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WATER TEMPERATURE

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How important is it for coffee?

How important is it for coffee?

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To guarantee a good cup of coffee one of the things to check off the list is selecting the right water temperature. In this article we'll discuss why it is so important and what you can do to achieve it at home.

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EXTRACTING FLAVORS

We've previously discussed the benefits of whole bean coffee vs. ground coffee. However, an overlooked step is the temperature of the water used to brew.

The main point to keep in mind is that coffee consists of all sorts of flavor and aromatic molecules. Some are more complex than others. The more complex the molecule the more heat is required to break it down.

To illustrate, imagine you want to melt an ice cube. Because frozen water is a simple molecule it will easily dissolve at room temperature. Now, imagine you want to cook a frozen lasagna. With so many different ingredients of varying densities and sizes it will require more heat to properly cook.

Similarly, selecting the correct temperature to dissolve and extract all the desirable flavors from the coffee grounds is key.  

According to studies made by the National Coffee Association of America, 195°F to 205°F is the best water temperature range for the task. You can play within these parameters to achieve different results. But, anything cooler will make your coffee taste flat and under-extracted and anything hotter will over-extract the grounds and taste bitter.

MEASURING TEMPERATURE
AT HOME

If you don't have a thermometer, or a kettle with one built in, there's an easy technique that will ensure you always have the perfect water temperature.

1. Find your region's elevation:

The temperature at which water boils varies depending on the elevation of where you live. That's because the higher you go the weaker the atmospheric pressure becomes. Therefore, less energy, or heat, is required to reach the boiling point. A quick google search should tell you what your elevation is.

2. Find your region's boiling point:

With your newly found elevation, reference the following table to determine what your water's boiling point is:

Altitude Ft. (meters) Boiling Point ºF (ºC)

0 ft. (0 m.)

212ºF (100.0ºC)

500 ft. (152 m.)

211ºF (99.4ºC)

1,000 ft. (305 m.)

210ºF (98.9ºC)

1,500 ft. (457 m.)

209ºF (98.3ºC)

2,000 ft. (610 m.)

208ºF (97.8ºC)

2,500 ft. (762 m.)

207ºF (97.2ºC)

3,000 ft. (914 m.)

206ºF (96.7ºC)

3,500 ft. (1,067 m.)

205ºF (96.1ºC)

4,000 (1,219 m.)

204ºF (95.6ºC)

4,500 ft. (1,372 m.)

203ºF (95.0ºC)

5,000 ft. (1,524 m.)

202ºF (94.4ºC)

5,500 ft. (1,676 m.)

201ºF (93.9ºC)

6,000 ft. (1,820 m.)

200ºF (93.3ºC)

6,500 ft. (1,981 m.)

199ºF (92.8ºC)

7,000 ft. (2,133 m.)

198ºF (92.2ºC)

7,500 ft. (2,286 m.)

197ºF (91.7ºC)

8,000 ft. (2,438 m.)

196ºF (91.1ºC)

8,500 ft. (2,591 m.)

195ºF (90.6ºC)

9,000 ft. (2,743 m.)

194ºF (90.0ºC)

9,500 ft. (2,895 m.)

193ºF (89.4ºC)

10,000 ft. (3,048 m.)

192ºF (88.9ºC)

3. Determine the perfect temperature:

Now that you know your water's boiling point you can get pretty close to the desired brewing temperature:

  • If you live at around sea level, where water boils at 212°F, let it sit off the heat for about a minute and a half once it t boils for it to cool down to approximately 205°F.
  • If you live at 3,500 ft., or above, you can use boiling water since it will already be within the desired range.

Presto! You are now ready to brew better coffee.

ADVANCED EQUIPMENT

If you want to take your coffee game to the next level, there are several accessories and devices that will help you measure your water’s temperature.

1. Thermometer:

The most affordable option is buying a thermometer that you can place inside your kettle. There are several options on amazon.

2. Stove top kettle:

The next step is a stove top kettle with integrated thermometer such as this one by Coffee Gator.

3. Electric Kettle:

The best option is to invest on an electric kettle with variable temperature control. Our suggestions are:

The STAGG KETTLE, although pricey, is very popular among professional baristas and specialty coffee shops. It heats quickly and the design offers very precise control over the pouring which is very important for brewing with pour-over equipment.

Nevertheless, both kettles allow you to control the temperature and will do a fantastic job at home.

CONCLUSION

The importance of water temperature is usually overlooked, but as soon as you start paying close attention to it we guarantee your morning brews will radically improve. Just make sure you have good coffee beans and a solid grinder because water temperature can't fix bad coffee. 

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We hope this article was informative. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below or shoot us an e-mail at info@ixkanulcoffee.com. We’ll be more than happy to assist you.

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