- Updated Mar 27, 2020
- Writen by Robert Smith
How Hot Should Coffee Be – Ideal Temp & How to Keep It Hot
- Updated Jul 30, 2019
- Writen by Robert Smith
Every coffee lover seems to have a preferred coffee drinking temperature. Most might not know the exact temperature, but it is easy to tell when their beverage is too hot or too cold.
And while your personal preferences are always vital when it comes to choosing the ideal coffee temperature, it is also important to know that both the brewing and serving temperature will affect how the coffee taste.
So how hot should coffee be? This depends on several factors such as the brewing method, and in this piece, we highlight the key things you need to know about coffee temperature and also help to dispel the notion that piping hot coffee is the best for every coffee lover.
Proper Coffee Brewing Temperature
Different brewing methods will extract coffee from the coffee grounds differently and also take a different amount of time. What this means is that the water used will need to have a particular temperature for the best results. Here is an overview of the ideal coffee making temperatures for common coffee-making methods.
1. French Press
The French press is one of the most popular coffee-making methods and many coffee drinkers love it because it produces strong, bold and flavorful coffee. Also, the coffee-making process is simpler and faster.
To make the best French press coffee, you will need your water temperature to be around 200 degrees Fahrenheit. And this is an easy temperature to attain even without a thermometer by simply taking the water of the heat source just when it starts boiling and waiting for around 30 seconds before you pour it into the French press.
Espresso is mostly made with machines, and so you will not need to worry about the temperature because the machine takes care of this. But it is still good to know the ideal temperature in case you might want to make your espresso using manual methods.
For a perfect shot of espresso, the water temperature needs to be between 190 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit, and you should experiment with different temperatures to ensure you do not under or over-extract the coffee grinds.
AeroPress is another popular coffee-making method that many coffee lovers seem to prefer due to its simplicity and the fact that it also provides some bold and great tasting coffee.
When using this method to make your coffee, you will need to experiment with your water temperature because the ideal temperature will depend on how much time you intend to take when brewing. But, whether you want a slow or fast press, anything between 170 and 205 degrees will be ideal.
4. Pour Over
With pour-over, the roast that you are using will have a huge effect on the ideal brewing temperature. For light roasts, a higher temperature is more appropriate while a lower temperature will be ideal for a darker roast.
Also, with this method, you will need to preheat the filter and container to ensure you maintain the appropriate brewing temperature. Overall, 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit is usually a good enough temperature for pour-over coffee.
5. Cold Brew
Cold brewing is not as exact as other coffee-making methods, and so it is not easy to tell the perfect temperature for brewing. Also, the brewing process is long (up to 24 hours), and so the temperature is bound to change.
However, room temperature water (typically around 73.4 degrees Fahrenheit) is often good enough for making this coffee. But, any water that is not hot should still work given that it is always recommended to refrigerate the beverage when brewing or immediately after brewing.
Ideal Coffee Serving Temperatures
Brewing temperature is different from serving temperature, and the latter is what many people will care most about as it is what they will feel in their mouth when drinking the coffee. Coffee serving temperatures can be classified into the 4 categories below.
1. 175 to 185°F
Some coffee drinkers love their coffee super-hot and will drink it at a temperature of over 175 degrees Fahrenheit. And while for some drinkers it might be enjoyable, for a majority of coffee lovers, anything above 175 degrees will not provide a very pleasant experience.
Besides the risk of scalding your mouth, at these high temperatures makes the beverage too hot for your taste buds to register. However, ordering coffee this super-hot coffee can still be a great idea when you want to take it on the go as it will be at the ideal drinking temperature when you want to drink it.
2. 155 to 175°F
This temperature range is for the coffee lovers that like their coffee hot. A steaming cup of caffeine fix that is between 155 and 175 degrees will warm you up from the inside. But some coffee experts still suggest at this temperature range is still a little too hot for the taste buds to accurately taste the flavors.
However, this temperature range is still good for you when using coffee beans that are not very good quality and do not expect a lot from them as they will help extract every ounce of flavor in them.
3. 140 to 155°F
The 140 to 155 degrees temperature range is the sweet spot for coffee drinkers because serving your coffee at this temperature will ensure you taste all the rich flavors that define coffee.
Here you will get the comforts that come with a cup of coffee and your taste buds can feel that you are drinking coffee, and there is no risk of burning your mouth. To get your coffee to this sweet temperature zone, you will only need to allow it to cool for a while after brewing.
4. 120 to 140°F
At a temperature of between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, you will get a cup of coffee with all the nice flavors, but it will not have enough heat to warm you up.
Allowing your coffee to cool down to this temperature before drinking it is a good idea when you are experimenting with different brewing methods or roasts and want to taste all the subtle flavors. Drinking coffee at this lower temperatures allows the flavors to shine.
5. Under 120°F
Coffee that is under 120 degrees will be a little too cold for many coffee drinkers. However, this low temperature also provides the most flavorful and sweetest coffee drinking experience.
Also, you can experiment with ice at these lower temperatures as iced coffee can be very refreshing on a hot day. But make sure you do not try to reheat the coffee as this will only add bitterness.
How to Keep Coffee Hot
Getting your coffee hot enough should be easy as you only need to brew it to your preferred temperature. However, keeping it hot until you can drink it takes a little more effort.
The best way to keep your coffee hot is always by keeping it in a thermal insulated carafe. A double-walled and sealed carafe will protect your coffee from oxidation and the glass-lined interior will act as an excellent insulator which means your coffee will maintain the temperature longer.
Simplest & Fastest Ways to Cool Down Coffee
Sometimes you just want to gulp down your coffee and step out of the house as there is no much time to sit around and enjoy every sip. But when the coffee is too hot, this might not be possible, and you might also not have time to allow it to cool down.
The good news is that there are some simple tricks that you can use to speed up the cooling down. And the fastest way to cool down your coffee will be by serving it in a metal mug as it has better heat transfer than glass and ceramic which means it will lose heat faster.
Also, you can cool down your coffee fast by adding some milk to it if you do not mind making it lighter. Adding an ice cube or two can also cool it down, but it will also dilute it as the ice melts.
Making good coffee involves several things from a careful selection of coffee beans and roasting them well to grinding them well and choosing an appropriate brewing method.
However, there is still one more crucial element that will determine how good your coffee will be, and this is the brewing and serving temperature.
And while different coffee drinkers will prefer different coffee temperatures when it comes to brewing temperatures, keeping things at between 190 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit delivers the best coffee. As for the serving temperature, 140 to 155 degrees is the sweet spot for most coffee lovers.
But the bottom line is that to determine what coffee will be hot enough for you, it will be necessary to experiment with different temperatures and decide what pleases your taste buds.