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Best water temperature for dark roast


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Hi guys, 

I am new to this platform but love the community here. I have a question that I am not finding a consistent answer to. 

“WHAT WATER TEMPERATURE TO USE FOR DARK ROATS?”

In most online forums I see the mention of 96ºC but when I measure boiling water (using a Russel Hobbs Kettle) i only get about 93ºC max. Then in posts from the great James Hoffmann, he talks about going all the way down to 85ºC or even lower for dark roasts. 

What do you guys use and how to make sure my brew is not over or under extracted according to the temperature?
🙃🙃

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@Usagercoffee - welcome to the forum. Rule of thumb says the darker the roast, the colder the temperature required. But there’s more to it than water temperature: there’s pre-infusion, there’s dose, there’s flow, there’s grind, there’s ratios.

96C seems too high, sometimes even so for a light roast. 

forget about “the de-facto” temperature and let your tastebuds guide you. Aim for a ratio of 2:1 (e.g: 18g, 36g out in approx 30s, depending on machine, starting at a 94C temperature) and let your taste buds guide you. If it’s too bitter, decrease the temperature until you find the sweet spot, similarly increase the temperature if it’s sour.

 

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Current: Lelit Elizabeth / Niche Zero / VST baskets / Distilled water + 100mg NaCO3/L

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9 minutes ago, Usagercoffee said:

Thanks for the info. I will definitely let my taste buds do the job my brain cannot :)
Do you have a particular brewing method to recommend for dark roasts?

Which machine have you? And, which coffee are you talking about here? 

Edited by MediumRoastSteam

Current: Lelit Elizabeth / Niche Zero / VST baskets / Distilled water + 100mg NaCO3/L

Previous: Gaggia Classic | Eureka Mignon | Rocket Cellini Evo | Profitec 700 | Profitec T-64 | Gene Cafe CBR-101 | Kinu M68 | Feldgrind 2 | La Pavoni Europiccola 2012

Also at: CoffeeTime Forum & Niche Zero Owners Group

 

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Quote

 

 

I currently use a simple french press with the dark roast from the guys at Morris Black Goat. The coffee always tastes really great. I recently bought a Russel Hobbs kettle and ONLY recently I started getting some bitter flavours, so i was wondering if the water could have anything to do with that.

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I see. Well... I can't help you with that. 🙂 - I drink exclusively espresso, so no clue about French press. But given you will steep for a while - If you follow Hoffman's methodologies - I'm not sure the water temperature matters too much. The few times I did it I just boiled the kettle, let it sit for a minute and made a French Press. 

But again, you have a fancy kettle, so you can try and let your taste buds guide you. Remember, change only one variable at a time. So, if you change temperature, make sure everything else remains exactly the same. (steeping time, dose, prep, grind size, etc, etc).

Good luck. 

Current: Lelit Elizabeth / Niche Zero / VST baskets / Distilled water + 100mg NaCO3/L

Previous: Gaggia Classic | Eureka Mignon | Rocket Cellini Evo | Profitec 700 | Profitec T-64 | Gene Cafe CBR-101 | Kinu M68 | Feldgrind 2 | La Pavoni Europiccola 2012

Also at: CoffeeTime Forum & Niche Zero Owners Group

 

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@Usagercoffee Is this coffee pre ground or do you buy beans and grind them yourself. @MWJB is the resident brewed coffee expert but I do not think on a the French Press method, the temp of the water is that important. Perhaps you could tell us exactly how you prepare a brew including dose and water volume

Lets All Laugh At T C...........29 and counting

 

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@dfk41 

I actually grind the beans myself using my (couple of years old) Niche Zero. My process is pretty simple:

  1. Grind about 30g (approximately) the beans coarse/medium (apparently best for french press)
  2. Add to the press
  3. Boil London tap (E1) water in my kettle then pour straight into press about 300mL (again approximately). Temperature measured using a TDS meter is about 92-93C.
  4. Stir for 5 seconds with spoon + let rest for about 5 to 10 minutes (time it takes me to check my emails)
  5. Filter and enjoy 

