Friday, February 17, 2017

Can You Use A Coffee Maker To Boil Water?

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Here is a simple question you may have - does your coffee maker bring water to a boil before dripping over the grind to make coffee?

This may be a surprising answer but no, it doesn't.

It gets close but doesn't go all the way.

If you want to know how hot the water gets it usually around 200 degrees, a bit below boiling.

Why Doesn't A Coffee Maker Boil Water to Make Coffee

A lot of coffee pots these days come with a hot water reservoir. In fact my wife bought me a decent coffee machine for Christmas back in 2011 and it had a hot water reservoir. She sues it for making hot tea in the morning.

I tested the hot water reservoir not long ago just to see what temp the water came out at. I measured around 190 degrees in my mug meaning that it was probably a pinch higher in the chamber under the heating element.

Many high end coffee makers report their brewing process brings the water temperature up to 200 degrees (the ideal temp for brewing coffee) but even that is 12 degrees under that of boiling water.

For a coffee maker to boil the water the element would have to turn all the water to steam and this is something that they are just not designed to do. To trap that steam and maintain temperature would require engineering a new kind of device, a pressure cooker for coffee.

Here are Some Other Reasons Why Your Coffee Maker Hot Water Heater Doesn't Go Up to Boiling

Out of curiosity I actually went to my stove and started boiling water. During the full boil I picked the pan up and poured the water out into my mug and measured it at 195.

How is that possible I thought. Seems the first bit of temp drops pretty quick when removed from the heat source.

The problem of heat loss can be mitigated by preheating the cup or pot you are pouring the hot water into but on the other end of the spectrum 212 degree water from a coffee maker is really unlikely because that is the boiling point of water at sea level. As the altitude goes up the boiling point drops. This is another reason why pressure cookers work so well. The increase in pressure actually increases the boiling point of water allowing it to get much hotter than it could under normal circumstances.

So, can you use a coffee pot to boil water?

Yeah, for all basic needs the water coming out of a coffee maker is probably going to be a bit below the temperature of boiling water from your stove or a flame. But then again it's not likely to be low enough to hinder what you are up to.

If you truly need boiling water 200-212 degree water I suggest using a stove top pan but if 185-190 degree water is fine for your needs then most quality coffee machines will do just fine. Just make sure to clean the pot real good if you want to minimize your chances of getting any residual coffee flavor in your water as it passes through an empty coffee filter basket.


James Weese said...

It is a really good post. I was not sure about Use A Coffee Maker To Boil Water. I have a a coffee maker with grinder . Can I try ??


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