The Ideal Brewing Temperature For French Press Coffee

French press coffee is favored by a lot of brewers for its ease of use and the bold flavors it produces, but all that depends on nailing a precise temperature range that lands between the watery, sour taste of coffee that's been brewed too cold with the bitter taste of a cup brewed too hot. 

Even among experts, recommendations for coffee brewing can vary because so much depends on preferences and subtleties of the beans, but the consensus is that water just short of a boil, in the range of 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit, produces the most balanced results. To keep things simple, when you begin brewing, aim for your water to be around 202 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The one factor that will alter your ideal temperature with French press is the type of roast. Dark roasts, which are already more bitter, do better about 10 degrees cooler than normal, and for light roasts you can up the temperature a bit for better extraction. Just be careful to avoid the mistake of using boiling water above 212 degrees Fahrenheit, no matter the style.

French press coffee does best around 202 degrees Fahrenheit

The reason the ideal temperature range for brewing French press coffee is similar to other hot coffee styles is that factors in the preparation already account for the differences. French press is a high-extraction method of brewing because the grounds are completely submerged in the water for four minutes or more, drawing out a lot of flavor. 

Instead of dropping the temperature to account for this, coffee for French press is ground very coarsely to slow the extraction. Dropping the temperature doesn't really work because that 195 to 205 degree range is ideal for water to dissolve the compounds that flavor your hot coffee, regardless of brewing style. So whether you make a French press or pour-over, it's the other variables besides temperature that need to change.

To track the temperature of your water, you can use a thermometer or an electric kettle with built-in temperature control, as both can tell you exactly when you hit that 202 mark. But for those of us who are more casual about our coffee, you can remove the water from the heat right as it hits a boil and then wait 30 seconds before you pour, which should bring it down to the right range for brewing. You may not hit 202 degrees Fahrenheit on the dot, but it will be close enough for a great cup of French press coffee.