You're in Hot Water: Does Coffee Brewing Temperature Matter?


[Photograph: Vélocia on Flickr]

Brewing great coffee at home is hard: From determining how many grams or "scoops" of coffee beans to use for a batch to finding the right grind setting on your hand or electric burr grinder, there are seemingly myriad variables to manipulate, control, and, potentially, screw up.

Water temperature has long been one of them, but thanks to our friends at Verve Coffee Roasters, it seems that that mystery has finally been solved.

In a recent video, Verve's head trainer, Chris Baca, debunks the various recommendations often provided by well-meaning coffee professionals when suggesting brewing temperatures to folks at home: Do you take the water right off the boil? Wait 30 seconds? A minute? Do you have to buy a fancy digital thermometer? Does any of it matter?

The standard recommendation is actually pretty specific: Brewing temperature should be between 195 and 205° Fahrenheit. The confusing thing is that the range doesn't refer simply to the temperature of the water as it comes out of your kettle, but of the temperature of the brew itself, when the water and coffee grounds are in contact in your filter cone or press pot (or even espresso puck).

Turns out, according to Baca & Co., you're in luck: It makes relatively little difference how long you wait after bringing your water to a boil, so long as you don't wander off for a long walk.

VCR Street Smarts #13: Brew Water Temperature from Verve Coffee Roasters on Vimeo

You don't have to take my word for it, though: Watch the video yourself.