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The Best Water Temperature to Brew Coffee (Expert Tips)

hot coffee

Brewing coffee may seem like it’s an easy task, but it is a lot more complicated than it looks. Between the quality of the beans and the brewing method, many things can go wrong when trying to make the perfect coffee cup. While many people rely on drip-brew coffee machines, others use pour-over brewing and French presses to brew their morning cup. Regardless of brewing, one of the most fundamental parts of making coffee is the water temperature. The short answer is that the best coffee water temperature is between 195°F–205°F, staying only in this range.

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Is Boiling Water Okay to Use?

The ideal coffee temperature range is under 206°F, so boiling water (212°F) is too hot for brewing coffee. While it is possible to use boiling water, it creates a strong bitter taste because of the extremely hot temperature. Check your water with a thermometer to make sure it’s within the 195°F – 205°F range before using it to brew your coffee.

Hario Buono kettle review

Does the Type of Roast Matter with Temperature?

Some coffee enthusiasts say that certain roasts taste better at certain temperatures, but the consensus is that the range of 195°F – 205°F is ideal for most coffee roast types. Dark roast coffee can be slightly sweeter near the 190°F range, whereas lighter roasts may benefit from hotter water. If you have different roasts of coffee at home, try each roast with different temperatures to find what suits your palette the best.

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Best Pour-Over Coffee Water Temperature

coffee bloom Melitta pour over

Pour-over coffee is an easy method of making coffee, using a filter over a carafe and pouring hot water over the ground-up beans. The best temperature for pour-over coffee is the same as for other methods, ideally between 195°F-205°F. When heating water in the kettle, use a kitchen thermometer to check the temperature before pouring the water over the coffee beans.

Pour-Over Brewing vs. Drip-Brew Machines

Pour-over brewing is a great method for brewing a perfect cup of coffee, especially compared to low-end coffee makers. Unlike heating water on the stove and checking the temperature, most coffee makers don’t have a thermometer that measures the water’s temperature. The cheaper coffeemakers may not get hot enough to reach the ideal coffee temperature range, resulting in weaker and acidic coffee.

RELATED: Pour Over vs Drip Coffee: Which is Better?

Best Temperature for French Press Coffee Makers

French Press
Image Credit: yari2000, Shutterstock

French Press coffee is another great method of brewing coffee, and it will also need the same temperature as other methods. Heat water to a temperature between 195°F and 205°F to brew French pressed coffee. French Pressed coffee is easy to make and quite delicious, but the quality and temperature of the water are important to consider.

What’s the Best Temperature for Cold Brew Coffee?

Cold Brew coffee
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

Cold-brewed coffee is a method of coffee extraction, which involves coarse-ground coffee beans, cold water, and around 6-12 hours of steeping. As the name suggests, cold brew coffee is brewed entirely with cold water and time. The temperature of the cold brew coffee should not be warmer than room temperature and can even be brewed completely in room temp water, but colder water tends to produce better-tasting results. Cold brew coffee is easy in theory but difficult to master due to the long steeping times and getting the correct coffee bean ratio, so it may take a few attempts to have a great cup of cold brew coffee.

What is the Best Temperature for Espresso?

Image Credit: Chase Eggenberger, Unsplash

As with regular coffee that uses hot water for brewing, espresso also requires water to be between 195°F – 205°F. While pour-over and drip-brew coffee makers take a few minutes to brew, espresso is much quicker. Espresso is made with pressurized hot water and tightly-packed, finely ground coffee beans roasted specifically for espresso. The result is a small yet strong coffee product brewed within a few seconds. If the water is not at the right temperature, the flavor of the espresso will be off.­­

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Final Thoughts

When it comes to brewing the perfect cup of coffee, water temperature is crucial. To prevent thin or overly bitter-tasting java, use water with a temperature range of around 195°F – 205°F. Anything colder or hotter will change the taste of the coffee beans, extracting unpleasant notes that wouldn’t otherwise be prevalent. For espresso and iced coffee, you should still use the same temperature range for a smooth taste. For cold brew coffee, use water no warmer than room temperature.


Featured Image: Tim Foster, Unsplash


Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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