Coffee is a favorite drink for people all over the world, and you can prepare it in a number of different ways, but how hot should coffee be? One important factor in the process is to know just this as the temperature of water that’s added to the bean will affect how the flavors are released.
In this article we will look at what happens when you are making a cup of coffee and, as a result, the optimum temperature to make it at.
What Happens When You Brew Coffee?
The flavor of coffee comes from the oils and other substances held within the coffee bean. To get the best tasting drink you need to carefully extract the correct amount of these substances, because doing this wrong can result in an unpleasant taste.
Your Choice of Grind
The main thing that determines how good your coffee will taste is how you grind your bean. With a finer grind a much higher surface area is exposed to the water, but there’s a risk of releasing too much into your drink, so you’re better off going with a coarser grind. If you over extract the substances from the bean you will start getting a lot of flavors you don’t want, and can end up with a bitter tasting drink.
The length of the brew will also affect how well the drink tastes. Again this is to prevent you from over extracting the bean. About ninety percent of all of the extractable substances are released during the first stage of brewing, and you will likely have gotten everything you want out of the bean within three or four minutes.
The final thing to be aware of when making your coffee is the water you use. For the best results you want to use the purest water possible, and you should never, ever use boiling water. When it is this hot it can shock the coffee granules into releasing too much of the unwanted, bitter tasting substance, and it can also burn the bean and leave a nasty taste.
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What Temperature Should Coffee Be Served At?
If you’ve avoided the pitfalls of using boiling water to brew the coffee, the next thing to consider is the best coffee temperature. There’s a lot of disagreement on this point for various reasons, and a lot of it comes down to personal preference.
Typically coffee is served within a range of between 155 degrees Fahrenheit and 175 degrees Fahrenheit depending on where you go. The optimal temperature for you will depend on how you like it to feel in your mouth. Some people like a coffee that’s a little too hot to continually keep drinking, while others prefer a more tolerable temperature.
Most people seem to like it at the higher end of the recommendation, though, at around 175 degrees. Coffee that is hotter than this can risk scalding the mouth, and can be potentially dangerous if it is spilled on you for whatever reason.
Temperature and Flavor
The temperature of coffee affects our perception of the flavor, though, so if you are particularly keen on experiencing the taste you may want to go for something a bit cooler. Extreme heat in the mouth prevents your taste buds from sensing most of what you are drinking, because they are in a shocked state from the risk of burning. At lower more optimal temperatures, though, you will find a whole new wealth of flavors being picked up on.
Some expert coffee drinkers, therefore, insist that the best temperature for a brew is around 150 degrees Fahrenheit. This will, to most people, feel lukewarm in comparison to what they are used to, but it enables you to more fully appreciate the complex flavors that are present.
Different Temperature for Different Coffee
As a general rule, if you are making or buying a standard cup of coffee to warm you up and get your caffeine hit, then making it at around 175 degrees will be absolutely fine, and provide you with a drink you are familiar with.
If, on the other hand, you have treated yourself to an artisanal coffee blend and want to make the most of all those wonderful flavors, then you should go for a lower temperature at around 150 degrees so you can fully savor it.
If this is what you decide to do, then you mustn’t forget to put the effort into perfectly grinding the bean and brewing the coffee too, because it take more than water temperature to make the perfect cup of coffee.
The Final Verdict
Coffee drinkers like their drink for a number of different reasons, and the temperature it is served at can have a major impact on your enjoyment. You mustn’t ever use boiling water to brew it, otherwise you will burn it, but beyond that no hard rules on how hot should coffee be exists. It comes down to the sensation you want to feel as you drink, and how important the flavor is to you.