Did you get anything particular from that? 😜

 

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@Usagercoffee  - Last time I used a FP I used this method: 

 

Current: Lelit Elizabeth / Niche Zero / VST baskets / Distilled water + 100mg NaCO3/L

Previous: Gaggia Classic | Eureka Mignon | Rocket Cellini Evo | Profitec 700 | Profitec T-64 | Gene Cafe CBR-101 | Kinu M68 | Feldgrind 2 | La Pavoni Europiccola 2012

Also at: CoffeeTime Forum & Niche Zero Owners Group

 

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Yes, I think I know my mistake - he mentions 60-70g per L aka 21g per 300mL. With my recipe I am slightly over that with my 30g per 300mL. That might explain the bitter taste but cannot explain why my brews used to taste great without a kettle and taste bitter with a kettle. I will try it out tomorrow morning and keep you updated @MediumRoastSteam 🙃

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Agree

The biggest improvement in all of my coffee making came from stopping using London tapwater both for espresso and filter coffee

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@Usagercoffee A lot of us use the OSmio Zero. The current forum offer has just finished unfortunately. The Zero produces Reverse osmosis water but in a table top unit, about the size of a pc tower. The advantages are it strips everything out of the water that you would want it to. And in the long term, is a better solution than buying and lugging bottled water!

 

Lets All Laugh At T C...........29 and counting

 

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If you’re tasting bitterness you could be over-extracting as you’re brewing a darker roast. 

Although I brew with an Aeropress and V60 the same principles should apply. 

As you have already said try a 21g dose for 300g of water at 70g/L for a darker roast.

Try a temperature in late 80’s - 88/89C?

It’s also possible you’re grinding too fine for a dark roast - maybe try slightly coarser? This is the hardest to gauge and really is trial and error unfortunately. Of course go by taste.

As has been mentioned already it’s worthwhile trying bottled water, even if you use the same kettle. I use waitrose lockhills (essential) bottled water for brewing as I also use it for my espresso machine. I also live in London! 

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@dfk41 I have looked into RO in the past but many people seem to complain about three things.

  1. The waste water
  2. The lack of minerals in RO water
  3. The amount of filters to change 

What do you think, are these good arguments not to buy the system? I have a bit in my savings account and could theoretically buy one of these systems, but I am hesitant. There is also the Peak filter I saw a couple of weeks ago. Is it comparable with RO?

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@Usagercoffee For brewed coffee, an RO system might be excessive. I say this, as when you have an espresso machine siting perhaps all day with water approaching boiling, it is very easy for parts to become scaled up causing further expense. The waste water (1 litre in 5) does not bother me because it is a by product of the system. Losing the minerals is what I want to further protect my expensive equipment. Filters.....without them you cannot operate, but......let us say living in London and owning a certain type of lever coffee machine. They type of lever means that due to the way it is constructed, if the boiler becomes scaled up (and it will within 6 months in London) you either have to be good with the spanners as you will have to strip it down, remove the boiler and soak it in relevant fluids to remove the scale, then rebuild and since you have it stripped you may as well fit all seals, or pay an engineer to do it......or buy an Osmio Zero and forget about it all!

PS The Peak is a load of shite!

Edited by dfk41

Lets All Laugh At T C...........29 and counting

 

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@HVL87

Noted, thanks for the tips. I think I will test the temperature and grinding a little coarser tonight, I got excited to test it out. I will keep you guys updated. 

I will vary the temperature by letting it cool down after the kettle turns off for maybe 30 seconds to 1 min? I will monitor the temperature with my cheap TDS meter. Hopefully it is accurate enough. 

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@dfk41 I understand so the main benefit with RO water is that you prevent scale from building up. It would be interesting to compare how RO water impacts the taste of the brew. Do you notice any difference? I’ve done some research and apparently according to James Hoffmann the ideal water should be bottles water. Or demin water with added minerals like Epsom salt and Baking powder.

 

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