Best Coffee Thermometers — Buyer’s Guide, Reviews, and ComparisonsIf you’re just having an ordinary cup of java, it may not be necessary to know the exact temperature of your beverage. However, for some specialty coffee drinks, you don’t want to overheat the milk you’ll be adding. These coffee thermometers will have you brewing drinks like a pro.
- Battery-powered for up to 4000 hours
- Accurate temperature display is easy to read
- Magnetic back means you’ll never lose it
Coffee Thermometers Comparison Table
|Check Price At Amazon Javelin Thermometer Review
|Check Price At Amazon Norpro Thermometer Review
|Check Price At Amazon CDN ProAccurate Review
|Check Price At Amazon Rattleware Thermometer Review
|Check Price At Amazon Crema Pro Review
Best Coffee Thermometers Buying Guide
Using a coffee thermometer may not have occurred to you if you just drink java or espresso with nothing added to it. However, if you enjoy creating specialty coffee drinks like cappuccinos, love your latte art or you add milk to your coffee, you might be surprised at how valuable these coffee thermometers can be.
To get the most out of adding milk to coffee, whether it’s to create foam topping or form layers in a cappuccino, it needs to be at an optimum temperature. However, that temperature varies, depending on how you’re using milk.
A thermometer ensures you hit that perfect temperature for your beverage. Too hot, and your coffee will taste off. Too cold, and your java will be disappointingly lukewarm. Some points you should bear in mind when deciding on a coffee thermometer include:
Digital or analog?
Speed of reading temperature
Why Do You Need a Thermometer?
Do you need a barista thermometer to make coffee drinks? No, but it does give you an advantage. For java, particularly those containing milk, temperature matters. Milk that’s too hot can scald, making it taste burnt. Lukewarm milk will make your coffee cool down, which if you’re expecting a hot beverage, puts a dampener on things.
If you’re intending to froth or foam milk, that’s another reason why temperature matters.
- For stretching or texturing milk, it should be kept below 140°F or 60°C.
- The ideal temperature range for milk that’s just being poured into your coffee is 140°F-160°F (60°C-70°C).
- If you like extra hot coffee, milk can be heated to 160°F-180°F (70°C-80°C). However, do not heat beyond 180°F, or 80°C, as the taste will change.
- Because the temperature continues to rise for a short time, even after turning off the heat source, stop heating your milk when your barista coffee thermometer reads 5 degrees lower than your desired temperature.
How to Choose the Best Coffee Thermometers
Coffee thermometers arrive in two formats — digital and analog. As you might expect, there are pros and cons to each kind.
- Easy to read, often backlit
- More functions than analog thermometers
- Battery-operated — cells may die unexpectedly
- May be difficult, if not impossible, to calibrate
- Mechanical, no batteries needed
- Easier to calibrate
- Dial face may be crowded with numbers and hard to read
- Limited additional features
Speed of Reading Temperature
Response time of temperature readings is an important consideration. As mentioned, milk will carry on heating up for a few minutes even after the removal of your heat source. Hence, to avoid overdoing it, it’s essential to know exactly what the temperature is in real-time.
For example, let’s say you want to reach 135°F, but your coffee milk thermometer is slow in detecting the actual temperature. You might miss that cutoff point and ruin your milk for texturing.
Generally, analog coffee thermometers are built with a stainless steel probe, body, and housing, with a plastic or glass dial. And while a digital thermometer also features a stainless steel probe, the rest of its body is commonly made from plastic.
Stainless steel thermometers are among the most hard-wearing. Plastic also offers a degree of durability, yet you need to exercise caution around heat. Melting your thermometer isn’t a smart idea!
A coffee temperature gauge is useless if you can’t rely on the readings it provides. Hence, it needs to be accurate. As previously mentioned, for certain drinks, the right heat is essential to produce a delicious beverage.
Some models display their accuracy on their packaging. For others, you may have to dig a little to find out how true the readings are. And, thermometers may require calibration or adjustment to ensure their exactitude. However, most models should include instructions.
