Most of us know coffee is made up primarily of water. You know the smell: hot water combining with coffee grounds to create that delicious, delectable aroma so many of us have come to know and love. This is the morning routine of so many people across the world. Despite different professions, backgrounds, and beliefs, one thing is clear: people love coffee.
Many of us have an opinion on the best coffee beans or grounds. You might even have a strong opinion on the best way to brew! But water is an aspect of coffee that is rarely spoken about and often forgotten. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the world of exotic beans and flavors and forget this fundamental component of this drink we all love.
Three-Quarters of Americans Consume Coffee
According to Full Coffee Roast, 2 billion cups of coffee are consumed every single day. YouGov America says that 53% of those coffee consumers drink at least one cup, or more, daily.
Seeing that water is a huge part of the equation, doesn’t it make sense that you would want the highest quality water available?
What is the Best Water for Coffee?
When we brew a cup of coffee that doesn’t meet our standards, we are quick to throw away the coffee grounds. Yet, Coffee is made up of 98% percent water: making water not only the primary ingredient, but the most important one to create a flawless cup of coffee.
Water taste varies between regions. Commonly, you will find tap and filtered water in residential homes. You most likely are asking yourself: Why would my water taste different when turned into coffee? Let’s dig into the science behind water and coffee below. Be prepared for a dive back into your high school chemistry class!
Let’s talk tap first.
Tap water contains more impurities than filtered water. Depending on the mix of impurities, they can leave your coffee with an acidic taste or check your tongue for a metallic aftertaste. Despite being boiled, the mineral content and PH balance of tap water is dramatically different than filtered or bottled water and the end result demonstrates this clearly.
Second, filtered water features less imperfections, leading to less concerns about water quality. However, some concerns still apply to filtered water. Let’s discuss the common water quality concerns below and how to find the perfect water for your brew.,
Water Quality Counts
To produce the best coffee, water should be fresh and clean. When you take a look at the water, you should feel comfortable drinking it. If you have some stale water in your kettle, throw it away and collect clean water for the best coffee brew.
The next time your coffee doesn’t taste quite right, examine what type of water you used. You may be surprised at the extent to which quality has an impact.
How Hard is Your Water?
Hardness in water measures how much calcium and magnesium are present. These minerals can greatly impact the taste of your water but there are differing opinions and preferences on how hard or soft your water should be.
In general, water where very little to none of these minerals are present can be flat and lifeless.
Having water that is too hard can force the coffee to alter or even decrease flavor.
All of us like our coffee differently. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of answer. Based on your personal preferences, do a comparison test between hard and soft water to decide which suits your taste buds best!
Reverse Osmosis: Is it necessary?
When you are talking about pure water, reverse osmosis is a buzzword. This filtration system removes every type of impurity. As you might suspect based on what you read above, removing everything diminishes and damages the taste of your coffee.
It’s best to stick with other options if you can.
Buying Bottled Water
If you are looking for the perfect cup of coffee, some bottled water might be the perfect ingredient. Like most things, every bottle of water is created a little differently in terms of minerals and PH levels.
Next time you are in the store, take a walk down the aisle and look for anything labeled “Spring Water”. This will point you in the right direction. From there, experiment with different brands and varieties of water to see which taste feels right to you.
The next time you take a look at your coffee, remember that delicious cup is 98% water. Regardless of what water choices you make, water is a crucial part of continued success as a coffee connoisseur.