Coffee Water Matters
People seem to be talking about water for brewing coffee more and more these days. So we thought to ourselves, why? It turns out water has a huge impact on the outcome of brewed coffee. After all, coffee is still over 97% water after you are finished brewing it! We reached out to our friends at Perfect Coffee Water learn more about why.
Put simply, water impacts brewing and has since the advent of the first brew. The importance of water and its interaction with the brewing process was initially understood by beer and wine connoisseurs centuries ago. In more recent years, the science of water has been widely researched in all brewing industries, including the coffee industry. This is great news! We now have more tools than ever to understand how and why we can taste coffee better when we brew with a great foundational water.
It can get convoluted real fast without a thorough understanding of chemistry. There is a reason why students often take the minimum requirements for chemistry in school - it's not always fun. But what we can do WITH chemistry is! So we will do our best to stick to the fun part.
Water is rarely only H20 molecules by itself. Depending on the geographical region, water will have a wide variety of minerals, organic organisms, and a multitude of other naturally occurring chemicals present. Your local municipality water treatment will generally deal with organic organisms and most unsavory naturally occurring chemicals. Further filtration at home can help remove some of the mineral content, other naturally occurring chemicals, and the chemicals added by our local municipalities that are there to deal with the organic organisms.
For brewing coffee, the part that we’re interested in is the mineral content in the water. Everything else we want out of the water! There are a few ways to investigate what's going on in the water so we can understand how it will interact with the coffee that is being brewed. The main components interacting with the extraction process are calcium and magnesium, but with only these two things, the balance in the water is off. There needs to be something to balance the pH and ions, which is where sodium or potassium come in as bicarbonates to balance out the water, making it safe to drink or use.
Okay now we’re getting somewhere, but let us back up a little. The mineral content in the water varies vastly from region to region depending on how the water is obtained and where it traveled from to get into your home. This means that depending on where you are, even from one city to the next, your coffee can taste vastly different.
The good news is a solution to this issue is relatively simple. Using modern filters, you can buy water that has had everything removed or filter water in your home leaving almost only H20 molecules without all the other stuff floating around in there. Then, you can re-introduce naturally occurring minerals that have been obtained from other sources, such as the salt lakes in Utah. This way, you get to control which minerals are in the water before the coffee is brewed. How cool is that?
With our friends at Perfect Coffee Water, you can leave all the sciency stuff to them to get the best water for your coffee brewing, without having to learn all the in-and-outs of water chemistry yourself (unless that’s your thing!).
Cheers to great coffee!
About Courtland King:
Courtland has over 10 years’ experience in the coffee industry with his focus on what is known as specialty coffee. He is currently a manager and barista trainer. He also has experience roasting, and as a coffee consultant for cafes & restaurants. Through his love for the brew, he has delved into understanding water chemistry with the help of many chemists and coffee professionals.