The Optimal Temperature for Brewing a Great Cup of Coffee.
My grandmother, every morning, used to open a can of Hills Brothers coffee, put the ground coffee in a percolator and place the percolator on top of a wood stove. After the coffee had finished “perking” she pulled it off the stove and served it. My grandfather loved it; it was hot, black and gave him a jolt to start his day. She then put the percolator back on the stove and let it boil some more, just in case he needed another jolt.
It wasn’t great coffee but who knew the difference. If you are reading this, you know the difference. You know the four elements of a great cup of coffee, beans, water, brewing temperature and dwell time. But do you know whether or not your coffee maker is brewing at the right temperature?
According to the Specialty Coffee Association of America and the National Coffee Association, the optimal temperature for brewing a great cup of coffee is 197.6 – 204.8F. If the temperature of the water is too low under extraction occurs. Since acids in the beans are the first substances to dissolve, the coffee will taste weak and have a sour flavor.
If the water temperature is too high, then over extraction occurs and the coffee tastes bitter. Hula Daddy Kona Coffee brewed at the right temperature tastes sweet and flavorful, doesn’t burn your throat and doesn’t give you “coffee mouth.”
The most recent edition of Consumer Reports rates a number of popular coffee makers. One of the criteria is the ability of the coffeemaker to brew coffee at 200F.Consumer Reports rated the following coffeemarkers as excellent in brewing coffee at 200F:
- Cusinart Brew Central
- Michael Graves 40304
- Oster Counterforms 4281
- Zojirushi Fresh Brew
- Krups Coffee Machine
- Kitchen Aid Pro Line KPCM050MNP
- Mr. Coffee JWX27
- Hamilton Beach Day or Go 45237
However, one problem with the Consumer Reports test is that all of these coffeemakers were brand new. We have tested a number of used coffeemakers and found that after a few months that the brewing temperature drops drastically. One popular used coffeemaker we tested was brewing coffee at 156F. If you use a drip coffee maker, take a meat thermometer and place it under the water discharge head on your coffeemaker. It should read close to 200F. If you can’t get to the head, check the temperature of the coffee coming out of the filter. It should be about 160F. If your temperature is below or above the recommended temperature you need a new coffeemaker.
The only coffeemakers certified by the Specialty Coffee Association to brew coffee at 200F are the Technivorms. These coffeemakers are imported from the Netherlands and are sold by most specialty coffee supply houses. If you can’t find one nearby check out SweetMarias.com. Be aware that the Technivorm coffeemakers cost about $250.