If you ever decided to do a little experiment on your auto drip machine at home or your single cup coffee maker and you measure the water temperature, you will find something very interesting. You will find that a lot of the machines out there will be brewing the coffee around ~170 degrees Fahrenheit. This isn't that interesting, until you realize that the suggested temperature by the Specialty Coffee Association of America is 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit. These are the temperatures required in order to get the correct extraction from coffee.
So what should you do about it? If you make coffee via pour over or french press, you are probably doing the right thing by bringing the coffee to a boil and then letting it sit for thirty seconds or so. If you are still using an auto drip machine, it would be best to boil the water first and then brew the pot. Or, if you are O.K. with spending a little bit of cash, you can buy an auto drip machine that is certified by the SCAA. If you are using a single serve pod machine, I would suggest buying a french press.
So what temperature should you be using? 195-205 is a fairly big range. As easy as it would be to give a definitive number, it just isn't plausible. Van Dyke uses 203 degrees while at home I (Drew) use 208 degrees (208 degrees is ok because the coffee does cool a bit when added to the coffee grounds). I would, however, suggest using something above 200 degrees as your final water temperature as it does cool when added to the coffee grounds.
So here is a quick checklist of things to get your coffee temp up to par:
- Make sure that you are boiling your water and letting it sit for 30 seconds if you are using a french press or a pour over
- Boil the water before you put it into your auto drip machine
- Buy a machine that is certified by the SCAA (I would suggest the Bonavita BV1900TS)
- If you have a variable temp kettle, be sure to set the temperature above 200 degrees for optimal extraction
*Third wave coffee is the new movement of coffee which focuses on freshly roasted beans, lighter roasted coffee, fair or direct trade, and single origin coffees.