A controversial question for all coffee lovers is “what is the perfect coffee temperature?” Across the UK, from London to Newcastle, we all have personal preferences and opinions on the perfect coffee. According to Statista coffee is level with tea for the most popular drink in the UK, but do people actually know the perfect temperature to get the best taste out of their coffee? In this blog piece we will go through the science behind why there is a perceived prime temperature for each coffee type. After this article you will be able to tell all your friends the prime temperatures to get the best taste for americano, cappuccino, flat white, latte and espresso.
Perfect americano temperature
An americano is created by adding hot water to a shot of espresso. To make the perfect americano, the water itself should be heated to a temperature of between 90 to 94C. The ideal temperature for the water is between this range so it matches the temperature of the coffee itself. The amount of water added is then the same as the espresso to fill the cup, making the ratio 1:1.
Perfect cappuccino temperature
The perfect temperature for the milk in a cappuccino is 55 to 65C. So why is 55 to 65C the perfect temperature for a cappuccino? Making a cappuccino at a lower temperature makes the milk unstable, which in turn produces the air bubbles to merge together and turn into odd sizes.
Making a cappuccino at 70C could potentially burn your mouth, ruining your overall drinking experience. Producing a drink at this temperature also burns the milk, makes the froth less creamy, and thins the milk, all of which changes the final taste.
Perfect flat white temperature
Compared to a cappuccino and latte, a flat white should have a thinner layer of microfoam. An ideal temperature for the milk when creating a flat white is 60 to 70C. If you are using non-dairy milk, it is strongly recommended not to exceed 55C. So why is it important to check the temperature of the milk for a flat white? Steaming the milk to this recommended temperature ensures the proteins and fats are retained in the milk, giving the final drink a wonderful, sweet flavour.
If the temperatures go above those recommended, the proteins and fat in the milk will disconnect, leaving the milk lumpy with an unappealing smell and taste, which nobody wants. Cooling and re-heating the milk would not help the process with the proteins and fat already spread apart, the damage has already been done!
Perfect latte temperature
Lattes are made with espresso and milk. The main difference between a latte and other espresso drinks, such as a cappuccino is the ratio of espresso to milk, with one-third espresso. The ideal temperature for the steamed milk in a latte is 55 to 65C. Making a latte over 65C will denature the natural proteins in the milk, leaving you with a lack of overall texture and flavour.
Perfect espresso temperature
The perfect temperature for the ideal tasting espresso is between 90 to 96C. If the temperature exceeds 96C, for example when using a just-boiled kettle, it will result in higher extraction yields and burned coffee. If the temperature is set below 90C, less coffee will be extracted at a slower rate, again affecting the end result in taste quality.
What’s the issue with boiled milk?
For each of these drinks, boiled milk can simply be too hot to produce the perfect taste. Boiling the milk to high temperatures will again play havoc with the natural proteins in the milk. It is also close to impossible to create microfoam when milk is heated beyond 70C. Some people are so accustomed to a kettle’s extreme heat to make their hot drinks, many think a machine-based coffee is actually not hot enough! Whilst a bean-to-cup coffee machine could be ever so slightly cooler than the initial heat from a kettle, the overall quality of drink is higher due to it being produced at its optimal drinking temperature.
So, there you have it, you are now an expert in the prime temperatures for the perfect americano, cappuccino, flat white, latte and espresso. When you are praised for your wonderful coffee knowledge and skills feel free to mention this blog to your friends and work colleagues so they too can share in your newfound knowledge.
Get in touch
Are you looking for other ways to improve your office space? Perhaps a top of the range coffee machine is in your mind? If you need a hand our team is here to help. Simply get in touch and we can support you in finding the perfect office coffee experience.