Goldilocks coffee

Coffee preparation techniques besides espresso like pourover.
User avatar
Almico

#1: Post by Almico »

Over the past few years I have developed the habit, quite organically, of "cupping" my coffee at room temperature. I find I can taste far more of what a coffee has to offer when it is neither hot, nor cold. This has evolved into drinking all coffee this way.

I've never like iced coffee and hot coffee was, well, too hot to drink. So my habits evolved over time into pouring a half cup of drip at work to let it cool faster. Then I'd get busy and come back to it15 minutes later when it had inevitably cooled to room temperature. I found I liked it that way and could taste more of the coffee, especially when trying to pick out particular flavors. I haven't gone back to hot coffee since.

This quirk took its final form the other day. I was making an Americano at home and, upon discovering that my Zojirushi water boiler was empty, it occurred to me that I was extracting espresso into hot water only to wait for it to cool before I drank it. So the epiphany dawned that I should just bypass the waiting and just make Americanos with room temperature water. I have been doing so for the past few weeks.

I suppose most people prefer either hot or cold coffee because extremes of temperature mask coffee's unpleasant bitterness. And of course adding milk to coffee precludes this. But my coffee is not bitter and there is nothing unpleasant about it. All the coffee's rich and vibrant flavors are more accessible at room temperature. Color me weird, but I like my coffee not too hot, not too cold, but just right...
★ Helpful

jpender

#2: Post by jpender »

By tepid you mean room temperature which is the temperature many people mean when they say that their coffee has gotten cold. So 60-75°F as opposed to 45°F from the refrigerator or, say, body temperature (100°F).

I think you're not that weird, that lots of people like coffee that has gone cold. I frequently finish cups that are "cold". I just don't call them tepid. I don't know if tepid is well defined but I think of it as warmer, as a temperature that I don't enjoy any beverage to be, even water. Especially water.

Urnex: 100% dedicated focus on coffee and tea cleaning
Sponsored by Urnex
CathyWeeks

#3: Post by CathyWeeks »

It's all chemistry.

People can tell the difference in coffee that is brewed at 5 degrees higher/lower temperature because different volatile compounds go into solution at different temps. And when it's consumed, various volatile compounds will be more noticeable at various temps than others.

Your taste buds are also equipped to detect flavors differently at different temperatures. For example, your tastebuds do a poor job at detecting sweet flavors at cold temperatures - that's partially why ice cream tends to be sweetened more than other desserts (and sugar has a role in keeping it soft when frozen).

Time also plays a role - as time goes on, the flavors degrade with oxidization. So coffee that is recently brought to room temp will taste better and richer than coffee that has been sitting out all day. In other words, your 8am cup of coffee will taste much better at 10am, than it will at 3pm.

For myself, I prefer my coffee hot, but not HOT. But once it goes room temp, I finish it there - I don't like it to be reheated in the microwave. It tastes better at room temp than reheated.

But, you like what you like - it's quite subjective. :-)

Jeff
Team HB

#4: Post by Jeff »

I find that somewhere around 50°C (120-125°F), for me, is a good balance between hot and releasing aroma (which becomes part of the sensory experience, along with the warmth) and "it just tastes hot". For me, this is for either brewed or espresso.

User avatar
BaristaBoy E61

#5: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

I'm with the "Some Like it HOT" crowd. :mrgreen:
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

User avatar
Almico (original poster)

#6: Post by Almico (original poster) »

jpender wrote:By tepid you mean room temperature
Title changed from tepid to Goldilocks, but pretty much. Right after pulling a double into room temp water the cup temp goes up a bit, but it cools back down to ambient temp quickly.

It should be added that the coffee, roast and brew need to all be exceptional for this. In hind sight, my taste for tepid coffee grew right along side my ability to select, roast and brew really good coffee. It doesn't need to be 90+ coffee; as a matter of fact most of the coffee I roast these days is in the 86-88 range. But it needs to be defect-free. Any faults along the way show up immediately in the cup. FWIW, this preference is independent of roast level. I mostly drink lighter roasts, but dark(er) roasts offer the same flavor, and especially sweetness enhancements, when brewed hot and consumed at room temperature.

thebeanvagrant

#7: Post by thebeanvagrant »

Good call starting with room temperature water for your Americano :)

You're not alone in liking coffee that has cooled right down, I think there are plenty of us in speciality coffee.

