If you’ve decided to abandon your automatic coffee maker and started brewing manually at home, it is necessary to know that many requirements should be met to create a good cup. These typically include choosing freshly roasted coffee beans, grinding correctly, and figuring out a suitable ratio of coffee to water.
However, there is one more factor that is essential to a flavorful and delicious cup of coffee: setting the right water temperature.
In fact, half the issue with sub-par coffee often comes down to this element. Overheated or underheated, no bean could reach its full expression of flavour. Keep reading to learn the ideal range of water temperature for brewing coffee and some useful tips to keep it stable.
How does water temperature affect the flavour of your coffee?
Water makes up 90 to 95% of a coffee cup. But it isn’t the most important ingredient. Along with the mineral composition, water temperature is also responsible for the overall taste: sour, bitter, sweet. This factor has a direct effect on the extraction process, which draws out the flavours from the coffee grounds.
Many complicated chemical reactions occur when you are brewing. The water extracts oils, caffeine, malic, acetic, and chlorogenic acids. Temperature plays an essential role in this process since a higher level will allow for a quicker rate of extraction. This means it would be more challenging to control the extraction when undesirable flavour elements being released so quickly.
Low water temperatures can also cause some issues. While you can extend the brewing time to make up for the difference in temperatures, some compounds in coffee grounds aren’t extracted fully. This will lead to sour coffees which lack body because the extracted compounds might be mainly acids without necessary oils to create the bitterness and sweetness for an overall balance.
For these reasons, controlling water temperature is really important for any coffee lover or barista to create a flavorful and delicious cup of coffee.
Watch this short clip for more useful information:
What is the ideal water temperature for making coffee?
Ideally, you should brew coffee between 90 and 95 degrees for optimum extraction. This is the suitable range in which water-soluble flavour components can dissolve most easily in water. You would approximate this level or reach it exactly, depending on your brewing equipment.
Go too high and you will dissolve grounds overly; go under and these components won’t dissolve properly. As long as you keep the water temperature in this range, your cup of coffee will taste good.
If you want to experiment, the following guidelines can be helpful for your favourite method:
a) French Press – 93 degrees
With its extended brewing time and coarse grind, French Press could create a bold cup by remaining right at the middle of the suggested range. For 93-degree water, take it off the heat at the boiling point, then wait 1 minute before pouring.
b) Pour Over Coffee – 90 to 96 degrees
Pour over coffee often works well at the higher end of the temperature range for lightly roasted coffees. However, you should reduce the temperature a little if you are brewing darker roasts. Also, do not forget to pre-heat your container and cone to avoid the loss of heat when transferring.
c) Aeropress – 77 to 96 degrees
The water temperature for brewing Aeropress can vary, depending on the amount of time you want to brew. Typically, the upper range might work well. If you plan to press slowly and extend the brewing time, it is better to reach closer to 77 degrees.
d) Espresso – 88 to 93 degrees
Though most coffee machines often automatically set the right water temperature, it is still necessary to know what you should aim for. The range from 88 to 93 degrees is ideal for extracting flavours in a cup of espresso.
How to control water temperature
If you want to ensure the right water temperature easily and consistently, then purchasing a temperature-control kettle seems to be a good solution. This kind of appliance can be pre-set at a specific level and will keep your water’s temperature stable even when you are going out.
Also, it is advisable to buy a good thermometer to control the variation of temperature when you are brewing.
Another important factor you need to consider when brewing coffee is the elevation of your location. This will affect the water’s boiling point, which effectively changes the ideal range of brewing temperature.
Basically, the higher you live, the lower the level you need to boil water. So if you live near the sea, it is better to allow the water to cool for a few minutes after it reaches the boiling point. For a higher area where boiling happens lower than 92 degrees, just slightly lower the temperature for better results.
The bottom line
Ultimately, it’s necessary to know that a good cup of coffee results from a variety of components: water, dosage, and good beans. If you spend energy and time in brewing at home, don’t ignore any of these factors. While it makes no sense to drive yourself crazy about small variation in water temperature, you should ensure that your beans are treated at the right range to bring out the best flavours.
At the end of the day, remember that good beans should deserve a good brew.