Do Coffee Makers Boil Water?

Do Coffee Makers Boil Water?

There is a common presumption that for water to be safe for drinking coffee it has to be boiled. The boiling point of water is at 100 degrees Centigrade or 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Since coffee enthusiasts nowadays rely mostly on coffee makers to have a good cup of joe, it leads one to wonder if these machines boil water. 

Do coffee makers boil water?

No, coffee makers do not boil water. The recommended optimal temperature for brewing coffee is 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a few notches below the boiling point of 212 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The reason why coffee makers do not boil water is that boiling water destroys the taste of coffee. Placing boiling water directly into the coffee grounds causes them to extract too quickly and too much resulting in bitter coffee. Bubbling water because of the boiling process agitates the coffee grounds and leads to uneven extraction. 

If a coffee maker has to boil the water it would have to turn all the water to steam which coffee makers are not designed to do. It requires another kind of device to trap steam and maintain the temperature.

What would happen if coffee makers used boiling water?

If coffee makers used boiling water it would not yield a good tasting cup of coffee. Boiling water results in a burnt and bitter taste since it burns coffee grounds. 

How to control the temperature to yield good-tasting coffee?

Coffee enthusiasts use a kitchen thermometer to control the temperature. Most coffee makers have a built-in water heater and control or so-called thermocouples. These thermocouples are mechanical parts but they tend to wear out. You should check the temperature of the coffee maker especially if you are using it for a long period already.  

If you notice that your coffee tastes sour, it can mean that the thermocouple is damaged. Your coffee is under-brewed since the thermocouple is not achieving the desired temperature and you may have to purchase a new coffee maker. If you use French Press, you have to heat the container before use. Pour hot water and let it sit for a few seconds since it will warm up the container and maintain the water’s temperature. 

How do coffee makers heat water?

Coffee makers heat water with the help of an aluminum or copper heating coil. While water is boiling, steam rises on the tube located on the upper side. The steam bubbles rise and condense back to hot water. 

The bubbles that form around the coil push the condensed hot water bubbles up and the steam pushes the water vapor to the output tube.  The steam bubbles that condense at the output tube’s turn into dripping water. 

Nevertheless, coffee brewers like the percolator can easily heat water to more than 212 degrees Fahrenheit. This means you can boil water in a percolator.  Brewing coffee in one requires special skill since you have to control the brewing temperature manually.

Do coffee makers sanitize water?

No, coffee makers do not typically sanitize or purify water. But there are a few steps you can take to use safe and high-quality water. Use bottled spring water or filtered water to make sure your coffee is clean and safe to drink. Also, make sure that you clean your coffee maker regularly to keep it clean and odor-free. 

Can you put boiling water in a coffee maker?

Yes, you can put boiling water, especially in a stovetop coffee maker. Practice extreme caution since the dripping coffee grounds are above the water chamber and water can boil over to the top. If you have a Keurig machine, you can put hot water in it but it could get cold quickly since the water tank is not insulated or heated. Putting too hot water can damage the tank but it does not significantly impact the heat of the coffee.


If you are used to drinking coffee using boiling water, you’re in for a big surprise. Coffee makers are designed to brew coffee at an optimal temperature of 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a few notches below the boiling point of water which is 212 degrees Fahrenheit. These brewers are designed to achieve the optimal temperature since going above it yields bitter tasting coffee.

Image: / John_Kasawa