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I just put instant coffee in my cup and pour the water. My question is, what temperature should that water be?

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Is this instant coffee? –  SAJ14SAJ Aug 25 '13 at 11:36
    
@SAJ14SAJ No, it's just regular coffee. –  evening Aug 25 '13 at 11:36
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You just put coffee grounds in your cup and add water? While that would certainly work it is very uncommon, as you have no way to remove the grounds before over extraction occurs, and many people consider their texture unpleasant. –  SAJ14SAJ Aug 25 '13 at 11:38
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@SAJ14SAJ I meant instant coffee, sorry. –  evening Aug 26 '13 at 12:08
    
In that case, I think it is completely up to your preference so long as the coffee gets dissolved. You might want to call the consumer question number on your favorite brand to see what they say, but I suspect they will tell you the same thing. –  SAJ14SAJ Aug 26 '13 at 12:18

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

You have quite a bit of leeway with Instant Coffee. You can brew it using water of your desired temperature. I would recommend using water just below boiling point though, around 95-99 degrees Celsius. You could use 85-95 degrees Celsius water as well; it won't make a big difference in terms of extraction of flavour, and here is why:

How instant coffee is prepared in the factory:

  1. Coffee beans are roasted
  2. They are ground very finely (0.5 mm - 1.1 mm in diameter)
  3. The ground coffee is mixed with water in percolation columns which reaches 155 - 180 degrees Celsius. This is the extraction process.
  4. This mixture is then concentrated and/or dried using vacuum evaporation, freeze drying, or spray drying methods.

The result from this is what you get in the store.

Conclusion:

All of the very particular factors that one must consider when trying to make great coffee have already been decided for you. You have no control over roast, grind, time from grind to extraction, extraction time and temperature, or time from extraction to consumption. All of this been decided for you.

It is up to you. Brew it at whatever temperature you like to drink your coffee at.

However, it may be slightly harder to dissolve the coffee and get good flavor at cold temperatures. Keeping it on the hotter side may be better. That's just chemistry though.


Sources:

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For anyone interested in a dedicated coffee SE site, check out this area51 proposal: area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/44633/coffee –  Patrick Sebastien Aug 27 '13 at 19:00

See the National Coffee Association's pretty comprehensive guide to preparing coffee. Assuming you do not mean instant coffee, they recommend a temperature of 195 - 205 F.

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I prepare my coffee in a cezve and I have found that it tastes best when brought to 80-83°C (that's 176 to 181°F for you Moon guys). At 90°C and above it starts smelling and tasting like old floor rags. –  Mischa Arefiev Aug 25 '13 at 20:21

You may know that you can buy special kettles that heat the water to 92 deg c to avoid scalding the coffee. These are expensive and unnecessary. Here's an idea that I came up with.

  1. Boil the kettle.
  2. Pour the water into the mug/cup whatever.
  3. Because some of the heat energy is transferred to the mug, which has a fairly high heat capacity, the temperature of the water falls to the perfect heat range.
  4. Now add the instant coffee. Then the milk! You'll be amazed at the difference! Happy coffee drinking!
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