To me coffee is a personal preference. What works for one person may not work for another. Some people enjoy purchasing coffee from Starbucks, whereas others may like to buy their coffee at McDonald’s. Others may simply prefer to brew their coffee at home.
There are several components that make up a great cup of coffee; beans, equipment, the grind and even the coffee to water ratio. Today I would like to look at something that often doesn’t get considered much – the water temperature.
The coffee that we drink is made up of mostly water. Cold, fresh, filtered or bottled water works best. When coffee grounds are put in contact with water, the coffee’s flavour is extracted. This concept works in all brewing methods. Certain temperatures help extract the oils contained in coffee beans more quickly.
The perfect water temperature for brewing coffee
What is the best temperature for brewing coffee? According to most experts the standard is 200 degrees F (96 degrees C) plus or minus a few degrees. Water that is not heated as high does not extract the flavours properly and can make the coffee taste weak. Water that is heated higher can make the coffee taste bitter.
There are two ways to get ensure that the temperature of the water is approximately in this range:
- Use a thermometer;
- Approximate the temperature. A good rule of thumb is that when the water in your kettle has come to a boil, let is sit for about 30 seconds.
Experiment, experiment, experiment
As mentioned earlier, coffee is a personal preference and there are suggested guidelines on brewing a good cup of coffee. I always suggest that you experiment with the brewing process until you get the coffee to taste the way that you like it. Some of the ways you can experiment are by adding more or less coffee grounds to the water to see how the coffee turns out. Grinding the beans finer or grinding them coarser to see how the flavour and texture of the coffee changes. The same can be done with the water temperature. Perhaps heating the water by a difference of 1 to 2 degrees might make the difference in a good cup of coffee versus a great cup of coffee.