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Should Water Be Boiling When I Brew My Coffee?

Short answer – No!

Long answer – Still No! Ideal brew temperature is between 91 and 95 degrees C (195 to 205 F), a full 5 to 9 degrees off boiling.

Boiling water will scald and damage the surface of the coffee grinds, but water that is too cool (below 91 C or 195 F) will not have enough heat to extract enough flavour.

What does this mean for me at home?

While there are hundreds of very sophisticated and cool-looking coffee brewers on the market these days, the best way to prepare coffee is to keep it simple. What you'll need:

  • a French-Press, or a pour-over brewing method,
  • a tablespoon to measure two scoops of coarse ground coffee per 175ml cup, or;
  • use a scale and measure 55-65 grams per litre of water.
  • and a kettle.

Heat the water to a boil, immediately shut off the kettle as soon as it hits boiling point, pour a small amount of water into your French-Press or pour over to preheat it, allow the water to sit for about 30 seconds from the time it hit boiling point, then your water is at the right temperature for brewing.

Alternatively, you can get a kettle that can get too, and hold water at your desired temperature right down to the degree. Our kettle of choice is the Fellow Stagg EKG.

If you want to be more precise with your temperature, then read our next FAQ on “What Role Does Heat Play In Brewing Coffee?”

A further cautionary word regarding “boiling”: Do not allow water to boil for more than a few seconds. Doing so decreases the Oxygen content in the water, and Oxygen is a necessity as it aids the CO2 creation process in brewing, which carries with it aroma and flavour. Long story short, the less O2, the less CO2, the less flavour!

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