Coffee brewing temperature: How hot should coffee water be?

The optimal brewing temperature for coffee is still controversial. According to the Specialty Coffee Association, the water temperature for brewing coffee is between 93 and 96 degrees Celsius. This range is widely accepted as the ideal brewing temperature. However, it is important to understand that the ideal brewing temperature is a recommendation, not a rule.

Water temperature is just one element in brewing coffee, alongside factors such as roast level, bean type, grind size and brewing method.

When considering the ideal brewing temperature for coffee, there are three main approaches .

Brewing temperature for coffee

1. Boiling water for brewing coffee

The use of boiling water to make coffee is controversial among coffee experts. Boiling water is clearly outside the temperature range commonly referred to as the ideal temperature.

However, proponents argue that boiling water provides the following benefits:

  • Improves Extraction: Hotter water serves as a more effective solvent, extracting more flavors from the coffee grounds and producing a better cup of coffee.
  • Consistency: Boiling water typically provides greater consistency when brewing. It allows for easier temperature monitoring, even without special devices. Consistency is critical to reproducing successful cups and troubleshooting brewing problems.
  • Consider heat loss: When hot water is poured into a pour-over or French press with coffee grounds, the temperature drops noticeably due to heat transfer. Preheating the brew group can compensate for heat loss to a certain extent, but it has its limitations. Many experts advocate using boiling water, especially when making drip coffee and French press coffee .

It's a common misconception that boiling water burns coffee grounds, but that's not true. Coffee beans are roasted at temperatures that often exceed 206 degrees Celsius. Therefore, the idea that boiling water at 100 degrees Celsius would burn the coffee grounds is wrong.

Boiling water for brewing coffee:
  • Advantages:
    • Better extraction resulting in richer flavors.
    • Better consistency when brewing.
    • Significantly compensates for heat losses during brewing.
  • Challenges:
    • Risk of over-extraction, resulting in bitter coffee.

2. An ideal temperature for brewing coffee

According to the National Coffee Association, the ideal water temperature for brewing coffee is between 90.5 and 96 degrees Celsius. The Specialty Coffee Association, however, recommends brewing temperatures between 93 and 96 degrees Celsius.

It is important to note that the recommended temperature range is only a guide. This means that for most people and most types of coffee, brewing within this temperature range generally results in a more pleasant tasting experience. Water that is too hot can lead to over-extraction, resulting in a bitter coffee , while water that is too cold can lead to under-extraction, resulting in a sour coffee . However, it's difficult to settle on an ideal temperature when there are other factors that affect the finished brew. For example, it is easier to extract solubles from darker roasted coffee, which is why boiling temperature is not recommended. Conversely, producing a balanced brew from a light roast coffee requires a longer brew time or a higher temperature. This highlights that while brewing temperature plays a role, it is just one factor among many in the brewing process, and that the ideal temperature for every coffee is not necessarily the right one.

the ideal temperature for everyone:
  • Advantages:
    • Suitable for most brewing methods.
  • Challenges:
    • Different temperature requirements for different roasts or beans.
    • Difficulty accurately controlling temperatures in certain brewing processes.

3. Adaptive brewing temperature adjustment

This method rejects the idea of ​​a single perfect brewing temperature. Rather, it highlights the need to determine the optimal water temperature, taking into account aspects such as bean type, roast level, grind size and brewing method. Adjusting the brewing temperature to these variables allows for a more adaptable and flexible technique.

The following considerations lie behind this approach:

  • Coffee Bean Type : Different types of coffee beans extract different flavor compounds depending on their density . The density of the coffee bean is often viewed as a simple measure of quality, but there is much more to it. How does the density of roasted coffee affect brewing? Bean density determines how porous and soluble the coffee beans are, which in turn affects how much of the coffee's flavor compounds are extracted during brewing and how quickly that extraction occurs. The density of coffee beans is influenced by a number of factors, including variety, terroir, processing methods and degree of roasting. All of these factors contribute to whether the coffee beans are dense.
  • Roast Level : For lighter roasts that are more difficult to extract, hotter, near-boiling water may be required. Darker or medium roasts, on the other hand, may benefit from slightly lower temperatures, such as degrees Celsius, to avoid the extraction of bitter flavors.
  • Brewing Method : As mentioned above, the method used can also affect the ideal brewing temperature

The brewing temperature of the water has a notable impact on the extraction of ingredients from the coffee grounds. Given the importance of water temperature to the extraction process, adopting this adaptive strategy is logical . Adjusting the brewing temperature based on these variables allows for more personalized extraction and ensures the extraction of the finest flavors from the coffee grounds.

Adaptive brewing temperature:
  • Advantages:
    • Individually adapted extraction depending on the type of bean, roasting and preparation method.
    • Potential to develop unique flavor nuances.
    • Increased adaptability to different coffee types and roast profiles.
  • Challenges:
    • Requires a deeper understanding of coffee properties.
    • Requires more experimentation and fine-tuning.
    • Complexity of temperature adjustment for consistent results.
  • Practical tips:
    • Understand the impact of bean density and roast level on extraction.
    • Keep accurate records when experimenting with temperatures.
    • Continually try and adjust to find the optimal balance.


Brewing temperature is undoubtedly a crucial factor, but it is just one of many that can affect our brew. It is important not to oversimplify and generalize as the characteristics of each coffee and brewing scenarios are different. But without these general guidelines, developed from years of experience, we would have no basis. Therefore, it is important to experiment with brewing temperature and view it as a variable within the overall brewing process that can be adjusted accordingly .