I absolutely love coffee, but I hate (HATE!) how quickly a cup can go from Hellfire-hot to weirdly warm-ish. In fact, whenever I order coffee, I ask that it comes out extra hot so I can actually enjoy it before it goes tepid. Alternatively, I just cut out the middleman and order cold brew.
However, a weird thing happened yesterday morning: My colleague Cooper Fleishman gleefully announced plans to attempt to order his Starbucks coffee at “kids’ temperature” (130-ish degrees) from now on, later telling me, “I’m a little baby, and I hate drinking hot things.” Now, I obviously thought this was blasphemy, and in an effort to prove him wrong, I did some research on the correct temperature at which to serve coffee.
As it turns out, I’ve been drinking coffee wrong this entire time.
As barista Cassidy Mull explained to me, the ideal range for brewing coffee is between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit — anywhere above 205 degrees, and the coffee will burn, while anywhere below 195 degrees will cause the coffee to be under-extracted (which creates a sharp, sour taste). However, actually drinking coffee at this temperature will almost certainly burn your mouth to oblivion: In fact, most adults suffer third-degree burns when exposed to even 150-degree water for a mere two seconds.
As Driftaway Coffee explains on their website, slurping your coffee anywhere between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit (i.e., “kids’ temperature”) is ideal: “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.”
Hotter coffee, as they further explain, is difficult to taste, since “the heat overpowers the coffee’s flavors.” In fact, rather than reheating your coffee when it becomes weirdly warm-ish, they recommend simply enjoying it as is: “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.”
Everything I know is a lie, and that will be all for today, thank you and goodbye.