Why water temperature is important

It has been repeated over and over again: the ideal temperature for coffee brewing is between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit.

You may want to know why, however. But if you like into it further, you will likely only find that this temperature provides for the proper extraction.

But what does this even mean, you ask? What exactly is “extraction” here? Read on for a more in depth explanation.


So what are coffee people talking about when they use this word “extraction”. Essentially what this refers to is breaking up the solubles in coffee grounds and letting them bond with water. To give you a picture, just imagine coffee grounds being soaked in water, and the water soaking up all of the coffees great aroma and flavour.

Now imagine all of this goodness passing through the filter along with the water while the gritty, bitter bits that no one wants are trapped inside of the filter. What ends up in your cup then, is all of the fragrant and delicious parts of the coffee grounds combined with water: in other words, coffee!

So why is the water’s temperature so important in all this?

Although few people think of making coffee as scientific, this extraction is nevertheless a chemical process. Because of the chemistry going on in your coffee maker, things like water temperature and the fineness of your grind are very important with respect to the finished product. These factors have an effect on how well the water molecules bond with the coffee grounds.

So although it is possible to brew coffee with water at any temperature, the specific temperature determines how long the brewing process should take. Cold brewing – i.e., coffee brewed with cold water – can be very delicious, but the brewing process may take several hours in order to get it right. And so as you might imagine, the hotter the coffee is, the faster the extraction can be completed.

It is possible, however, for the water to be too hot to come up with good results, and so it has been determined that, generally speaking, the ideal temperature for brewing delicious coffee (without waiting for several hours) is between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. So you may be asking now: “should I set my kettle to 196? Or to 204?”

It may not make a lot of difference either way, but if you would like to you can experiment with different temperatures within the ideal range in order to see which one comes up with the most delicious results.

One thing to note is that machines that use pressure tend to require a little less in the temperature department, so you may find that aiming at the lower end of the spectrum will work best for these machines. Also, bitter roasts generally come out better with cooler water, so aiming closer to 195 should be ideal for these roasts as well; however if your coffee ends up tasting sour then it likely needs at least a few more degrees the next time around.

Ultimately though it comes down to the particular roast you are using as well as on your own taste! So feel free to experiment using an adjustable kettle like the Bonavita Variable kettle, or the Fellow Stagg. It shouldn’t take too long to come up with the perfect combination of grinds and temperature!

Pierro commercial coffee machines are an Australian owned company manufacturing commercial coffee machines specifically designed for the Australian coffee industry.

If you are  looking to buy or rent a coffee machine for your work environment which is simple to use and produces 100% pure espresso then our Pierro corporate coffee machine range is perfect for you.

For more information on The Pierro coffee machine range, for purchase or rental,  please contact us direct or feel free to visit our Sydney head office and showroom at 8 – 12 Robert Street, Rozelle NSW 2039.

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