Top 5 Best Coffee Thermometers
How do you pick the best coffee thermometers, especially when they’re not always labeled as coffee thermometers? Some are labeled as candy or meat thermometers, but they all serve the same purpose. We’ve done our research on the best models, so you don’t have to.
~ Best Coffee Thermometer Overall
Our Rating: 4.7/5
- Displays the temperature within 4 seconds
- Accurate to ±0.9 degrees
- Available in a variety of colors
The Lavatools PT12 Javelin thermometer is small, easy to use, and precise. This model has an accuracy of ±0.9 degrees and the largest range of temperatures on our list, going all the way up to 482°F (250°C) — making it suitable for other uses in the kitchen.
It’s splash-resistant, plus has an antimicrobial coating that repels bacteria. And, it arrives with a food-grade stainless steel probe, while its body is crafted from BPA-free polycarbonate.
With a battery life of 4,000 hours, you won’t have to worry about this thermometer giving up mid-milk-frothing. When not in use, its probe can be folded back into the body — safeguarding your java-making tool. And, the Javelin thermometer also comes in a variety of fun colors.
This thermometer conforms to various standards CE, NSF, and RoHS, so it’s reliable and safe. It also has an automatic shutoff feature, so no risk of a wasted battery. However, its hinge can stiffen, which makes pulling the probe out more difficult. It also has a significantly shorter probe than other models on our list.
- Displays temperature within 4 seconds
- Has a magnetic back — store on your fridge
- No calibration required
- Hinge can stick, making it hard to open
- Probe could be longer
~ Longest Probe / Stem
Our Rating: 4.5/5
- Stainless steel probe
- Plastic sleeve for storage
- Celsius and Fahrenheit readings
The inexpensive Norpro 5981 Espresso Thermometer is analog, so you’ll have no worries about batteries dying. It’s made out of stainless steel and comes with a plastic sleeve for storage — protecting the device from damage. It also includes a clip that can be attached to any vessel — securing it in place, and making viewing the dial simple.
Temperatures from 60°F~220°F (15°C~104°C) can be measured with this model. It’s lightweight, weighing in at less than an ounce, but with a probe of 6 inches, it’s one of the longest on this list.
Its face indicates both Celsius and Fahrenheit temperature readings and handwashing is recommended. This model may not be quite as durable as some, plus the dial may steam up when exposed to heat. It also seems to need recalibration more often than some other models.
- Dial displays both Celsius and Fahrenheit
- Includes a clip for attaching to jugs, pitchers, etc
- Does not require batteries
- Needs frequent recalibration
- Dial may fog up with the heat
~ Best Value Coffee Thermometer
Our Rating: 4.6/5
- BioCote microbial coating to protect against bacteria
- Waterproof and shatterproof
- Includes calibration tool
The CDN IRB-220F ProAccurate Thermometer is a budget-friendly analog option, which could be ideal for fledgling home baristas. With a temperature range of 0°F~220°F (-18°C~104°C), this CDN ProAccurate oven thermometer is sufficient for all your coffee needs.
The thermometer is stainless steel, with a polycarbonate lens over its dial and a 5-inch probe. Its plastic sheath has been coated with BioCote, an antimicrobial layer that protects against bacteria, keeping you healthy. And, while it carries a low price point, this CDN thermometer has one of the longest guarantees we’ve seen, with a 5-year limited warranty. Both Celsius and Fahrenheit temperatures are also displayed on the dial.
This frothing thermometer is both shatterproof and waterproof — reinforcing durability and ease of cleanup, plus it includes an attachment clip for hands-free gauging. However, this clip can loosen over time. What’s more, a calibration tool is included with the CDN beverage and frothing thermometer, but the instructions could be more explanatory.
