Tea connoisseurs will tell you temperature can make or break how tea brews. The same goes for coffee. For those of us that want our morning cup to be as robust as us, we are starting to follow in the footsteps of our fellow tea sages.

The National Coffee Association (NCA) provides a guide to brewing a classic cup, and water is a vital component to your perfect cup of coffee. The subject of water is dissected down to the taste and quality, from filtered vs. tap to brewing time, and yes, to water temperature. The NCA suggests between 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit ( about 90.5 to 96.1 degrees Celsius) for optimal extraction. What does that mean? Extraction makes all the difference between sour, bitter, dirty water and the dark, go-getter liquid of champions that is so smooth and rich in taste.

The flavor of your coffee is directly attributed to whether you over or under extract while brewing. Under-extracted coffee produces weak, sour coffee. You want those tiny compounds to dissolve in water with ease, but not to the point in which you over-dissolve them and get bitter coffee, which is why that happy medium temperature below 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius) is so important. If you have a slow pour maker, bring water to a boil, then let it sit for a minute or two before you pour it over the grounds.

195-205…Why a ten-degree range? Java Presse reminds us that boiling point changes based on your sea level. The higher in elevation you are, the lower the temperature your water needs to be to boil due to pressure. Another factor might be the particles in your water, which is another reason why filtered or bottled water is best.

Food magazine Kitchn suggests going a step further for your French press or Chemex by pre-heating the vessel with hot water. Not as an act of snobbery, but because it will provide more control to the water temperature before you steep the grounds in the vessel. Additionally, unless you have a digital or highly sophisticated coffee maker, it is difficult to control your water temperature in a typical drip machine. Kitchn per the direction of Macallie Atkinson say to buy a decent thermometer and to “measure the slurry — the mass of coffee grounds and water that collects at the top.” (thekitchn.com) One can control their own temperature with ease with a simple, non-expensive water boiler. Consider saving up for a slow-pour coffee maker, only about twenty bucks from Target or Amazon.

All these careful steps to making good caffeine bean juice might make you exhausted enough to have two cups. If you want the good stuff to brew, however, consider your H20 as carefully as you would your favorite brands of grounds or whole beans. Even if you are easygoing and not nit-picky about what’s in your mug or thermos, think about how much you deserve a good start to the morning. After all, what is better self-care than walking out the door knowing you have been mindful about what you drink?