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Brew temperature, at fixed brew strength and extraction, has little impact on the sensory profile of drip brew coffee.


The brew temperature is widely considered a key parameter affecting the final quality of coffee, with a temperature near 93 °C often described as optimal. In particular, drip brewers that do not achieve a minimum brew temperature of 92 °C within a prescribed time period fail their certification. There is little empirical evidence in terms of rigorous sensory descriptive analysis or consumer preference testing, however, to support any particular range of brew temperatures. In this study, we drip-brewed coffee to specific brew strengths, as measured by total dissolved solids (TDS), and extraction yields, as measured by percent extraction (PE), spanning the range of the classic Coffee Brewing Control Chart. Three separate brew temperatures of 87 °C, 90 °C, or 93 °C were tested, adjusting the grind size and overall brew time as necessary to achieve the target TDS and PE. Although the TDS and PE both significantly affected the sensory profile of the coffee, surprisingly the brew temperature had no appreciable impact. We conclude that brew temperature should be considered as only one of several parameters that affect the extraction dynamics, and that ultimately the sensory profile is governed by differences in TDS and PE rather than the brew temperature, at least over the range of temperatures tested.

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