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Can You Use A Coffee Maker to Boil Water?

Coffee machines are designed to heat water, that’s their primary function after all. Without that function, making coffee would be significantly more difficult.

What you may not have known is that most coffee machines actually have a maximum temperature they can reach. They are designed to get to a temperature just under boiling, so that it efficiently retrieves the coffee from the beans.

So, odds are you aren’t going to get straight boiling water from any coffee maker you own or buy off the shelf. To get boiling water you would need something like this instead.

The heat level coffee makers typically get to is usually perfect for many things like making tea, hot chocolate, making soups, etc. Most heat the water to between 190-200 degrees but most of them take some time to get this hot.

The average coffee maker that I’ve tested start pumping water out the shower head way before it heats up all the way. Some machines I’ve tested start the flow in the 140 degree zone!

Unfortunately most older coffee makers don’t get quite as hot as they did when they were new out of the box because of mineral buildup on the heating element or due to the longevity of the heating element and internal parts.

Some high end coffee makers certified by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) are far more likely top get water up the the 200 degree mark reliably however.

This SCAA certified coffee maker is fairly affordable and very reliable at getting steady temperatures just shy of boiling.

Let’s look into the way a coffee maker heats water up in a little more depth, stick with me for a few.

Are There Benefits to Coffee Maker Maximum Temperatures?

boiling-waterSo there are quite a few good things to having this feature. Some things you would expect and some you might not.

  • Saves electricity: boiling water in a coffee machine uses less energy than boiling it on a stovetop would.
  • Boiling water this way can save a lot of time as the coffee machine will generally heat up faster than the stovetop.
  • You can “technically” sterilize objects in the pot, and since the pot stops at a certain temperature, you need not fear it overheating and scorching the item if it falls to the bottom of the pot.

There are many uses to doing this, and boiling water can save you a lot of time and money, in the long run. I think it is well worth it to use a coffee maker this way.

You can use a stovetop coffee maker to boil water. It will often be a more efficient method than using a regular coffee maker, but it will usually consume more energy and can be dangerous. Make sure the coffee grind chamber is cleaned out, in case the pot boils over. If the pot boils over, it fills all the chambers and the pressure pushes the water out through the coffee grinds area. This can leave a bad taste in the water.

I really recommend that if you are going to sterilize anything, I would recommend using stovetop maker or some other method, as the caffeine could cause issues with sterilizing items like pacifiers or things of the like.

But that said, using it this way does have a few potential drawbacks.

The Downsides

Boil Water in a Coffee MakerNow, of course, everything as a downside. It can be somewhat minor or extreme, depending on the situation.

  • As I said, you can sterilize items in this, but be wary. If you are sterilizing something like a pacifier or something for a baby, you will want to make sure that the machine has had all of the caffeine rinsed out of it. Caffeine is not a healthy thing for an infant and could cause you an unnecessary nightmare.

As I said earlier, it would be better to use a stovetop maker if you are going to sterilize something in it. If you don’t have one you can just use a pot. I would recommend this because a pot typically won’t have the residual caffeine in it like a coffee maker.

If you are going to use a regular coffee pot for this, I would recommend using a descaler like the De’longhi EcoDeCalk, to clean it out and ensure there’s no leftover caffeine in the machine, so you don’t have to deal with a nightmare later on.

Coffee And Water Temperature

Generally, the ideal temperature is about 190-195 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is roughly 12 degrees below boiling point. Most coffee makers aim for this temperature area and tend to stay in it. For most applications, heating water at this temperature will suit what you need, just fine. You may need something slightly hotter, and for that, I would recommend using a stovetop coffee maker.

So, given that it only takes a minute or two for boiling water to cool to coffee machine temperatures, unless you need to maintain a boil or you need the water to be actually bubbling, then the water from your coffee machine is likely to fit most purposes. It’ll make a cup of tea fine or dissolve almost anything that boiling water will.

When You’ll Need Boiling Water

There are some jobs most coffee machines wouldn’t do well. If you’re trying to sterilize anything, that task definitely requires boiling water. However, most things wouldn’t be a good idea to put into a coffee maker to sterilize. The residual caffeine in the machine can “contaminate” whatever you’re trying to sterilize if you don’t clean it out properly. If you’re using the water to make a sauce or soup that needs to thicken, then boiling that and doing so for longer would give you best results too.

While using a coffee maker to boil stuff definitely has its own time and place, sterilization and soup may not be the best usage.

StoveTop Coffee Makers


There are a multitude of upsides and downsides to boiling water on stovetop coffee makers. Stovetop coffee makers can indeed boil water, as anything you put on a stovetop can. They are a great method for boiling water, as the closed chamber heats up much quicker inside. This allows the coffee maker to provide a quick source for boiling water.

The downside to boiling it this way is you REALLY have to be careful. The coffee chamber is directly above the water chamber. Since the water boils up so quickly, it can quickly boil over into the coffee grounds chamber and out over the top. The pressure that builds up in the coffee maker forces the water out to prevent the coffee maker from bursting. So while it can be a good method, if not watched, it can quickly go awry.

If you intend to boil water on a stovetop and don’t want to risk it. I wouldn’t recommend using this and, instead, I would use a regular pot or something similar to avoid mishaps.

So are Coffee Makers a Good Method to Boil Water?

Overall, a coffee maker can produce water that will suit most needs you have for hot water. However, it is not the most efficient way to achieve what you’re trying to do. So, unless you are doing something along the lines of making tea or instant coffee, there are many other methods and other equipment you could use to achieve a better, and more efficient, result.

As I said earlier, cleaning out your coffee maker before doing anything else is rather important. While it’s certainly possible to use a coffee maker to boil things and make hot water, it is far from the most efficient method to do so and is often not worth it.

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Gamble Bay Coffee

James Lambert

Owner and proprietor of the Gamble Bay Coffee Company. Its my mission to teach you how to make amazing coffee at home... no barista needed other than yourself.