- Sheath has an antimicrobial coating
- Calibration tool included
- 5-year limited warranty
- Calibration instructions lack detail
- Pocket clip may work loose
~ Easiest Steam Thermometer to Read
Our Rating: 4.4/5
- Temperature readings in Fahrenheit and Celsius
- Includes clip for easy attachment
- Face diameter of 1.75 inches
The Rattleware Original Easy Steam Milk Frothing Thermometer is an analog thermometer with a 5-inch stainless steel probe. It boasts a temperature range of 0°F~220°F (-18°C~104°C), which should be more than adequate for most coffee beverages.
With a face diameter of 1.75 inches, this has one of the largest dials of the models on this list — meaning you can effortlessly view the current temperature, in both Celsius and Fahrenheit. It’s also NSF-approved, and an attachment clip is provided to keep the dial in place. One note, this model provides instructions for recalibration, yet the tool isn’t included.
While its larger dial makes viewing the temperature hassle-free, it lags a little when displaying the actual temperature, so you may wish to compensate for this. However, many will tell you that this type of delay is a trait of analog coffee thermometers.
- Dial includes Fahrenheit and Celsius temperatures
- Easy-to-read dial
- Includes an attachment clip
- Doesn’t include a calibration tool
- Clip position could be better
~ Best Analog Milk Thermometer
Our Rating: 4.4/5
- Attachment clip includes calibration tool
- Sturdy stainless steel design
- Dial is easy to read
The CREMA PRO Coffee Thermometer is sturdy and well-designed, although it’s slightly more expensive than other analogs. It doesn’t have quite the range of other models either, going up to 212°F (100°C).
Its dial is easy on the eyes, with temperature displaying in both Celsius and Fahrenheit. What’s more, it features a shaded green area, highlighting the range for optimum milk temp — handy for making your morning cup of joe, when you’re bleary-eyed.
An attachment clip, along with a calibration tool, is provided and the stainless steel probe measures 5.4 inches — offering you plenty of length for milk pitchers. However, this thermometer is one of the more weighty analog models. Plus, be mindful when cleaning, moisture could become trapped in the dial’s face.
- Sturdy stainless steel design
- Calibration tool included with attachment clip
- No batteries required
- Clip positioning may impede the frother wand
- Moisture can get trapped in the dial face
While you can certainly brew coffee without the assistance of a thermometer, it’s super helpful when you want to take your barista skills to the next level. Whether you’re texturizing, adding foam, or just a splash of milk into your java — milk temperature matters.
Coffee thermometers come in digital or analog forms. Analog models are pretty basic, although most measure temperature just as well as fancier digital thermometers. Virtually all employ stainless steel probes as a safety measure with food.
Remember, a thermometer’s response time and accuracy are essential ingredients for a perfect cup of joe. Any one of these coffee thermometers will ensure that your beverage tastes great!
Best Coffee Thermometers FAQs
What Type of Thermometer Do You Use for Coffee?
Some thermometers may be labeled as coffee thermometers, but they’re not coffee-specific. You may also find thermometers labeled as espresso thermometers or frothing thermometers.
Do I Need a Thermometer for Milk Frothing?
Yes. There’s a specific temperature range for which milk will froth or foam properly. This is typically a lower temperature than you would use if you’re just adding hot milk into your java.
Can You Use a Digital Thermometer for Milk?
You certainly can! Thermometers are available in both analog and digital versions. Digital thermometers typically incorporate a few additional features, like automatic shutoff or an audible tone when the temperature is read.
What Is a Frothing Thermometer?
A frothing thermometer is one used for measuring the temperature of milk. To froth milk properly, keep its temperature under 140°F, or 60°C.
How Do You Calibrate a Coffee Thermometer?
You’ll need a calibration tool and ice water. We know the freezing point is 32°F (0°C). After a few minutes, your thermometer should display that temperature. If it’s higher or lower, use the calibration tool to adjust your thermometer.
How Does a Milk Thermometer Work?
Using a milk thermometer is pretty simple. You insert the probe into your liquid, then wait for the temperature display to settle. Digital thermometers often display the temperature in a few seconds, but analog thermometers can take longer.