The proper temperature for drinking coffee depends on preference, but find why this beverage has a lot to offer.
I was getting a checkup at the dentist’s office the other day and one of the technicians started asking me questions about coffee. The one question that I didn’t have answer to was the appropriate temperature for drinking coffee. I had never given it any thought. So I thought I’d do some research.
I’m never one to tell people how or what to drink. If you like it, then I’ll make sure I do my best to keep the roasted coffee consistent. However, most of us do have a go-to temperature and while we may not know the number, it just feels right. Like Goldilocks and the three bears.
Let’s first start with the basics. Coffee should ideally be brewed at 203°F. I would also assume that most of us wait a few minutes before taking our first sip. This typically gets us to around 140 to 160°F.
During my “experiment” I jotted down some times and made some notes.
For me it seems I’m on the higher side of coffee drinking temp. I then took another temperature check at 9:48am and it hit 120°F, which was too cool for me.
Some Like It Hot
Some folks want their drinks “extra hot” 170-180°F either because they have a higher pain tolerance, or maybe they’re on the way to work. The downside with higher temps is the inability to fully taste the coffee. Our taste buds were not made for that, so while you may enjoy the heat, you might not be getting all those delicious flavors. This is especially true with lighter roasted coffees. The nuanced flavors like berries, lemons, and other acidic notes are all tamed down. The result would taste like flavored water to some degree. Darker roasts can “stand up” far better because of the more intense roasted profile.
The general population is right in the middle, between 130-150°F which still gives you the warmth and the flavors we have grown to love. The only problem is keeping the coffee temperature stable at this range. Which is why some people, like my wife, like to microwave their coffee to bring back up to temp. This process may be looked down upon in some coffee groups but as I have said before, do what you enjoy. No judgements here. Another option is to fill up your coffee mug with some hot water before you brew your coffee. This will “charge” your cup and keep the coffee hotter longer.
Some Like It Not
On the other side of the spectrum coffee lovers are between 115-125°F. While this may be on the cooler side, it does enhance the acidic and sweet flavors found naturally in coffee. Since coffee is a cherry, this lower temp brings out the floral and berry-like tastes, similar to a sweet tea. The reason most people don’t like coffee at this temp is because it turns “sour.” In our industry we refer to this as “acidity” and is considered a good attribute. For dark roast lovers a good dark roast should still taste smooth, and silky when cooled down, similar to an iced coffee.
So there is no right answer to the proper temperature for drinking coffee, and always depends on your taste preference. But I hope I have shown how different temperatures affects the taste and experience of drinking coffee.