Conventional wisdom is to brew coffee hot and drink it hot like a cowboy. Fresh off the campfire.
Have you experimented with temperature?
We have at ROASTe and here's what we've found:
/wp/wp-content/uploads/files/uploads/best-electric-kettle-capresso-h20-plus.jpg" alt="That's Too Hot" title="That's Too Hot" align="left" border="10" height="250" width="240" /> 1. Have you tried brewing drip coffee at a lower temperature than just off the boil? Like in an Aeropress or Chemex, Melitta, or other pourover methods, sometimes water as cool as 175 degrees works great. In an automatic drip machine, you don't really have a choice -- you have to use their water temperature. But I notice better coffee from my Aeropress and Chemex when the water is 175 degrees, not the 200 degrees more commonly recommended. This isn't idle coffee geek talk. It actually tastes better to me. Maybe super hot water, fresh off the boil, recooks or scalds the coffee grinds and alters their flavor. Since a lot of us approach gourmet coffee from having made junky supermarket coffee for years, we're used to bringing water to a boil first. Not so with gourmet coffee. 175 degrees -- that's what works for me. See the boiling water in the kettle to the right? That's too hot. What works for you? Let us know in the comments below.
1. Drip Coffee tastes best when it has cooled off. Scalding hot coffee might be great at a diner alongside the eggs and bacon, or when you've just come in from the cold. Or if it spills in your lap at McDonalds and you decide to sue them. But if you're trying to discern the flavor notes in coffee, let it cool off. Doesn't have to be room temperature. Just not hot. If you have to slurp it, the coffee is too hot to detect flavor notes. Take an Ethiopian dry processed Sidamo, for example. This is the kind of coffee that scalding hot tastes nothing but....scalding hot. But cooled, you get amazing blueberry, strawberry, blackberry flavor to it -- so much so it seems like a flavored coffee. Citrus comes through better when a coffee has cooled. Coffee will change as it cools - it's nice to sip your way through the 10-15 minutes it takes to reach room temperature.
Good luck appreciating gourmet coffees on ROASTe -- and let us know what you think.