What temperature should your water be to brew the perfect cup of coffee?

When it comes to brewing the perfect cup of coffee, water is a pretty vital ingredient. However, the water temperature is often somewhat overlooked and believe me when I tell you, this small change could could take your coffee from an 8/10 to a solid 10/10 brew. (Thank me later).

Let's get to it...

A cup of coffee is actually 98% water. That's a pretty high percentage, so it's not surprising that water can make or break your brew. For those of you who don't know me, coffee is my #RideOrDie, my go to drink and one of the greatest loves of my life. Why am I telling you this? Well, because it gives you a small little peek into the inner psyche of the kind of person who takes pleasure in noting the temperature of their coffees. Yep, #CoffeeNerd (and proud).

So, why is water temperature so important?

Now before we get to it, let's cover the basics. First things first, always use fresh, clean and cool water of a food grade standard. Personally, I keep it pretty simple and head straight for the kitchen tap, some people prefer bottled water, but let's think about the environment guys, the tap is fine! 

Right, let's get back on track, now you've found the perfect water source you're not done yet, because yes, you guessed it. The temperature of the water is a huge part of the coffee brewing process and is pretty important. 

The target temperature range for water when making a coffee is somewhere between 90.5°C (around 195°F for our American friends) and 96°C (205°F). We like to hit what we call #Lucky96, 4°C below boiling point. Yep, you're right in thinking that that's a pretty precise goal, but hear me out before you make up your mind... 

 

heating up a kettle outdoors for a coffee

Now, depending on your location and elevation the boiling point my vary. As your elevation (or altitude) increases, the atmospheric pressure pushing down on water decreases, allowing your water to boil at a lower temperature. The U.K. has an average elevation of 162m (531ft) meaning that most of our water will boil somewhere between 99.5°C and 100°C, slightly above our desired #Lucky96.

So, I bet you're wondering what happens if your water is too hot or too cold?

If your water is too hot you will over extract your grounds, leaving you with a brew that can taste bitter or burnt. 

If you add water that is too cold, your grounds are left underdeveloped and you won't get to experience the full and joyous flavour they contain. 

How can you get the temperature right at home?

Good news guys! It doesn't have to be complicated and it isn’t actually that hard, expensive or time-consuming to make sure that you have water at the right temperature for your coffee.

Option 1:

Leave the kettle to sit for 2-3 minutes before pouring. (This is my favourite, it's easy and quick and doesn't involve purchasing any sort of fancy machinery or devices that are going to clutter your counters). Just boil the kettle, make your brew, check instagram, do your thing and you're ready! Just add the water over your grounds.

Option 2:

If you're really keen - invest in is a good quality thermometer. 

My tip would be to use the one from your milk frother - if you don't have one then you can buy one on Amazon fairly cheaply. And if you need to justify this purchase to yourself, well you can use it in to help you with a variety of other food prep and cooking methods too. Handy and economical!

coffee water temperature thermometer

 

To be honest, what you do it really is down to you and how much effort you want to put into making your brew. Don't worry, we don't judge, do whatever you find easiest or most satisfying. 

What other things can you do to ensure the perfect brew?

Well, I've got a few more tips for you if you've made it this far. 

    1. I call this one the 'pre-warmer'. When you're making a coffee using a carafe or french press (cafetiere), it's a good idea to pre-warm it by boiling water and swirling it around the vessel, before emptying it out. This keeps it nice and toasty so when you add your grounds and hot water (96°C remember) it keeps it warmer for longer! 
    2. It is also a good idea to add a little bit of your hot water directly to the grounds, allowing it to extract the flavour for about 30 seconds. Then just add the remainder of the water and let it steep for a further 3 minutes.
    3. The perfect serve! Always ensure that your coffee is served right after brewing. This is the time it will be at its flavoury peak and give you maximum taste joy! Mmm! 
    4. Check out our guide on how to make the perfect coffee using a french press for more brewing ideas and details.

someone pouring perfect temperature water onto their v60 to brew a nice cup of coffee

Spill the beans. 

Yep, you can't make a great brew without a great bean. And i'll say it nice and loud for those at the back - beans are the vital ingredient to make the perfect brew. 

Now obviously, you're visiting my page so it's fair to assume you might know that we're in the coffee subscription trade?

But if you want the 411? 📢

  • Our beans are sourced from the highest grade of farms & roasted to perfection.
  • When choosing your subscription just pick the grind that suits your brewing vibe - whether thats whole bean, cafetiere (coarse) or espresso (fine).
  • Then, choose how many bags you want per month, add it to your cart, punch in your details & you’re off!

Need more info? Then just click here to see if our coffee subscription vibes with your taste buds. Then (hopefully) sit back and wait for your new delivery to pop through your letter box. 

 

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