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The Ideal Temperature to Drink Coffee

Most of us have a go-to temperature that we prefer to enjoy coffee at. We may not know the number but we know how it feels to have extra hot, hot or cool coffee. Here at Driftaway, our personal preference is between 120-140°F. We recognize that others have different tastes, though. Here’s a brief look at the temperature ranges people tend to enjoy coffee at, and why they might prefer those temperatures. Before we get around to drinking coffee, however, we must first understand the proper temperature that coffee should be brewed at.
 

Always Brew Coffee Between 195°F and 205°F

 
While coffee may be consumed at a broad range of temperatures, the range for brewing it is relatively narrow. The coffee grounds should be at room temperature, and the water should be between 195 and 205°F. When the water is above 205°F, it can scald the grounds and create a burnt taste. When it’s below 195°F, the brewed coffee will be under-extracted.  (To learn more about how water temperature can affect extraction, read our blog post here).

We like to aim for the middle of this range, 200°F. There’s not a lot of difference between 195 and 200°F, or between 200 and 205°F. To get water to 200°F, you can:

  • set a temperature-display kettle to 200°F or
  • boil water and transfer it to a different vessel or
  • boil water and let it stand for 30 seconds in the same vessel

 

Drinking Above 150°F: Feel the Heat

 
Here at Driftaway Coffee, we tend to enjoy coffee best when it is between 120°F and 140°F. Some people though (including us sometimes!), drink coffee at higher temperatures.

Many people ask for their beverages “extra hot” at cafes. Typically extra hot denotes 180°F or higher. There are a few good reasons why you might ask for extra hot coffee. For example, you might want it to still be hot once you arrive at the office, or you may want to slowly sip it for awhile.

When coffee is actually drunk at this temperature, or any temperature above 150°F, it is difficult to taste the coffee itself. The heat overpowers the coffee’s flavors. Some people enjoy how the sensation of scaldingly hot coffee warms them up, however our taste buds aren’t able to identify fine nuances at these temperatures.
 

Drinking Between 120 and 140°F: Taste the Flavors

 
Coffee’s notes shine between 120°F and 140°F, which is why we prefer this temperature. The subtle flavors noted by the roaster will come out within this range, creating a delightful cup.
 

Coffee’s notes shine between 120°F and 140°F

 
If you must, you can use a thermometer to see when your cup of coffee is within this range. There is an equally effective tool, however – your tongue. You will also be able to tell when coffee’s within this range, as you will be able to taste the flavors that come out at these temperatures.
 

Drinking Coffee Below 120°F: Enjoy the Sweetness and Acidity

 
When coffee falls below 120°F, many people try to reheat it. We don’t recommend reheating coffee, because it changes the profile of the coffee.

Instead, if your coffee falls below 120°F, enjoy a cool cup. A few of our team members here at Driftaway Coffee like cool coffee, which exhibits enhanced sweetness and acidity.

As you enjoy a cup of coffee, think about what your favorite drinking temperature is. Are you drinking for the heat, subtle flavors, or sweeter and more acidic cup? We all have our preferences. How hot you like your coffee may reveal yours.
 
What are your tips and tricks to drink coffee at your ideal temperature? Let us know in the comments.
 

Author Scott

Scott is a professional writer for Driftaway Coffee. He worked as a barista for eight years, but today prefers to enjoy his beverages from the other side of the counter. When not drinking Driftaway Coffee, Scott usually has a mug of his own roasted coffee nearby.

More posts by Scott
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