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Cold Water Vs Hot Water for Coffee

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Updated August 27, 2022

When brewing coffee, you may not realize that you should use cold water vs hot water for coffee. This recommendation is because the temperature of the water used affects the extraction rate and flavor of your morning cup. Likewise, cold brew coffee starts with cold water. However, you skip the step of heating the water for flavor extraction, unlike when the best coffee maker brews a pot of coffee.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • You should always use cold or room temperature water when brewing a cup of coffee in your coffee machine to ensure you get the right extraction rate.
  • Cold brew also requires cold water, but it takes hours instead of minutes to brew for a high extraction of flavors.
  • Both cold brew and hot brew feature about the same amount of caffeine, but their acid levels vary significantly.

Many factors regarding your water play into your brew, from temperature to mineral content, making water extremely vital to a great cup of coffee. Given the importance of water in the coffee-making process, consider using filtered water instead of distilled water or purified water in a coffee maker.

Difference Between Hot Water and Cold Water Brewing

When you make a coffee drink, no matter the type of coffee maker, you want to start with cold water rather than warm water or hot tap water because it absorbs fewer minerals running through the water pipes. Additionally, you use cold water to ensure the coffee maker can bring the water to the right temperature for brewing. And, too, as the names suggest, you want to base your cold brew or cold drip coffee on cool water. But first, compare French press vs cold brew coffee makers to see which one works best for you.

Insider Tip

Hot brew coffee takes significantly less time to brew than cold brew.

Although both use cold water, traditional hot coffee and cold brew feature different flavors, nutrition, and brewing methods. As a result, you most likely have a preference between the two based on your preferences. You may also be interested in learning about the variations between a coffee urn vs a coffee maker.

Brewing

Coffee makers brew your cup of coffee using cold or room temperature water in the water reservoir. The water then becomes heated to about 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit, which the National Coffee Association claims is the optimal extraction temperature. Finally, the hot water passes through the coffee grounds over several minutes, extracting flavor on the way.

You make cold brew coffee by using coarsely ground coffee beans and colder water. Typically, you put the grounds inside a pitcher and add the water. Then, you leave it to “brew” for several hours. Time works as the extractor, in this case, replacing heat. Finally, strain the liquid using a strainer or filter to remove your coffee grounds.

Flavor

You may expect your cold brew to have a sweeter taste than hot coffee. This characteristic stems from the slow extraction process. The syrupy coffee features low acidity that goes down smoothly. It also pairs better with milk than iced coffee.

Hot coffee contains a higher acidity and bitterness. Traditional coffee offers a small amount of sweetness as well, just not as much. Additionally, coffee maker coffee burns away the aromatic oils on your coffee grounds.

Nutritional Content

Different cold brew options contain varying levels of caffeine, spanning from about 200-319 mg. Plus, one study found that cold brew has a higher pH, which corresponds to lower acidity. You also receive higher levels of acids that bond with a base like water from a cold brew.

The regular coffee beverage offers the opposite in terms of acidity and titration, increasing the acidity of the brew. However, the acidity also relies heavily on the roast used, with darker roasts having higher pH than lighter roasts. In terms of caffeine content, regular hot coffee boasts about 326 mg of caffeine in 16 fluid ounces.

If you’re having any issues with your coffee maker creating low-humming sounds, our guides can help you through it.

Warning

Cold brew coffee takes hours to brew, so you might want to let it sit overnight for the right period of time.

F.A.Q.S

How important is water temperature when brewing coffee?

Water temperature helps with the process of extraction. As a result, a hot coffee brews in a few minutes with the right temperature water. If you use water that is too cold, your hot beverages may end up under-extracted. Cold coffee takes hours to extract the right amount of flavor.


What is the best water temperature for coffee?

You should put cold coffee in the water tank for a coffee machine, but the machine will heat it to about 195-200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is ideal for brewing coffee.


Can you put hot water in a coffee maker?

You can put hot water in your coffee maker, but it will inevitably contain more minerals that can add to the build-up in your coffee pot or coffee carafe.



STAT: Cold water absorbs fewer minerals than hot water when it runs through water pipes. (source)

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