Picture this: a crisp morning, the aroma of freshly ground coffee beans filling the air, and the anticipation of that first sip of a meticulously crafted pour over coffee.
But have you ever wondered what temperature truly unlocks the full flavor potential of your brew?
In this article, we dive into the science behind finding the best pour over coffee temperature, uncovering the key factors that will revolutionize your morning coffee brewing routine.
Grab a cup of joe and let’s get into it!
* Previously, we explained the best coffee brew temp for different brew methods in general. This guide will specifically discuss the temperature for pour over.
How Does Water Temperature Affect the Pour Over Coffee Taste?
Water temperature plays a crucial role in the taste of pour over coffee. You’ve probably had a cup of coffee that was way too cold or way too hot and just tasted off.
When water is too hot, it can over-extract the coffee, resulting in a bitter and harsh taste. Sweetness and acidity will mostly disappear, leaving you with burnt notes and an overly thick body.
On the other hand, if the water is too cold, it under-extracts the coffee, leading to a weak and dull flavor. Your cup will taste more like tea than coffee. Expect a weak body and little development of sweetness and flavors.
Recommended Water Temperature for Pour Over Coffee
The ideal temperature range for pour over coffee is typically between 195°F and 205°F (90°C to 96°C).
This range allows for optimal extraction, bringing out the coffee’s nuanced flavors and ensuring a balanced and enjoyable cup of coffee.
After years of working as a coffee roaster and brewing coffee at home, my go-to brew temp is 199.5°F (93°C). Specific? Yes, but all the V60 pour overs (my coffee brewing method of choice) that I make taste great every time with this temperature.
If you aren’t sure of where to start, begin with this water temperature and adjust accordingly until you get the tastiest coffee extraction possible.
How to Adjust the Brew Temp for Different Beans
Do you like light roasts from Ethiopia and Yemen? Or maybe you’re more of a dark roast from Colombia kind of guy (or gal). Adjusting the temperature for different beans when you brew coffee is essential to bringing out their unique flavors and characteristics.
As a general rule, use a lower coffee brewing temp for darker roasts and a higher temperature for lighter roasts.
|Roast Level||Recommended Brew Temp||Notes|
|Light Roast||205°F (96°C)||Higher temp|
|Medium Roast||200°F (93°C) ~ 205°F (96°C)||In between|
|Dark Roast||195°F (90°C) ~ 200°F (93°C)||Lower temp|
- Light Roast Beans: Lighter roasts are known for their delicate and nuanced flavors. To highlight these flavors, start with a slightly higher water temperature, around 205°F (96°C). This allows for a greater extraction, allowing the bright acidity and floral notes to shine. Coffee beans that are roasted light are less porous than beans that are roasted dark. They need a higher temperature for the water to properly extract all the flavors inside.
- Medium Roast Beans: Medium roasts strike a balance between acidity and sweetness, offering a more well-rounded flavor profile. Aim for a water temperature between 200°F (93°C) and 205°F (96°C). This slightly higher temperature helps to extract all the flavors, including the usual caramel and chocolate notes, while maintaining a pleasant acidity. You have more wiggle room when brewing pour overs using medium roasts… feel free to experiment!
- Dark Roast Beans: Dark roasts have bold, rich flavors with reduced acidity. To prevent an overly bitter taste, it’s best to use a lower water temperature, around 195°F (90°C) to 200°F (93°C). Dark-roasted coffee beans are extremely porous and extract quite easily when brewed. If you use too high of a brew temp, you risk over-extracted the beans and getting only bitter, burnt tastes in your cup with a chalky body.
Can You Use Boiling Water to Brew Pour Over Coffee?
Using boiling water for pour over coffee is generally not recommended. Boiling water, which is typically around 212°F (100°C), can scorch the coffee grounds, leading to over-extraction and a bitter taste.
Pour over brewing is about achieving a controlled extraction, allowing the flavors to develop in a balanced manner. The ideal brew temperature range for pour over coffee is typically between 195°F (90°C) and 205°F (96°C). You want hot water, not boiling water, when you brew coffee.
When you are at altitude, water boils at a lower temperature. With each 500-feet increase in elevation, the boiling point of water is lowered by almost 1°F. (1) At 7,500 feet, water boils at around 198°F (92°C). In this case, using boiling water to brew coffee could give you the best pour over coffee temperature, especially for a medium roast.
How to Get the Perfect Pour Over Temperature
Now that you know what brew temperature is best for pour overs, you might be wondering how you dial in a temperature for brewing coffee.
Temperature Variable Gooseneck Kettle
For true coffee enthusiasts, it is definitely worth it to invest in an electric coffee kettle that allows you to set the temperature when you brew coffee. This will level up your coffee making, and this device will also come in handy if you like to brew different types of teas.
An electric kettle, such as the Bonavita or Fellow Stagg EKG, lets you select a specific temperature in Fahrenheit or Celsius to use for your pour overs. The gooseneck design also enables you to pour your coffee in a controlled manner, making for a more even and delicious brew.
I personally use the Fellow Stagg EKG multiple times a day, every single day. It makes hot water fast, like freakishly fast. Any electric kettle with temperature controls should work just fine. Ideally, pick one with the following features:
- Temperature changes within 1 degree
- Ability to toggle between Fahrenheit and Celsius
- Capacity around 1L (important for households with 2+ people)
- Gooseneck pour
- A “temperature hold” feature that keeps water at the temperature you choose
Without a Thermometer
If the price of an electric kettle is too much, you can also get your water within the range of ideal brew temperatures without using any additional equipment. Don’t worry, you can still brew coffee pretty well without buying a $100+ kettle.
If you are at sea level (where water boils at 212°F / 100°C), use a basic kettle or pot to boil water. Once it reaches the boiling point, turn the heat off and let the water cool for 30-60 seconds. If using a kettle, make sure to take the lid off while cooling.
At this point, the water temperature should be somewhere within the ideal brew temperature range of 195°F and 205°F (90°C to 96°C). Slowly pour the hot water over coffee grounds using your preferred pour over brewing method of choice, like a V60, Chemex, or other coffee maker.
Make sure you pour hot water over the paper filter without ground coffee first, then pour over the coffee bed.
In the quest for the perfect pour over coffee, the temperature of the water used can not be overlooked.
By understanding the impact of water temperature on flavor extraction, you can unlock the true potential of your pour overs and savor the unique flavors that each bean has to offer.
So, whether it’s a light, medium, or dark roast, finding the ideal brew temperature is the key to showing off the best extraction for your coffee beans.
Now you can brew coffee using the right water temperature every time. Happy brewing!
Frequently Asked Questions
The best brew ratio for coffee pour overs can vary depending on personal preference, but a commonly recommended starting point is a 1:15 coffee-to-water ratio. If you are using 225 grams of water to make a cup of coffee, use 15 grams of coffee to achieve this ratio. Ratios of 1:13 to 1:16 are widely used by baristas, depending on the roast level and coffee bean used.
The ideal grind size for pour over coffee is medium-fine. Your ground coffee should have a texture similar to sand or granulated sugar. This grind size allows for proper extraction without over-extracting or clogging the filter. If you are brewing a large amount of coffee at once, you may need to use a coarser grind size to achieve the right extraction time.
- High Altitude Cooking – https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/food-safety-basics/high-altitude-cooking