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So you’ve got yourself a brand new French press, along with some freshly roasted coffee beans from your local roaster. It sounds like you’re all set and ready to start brewing some awesome-tasting coffee.
But before you start, have you double-checked the required best French press water temp. It might seem like a minor factor in the grand scheme of things, but the temperature of your water plays a vital role in how your brewed coffee will turn out. Get it a few degrees wrong, and you’ll have to settle for a mediocre French press coffee. Yuk!
Water is a crucial component in brewing coffee, so it only makes sense that the temperature of that water will have some effect on the outcome. But like almost anything in the world of coffee, nothing is set in stone, and recipes are there only as a guide.
First and foremost, you should be guided by your taste buds. Still, we suggest that you at least consider the water temperature when you use your French press. You might be surprised by the results.
Why Does French Press Water Temp Matter?
If you have spent any amount of time in the world of coffee, you will have undoubtedly heard the advice that you should never use boiling water for making coffee. It’s often recommended to leave the kettle for 30 to 60 seconds before pouring it onto your coffee.
The justification behind this is that boiling water can somehow “burn” the coffee or extract unwanted flavors.
While this is undoubtedly true and holds some merit, many coffee professionals now advocate using higher temperatures for brewing pour-overs such as the Chemex, Hario V60, etc.
The new recommendation on water temps is likely to do with coffee generally being roasted lighter along with a better quality of coffee and improved roasting standards.
If you don’t want to disappear down the rabbit hole of coffee brewing water temperatures, and believe me, it’s never-ending, here is a simple piece of advice.
If you don’t own a thermometer, stick with the age-old advice of boiling your kettle and letting it sit for 30 seconds.
This should leave you with a water temp in the 190-195 Fahrenheit degree zone, which is ideal for extracting flavors from your ground coffee.
This is all well and true for regular a regular coffee preparation method.
However, when you are using a French press immersion style of coffee brewing, this can get slightly more complicated because the glass carafe reduces the temperature of the water before it has time to interact with the coffee.
What Is The Ideal Temperature For French Press?
The best temperature for French press coffee is around 195 degrees Fahrenheit, just below boiling.
You may hear many coffee experts saying you should allow for cooling before pouring, which is indeed true if you are doing a pour-over style of coffee.
But from my experience, this doesn’t matter when immersion brewing in the French press. Here’s why.
As soon as you pour hot water into the French press, it almost instantly starts to cool due to the large pouring area and the cold glass of the French press.
Just the action of pouring the hot water into the press will bring the temp down to the range it needs to be. I have tested this theory by placing a calibrated thermometer into the slurry as I poured.
I discovered that even when using boiling water straight off the heat and measuring as I pour, the temp has never been over 200 degrees Fahrenheit or below 195 Fahrenheit. The temp lands in the sweet zone every time.
For Best Temp Results Use A Thermometer
If you are serious about making great-tasting coffee, I strongly suggest that you invest in a thermometer. Sure, you can “wing it” and get by using guesswork.
The problem is your coffee won’t be consistent, and it will be almost impossible to produce the same tasting cup of coffee each time when you are guessing about the ratios and other variables.
To brew the best tasting cup of French press coffee you possibly can, I recommended preheating the French press carafe with boiling water, swirling it around, and then discarding it.
Boil your water and use a thermometer to make sure you nail the perfect temp for the French press, which, as I already mentioned, should be between 190 degrees Fahrenheit to 195 degrees Fahrenheit.
Let’s not forget that these French press water temperatures should be used as a flexible guide because it’s impossible to suggest one ideal temperature that’s best for your individual taste preference.
Due to over-extraction, higher water temperatures are often associated with burned or bitter-tasting flavors. Whereas lower temperatures often produce slightly more sour tasting coffee due to under-extraction.
The bottom line. Play around with your water temperature and your French press, see what you prefer but remember that 190 degrees Fahrenheit to 195 degrees Fahrenheit is regarded as the “sweet spot.”