Mix coffee and water—that’s how you make coffee, right? Yeah but.. most coffee lovers have an oversimplified understanding of how to make *really amazing* coffee. One of the keys that’s frequently forgotten?
The best water temperature for making coffee.
And here’s why this is something you cannot mess up:
- Wrong temperatures are a HUGE problem for coffee lovers everywhere
- Most people have no idea how big the impact is on flavor
- And once you fix the problem, your coffee gets way better.
This is one of the fundamentals of making great coffee, so we suggest getting it down asap.
The Best Water Temperature For Coffee Brewing
Most coffee professionals around the world agree that the best coffee water temperature is between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Coffee made in this range simply tastes better.
Brewing coffee is a balancing act. Extract too much flavor from the coffee grounds and you’ll end up with bitter, dull coffee. Extract too little and you’ll get sour, thin coffee.
Water temperature impacts how quickly the flavors are extracted from the grounds.
- The hotter the water 👉 the faster the extraction
- The cooler the water 👉 the slower the extraction
When your water temperature falls below 195 degrees, you don’t achieve an optimal extraction speed. You could increase the brewing time to try and make up for it, but it’s difficult to pull off.
When your water temperature goes above 205 degrees, you start extracting things way too fast. You could try to balance it out by brewing in less time, but once again—not easy.
But between 195 and 205—that’s when the brewing speed is just right for most coffee makers.
Except, the crazy thing is… many coffee makers are doomed from the beginning.
This Is Why Coffee Pots Often Make Bad Coffee
Cheaper-end coffee makers (sub $70 or so) are everywhere—and most people have gone through a few in their lives. But they’re not really designed for better flavor… they’re designed for profit margins.
And here’s why that’s such a big deal: most lower-end coffee pots can’t get the brewing water up to 195 degrees.
This is why coffee from regular drip coffee pots tends to be underwhelming. It doesn’t get up to that ideal temperature range, which usually leads to the coffee tasting weak, thin, and overly acidic.
(And it only gets worse when you use cheap coffee beans).
Here’s what we suggest instead.
How To Always Using The Right Water Temperature (And Make Tastier Coffee)
There are a few strategies that can help you ensure you never brew with water that’s too hot or too cold again, and they’re pretty easy to set up. It usually takes ~5 minutes or less and you’re good for life!
Here’s what you should do if you heat water in a kettle or pot for coffee:
- Find your elevation (it’s relevant, I promise). Water boils at 212 degrees at sea level, but as you go up in elevation, the boiling temperature drops. When you look up your elevation, you can find the exact temperature your water boils at.
- Get a thermometer. If you live in a place where the boiling point is over 205 degrees, that means you need to either (1) stop the water from heating past 205 or (2) let the water sit for a minute after it boils. The best way to find your groove is to use a thermometer so you know exactly when your water is ready.
- Do the same thing every day. Did you try a thermometer and realize it takes 90 seconds for your water to fall below 205 after it has boiled? Or maybe it takes 3 minutes? Either way, that’s a good system in the making. From here on, just remember that you need to let it sit for a while after it boils before you start making coffee. Easy!
If you’re using a coffee maker that heats up the water for you, we need to try a different approach:
- Find the water temperature inside the coffee pot. Use a thermometer and figure out just how hot it’s really getting in there. Try to measure the water just before it’s ready to begin brewing for the most accurate reading.
- If the water temperature is below 195 and tastes a bit sour/thin… that means you need to extract more. But since you can’t control your water temperature, try using a finer grind size. This will make the grounds extract faster, which should help balance out the slow extract from the cool water.
- If the water temperature is above 205 and tastes bitter… that means you need to extract less. Try a coarser grind size so that the grounds will extract more slowly. That should balance out the too-fast extraction from the hot water.
It’s best if you can heat up the water on your own to make sure it’s the right temperature, but if you can’t, that should get you most of the way there.
Good Water Won’t Fix Bad Beans
If you try this out and don’t see big improvements, it’s probably not the water that’s the issue, but your coffee beans.
Low-grade, over-roasted beans will taste bitter, overly acidic, and lifeless no matter how you brew them.
That’s why we always suggest buying freshly roasted, specialty grade coffee beans. There’s no other way to raise your coffee quality (and make your mornings so much better) overnight.