First. Why are we even talking about the water?
Well, water is 98% of your cup of coffee, so how the water “tastes” will have a big impact upon your coffee flavor too.
If your coffee turns out to be flat, hollow, bitter or vinegary, it is easy to assume there is something wrong with the coffee beans or the brewing process. This might be true, but a more likely culprit is your water.
The water that “tastes” good to you, may not be the best water for your coffee either. So, the water you use for coffee will be different to the water you use for other purposes.
Can I Use My Tap Water to Brew Coffee?
Yes, of course you can. But I would not advise it. And here’s why:
These are just a few of the chemicals that are commonly added to tap water:
- Liquified chlorine
- Fluorosilicic acid
- Aluminium sulphate
- Calcium hydroxide
- Sodium silicofluoride
Treated Water is not the Best Water for Coffee
The water company uses a large number of powerful chemicals to “Treat” our water and make it safe for us to use. But in many places, even after treatment it is still not really “safe” to drink.
These are also often found in your tap water:
Contaminants in Tap Water
- Fluorine compounds
- Trihalomethanes (THMs)
- Salts of:
And There’s More…
How Do Water Pipes Affect Tap Water Quality?
If you live in a large city, most of the pipes that your water is flowing through may be decades or even over a hundred years old!
- Old pipes leak chemicals and contaminants into the water supply which affect the “taste” and content of the water.
- When repairs to pipes are carried out, this leaks new contaminants into the supply
- Plastic pipes are not entirely safe and have been found to affect the “Taste” of water. (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070823141100.htm)
So basically, you cannot control or even know accurately what is in your water each time you use the tap.
Water Hardness and Coffee Flavor
The SCA (Specialty Coffee Association) standards for minerals are as follows:
- Total hardness of 50-175 ppm CaCO3 (2,9-9,8 dH°)
- Carbonate hardness of 40-75 ppm CaCO3 (2,2-4,2 dH°)
- pH of 6-8
These are important because the hardness of the water and the level of carbonates in the water has a large impact on the taste of the coffee.
How Do Water Hardness and Carbonates Affect Coffee Taste?
Ideally, we want to balance the hardness of the water and the level of carbonates to obtain optimum water quality. If the levels are not balanced, this is how it will affect your coffee.
Water Composition Coffee Flavor
- High Hardness, Low Carbonates – Flavor will be dull, sour and heavy
- High Hardness , High Carbonates – Heavy, Flat, Chalky
- Low Hardness Low Carbonates – Vinegary, Sour, Sharp, Weak
- Low Hardness High Carbonates – Empty, Flat, Chalky, Lacking Body & Complexity
So How Do I Get the Best Water For Coffee?
You need to take control of the water you are using. You can do this in several ways:
- Install a large RO filter system in your house – Expensive and these will remove most of the chemicals and contaminants, but they still don’t produce the best water for coffee.
- Use a Jug Type Water Filter (Brita) – Again, these remove most of the contaminants, but still do not give you the perfect balance of minerals for brewing coffee.
- Use Natural mineral Water – These all taste different and have different combinations of minerals which may not be ideal for brewing coffee.
- Use a specialist Filter system and mineral additives formulated for coffee – Best Solution – The filter system is zero installation and portable too. Once you have filtered the water, the included mineral packs will create the perfect water environment for your coffee.
I hope this article has been useful for you and will help you to find the right way to make the best possible coffee. If you would like some more information about coffee making, water composition, or even just about our Coffee Water systems, please contact us