April 13, 2024

Why coffee should not be brewed with water over 96 degrees

Coffee is a favorite drink among Germans. How best to prepare it and how many healthy cups per day.

Coffee is a cult and the variety of different coffee drinks is as great as the options for their preparation. In addition to classic filter coffee and specialties such as espresso, cappuccino or latte macchiato, cold coffee is also popular in Germany, for example cold brew, iced coffee or café freddo. In 2022, per capita consumption will be around 167 liters.

But how does the coffee get into the cup? Whether with or without milk, milk substitutes, sugar or other sweeteners: To prepare it, you simply need ground coffee and hot water.

Type, roast, degree of grinding, dosage and water affect the taste

The taste of coffee is affected by many factors: type of coffee, roasting, degree of grinding, whether it is freshly ground or instant powder, dosage, water temperature or water quality, and last but not least the type of preparation.

When it comes to coffee powder, you can choose between single-origin coffees from a variety of growing regions. After the Arabica bean, Robusta is the second most popular variety. Arabica coffee tends to be more expensive and considered to be of higher quality. They grow more slowly at higher altitudes and are milder and easier to digest. High-yielding Robusta coffee also grows at lower elevations, and tastes slightly chocolatey and somewhat bitter. It also contains about twice as much caffeine as Arabica beans. Robusta is often used in espresso blends because it forms a nice cream and, in combination with sugar, develops a caramel-like flavour. If you choose Fair Trade coffee and coffee from organic farming, you help improve the situation for coffee farmers in the countries of origin and make coffee farming more sustainable.

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Fully automatic coffee machines are modern

Making coffee from freshly ground beans using fully automatic coffee machines is modern at home. According to the German Coffee Association, there is a matching device in every third home. Other brewing methods, for example, brewing coffee with a filter in a coffee machine or manually, brewing coffee powder directly in a pressure jug (“French Press”) or in a cup as a mocha, as well as with espresso directly on the stove.

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The required powder grinding degree can be set in fully automatic machines. Trade ground coffee is usually medium fine to brew using a manual filter or in a coffee machine. However, the powder must be coarsely ground to prepare it in machines to seal and finer for espresso or mocha. Coffee powder can be ground to taste in a coffee shop or in supermarkets with a coffee grinder or with your own machine.

Up to five cups of filtered coffee is safe

Ideally, fresh tap water of medium hardness (8.4-14 DegH) should be used. If you are bothered by the taste of coffee with hard water, you can also switch to mineral water with a lower mineral content. Boil the water briefly and then let it cool down to about 86 to 89 degrees Celsius. The temperature must certainly be less than 96 degrees, otherwise the aroma of the coffee will suffer. If you use water that has been standing for a long time or boiled for a long time, the coffee will become tasteless.

Coffee tastes best freshly brewed. If you keep it warm, it has lost much of its flavor after half an hour. Thermos flasks guarantee good taste for longer than keeping them warm on a coffee machine.

And how much coffee can be? About four to five cups of filtered coffee per day is considered safe for healthy adults. Filtered coffee contains an average of 90 milligrams of caffeine per 200 milliliters. This keeps you within your caffeine intake of 400 milligrams per day, which is considered harmless. However, according to the “Gesund ins Leben” network, pregnant women should drink a maximum of three 150ml cups of coffee.

per person: Anja Schwengel-Exner is a food and nutrition consultant at the Bavarian Consumer Advice Center.