a digitally programmable kettle like our 1L Variable Temperature Kettle to get precise brewing temperatures every time. This also allows us to know this variable is controlled and gives us space to play with other variables within the coffee brewing process.
Moreover, almost the entire range of Bonavita coffee brewers is certified by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) to make the coveted Golden Cup. This means the powerful and precise heater built into the brewers maintains an optimal brewing temperature of 195° to 205°F (91° to 96°C) to produce the best flavor every time.