I routinely like to let my coffee cool quite a bit before tasting, and then like to drink/taste/assess it all the way from hot/warm down to room temp.

I personally enjoy that range of temperature however, with some heat to begin with, and enjoy seeing how the flavours emerge and evolve over that range, and whether the balance changes, etc.

I always think if a coffee is good (good bean roast and extraction) is should still taste good at cold/room temp.

If it doesn't, I know I got something wrong.

What I do, to facilitate this cooling more instantly, is keep my coffee in the carafe/server, and have a medium-small cup to drink from.

Then I pour just a little at a time into the cup, which cools it straight down.

This way I can enjoy more of the coffee at that cooler-but-not-quite-cold temperature where I most enjoy it, and where I can taste the flavours best, without having to wait... before eventually getting right down to cold/tepid/room temp/Goldilocks towards the end :)

Decent Espresso: espresso equipment for serious baristas
Sponsored by Decent Espresso
ojt

#8: Post by ojt »

Agreed, I don't warm up my severs or cups for this reason. I think my preference is around the 50C like Jeff's. The only case where I'd heat a cup a little is for cappuccino, for some reason.
Osku

User avatar
JohnB.
Supporter ♡

#9: Post by JohnB. »

I make my wife & I an Americano every morning. She drinks her's right away. Mine sits on my desk while I feed the dogs & make my breakfast. By the time I sit down it's still warm but it cools to close to room temp before it's gone.
LMWDP 267

DamianWarS
Supporter ♡

#10: Post by DamianWarS »

Almico wrote:Over the past few years I have developed the habit, quite organically, of "cupping" my coffee at room temperature. I find I can taste far more of what a coffee has to offer when it is neither hot, nor cold. This has evolved into drinking all coffee this way.

I've never like iced coffee and hot coffee was, well, too hot to drink. So my habits evolved over time into pouring a half cup of drip at work to let it cool faster. Then I'd get busy and come back to it15 minutes later when it had inevitably cooled to room temperature. I found I liked it that way and could taste more of the coffee, especially when trying to pick out particular flavors. I haven't gone back to hot coffee since.

This quirk took its final form the other day. I was making an Americano at home and, upon discovering that my Zojirushi water boiler was empty, it occurred to me that I was extracting espresso into hot water only to wait for it to cool before I drank it. So the epiphany dawned that I should just bypass the waiting and just make Americanos with room temperature water. I have been doing so for the past few weeks.

I suppose most people prefer either hot or cold coffee because extremes of temperature mask coffee's unpleasant bitterness. And of course adding milk to coffee precludes this. But my coffee is not bitter and there is nothing unpleasant about it. All the coffee's rich and vibrant flavors are more accessible at room temperature. Color me weird, but I like my coffee not too hot, not too cold, but just right...
I prefer coffee hot but I will admit when cupping coffee can be quite enjoyable after it has cooled and often times I will drink cooled coffee from the cupping bowls when it is finished (if I'm doing it alone). I can track however with you're process that got you there because I'm sure if I did a similar approach the product would be the same that I would be seeking the coffee at a lower temp. You could make a french press (if you enjoy that type) and just let it sit for a half-hour. don't stir, break the crust, press or anything just pour hot water in with cofffee grinds and let it naturally sink (probably around 5-10 min depending on how fresh your coffee is) and then cool and decante it out when it hits the temp you like. When immersion sits for a while all the coffee settles at the bottom and decanting it out, even without a filter, is surprisingly clean and free of coffee grinds. this doesn't make a quick cup but it's incredibly simple and still can make very enjoyable cups. don't worry about the extraction time and it shouldn't be bitter and if it is then used a coarser grind but immersion is quite forgiving. once the grinds sink effectively extraction ends too.