Better Water for Better Coffee July 22 2013

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At first look this may sound too obvious, but let’s face a hard truth. Most people make their coffee with faucet water, in many cases unfiltered tap water. The question is how much does that affect my morning cup of joe?

Coffee is more or less 98% water. Just as a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, coffee is only as good as its weakest ingredient. When you want a drink of water do you drink tap water? Through a filter or filter pitcher? Do you drink bottled water? Whatever your personal taste, if you would not drink the water by itself why would you use it in your coffee?

Tip #1: The water must taste good on its own.

Best Choice
If you have a water filtration system in place that is your best bet. Not only will you use this for coffee but for other beverages, cooking, etc. These systems filter out any unwanted odors or tastes, such as chlorine. Invest in yourself and you will thank me later. If you are not ready to take the plunge and buy a filtration system, start out with a filtered water pitcher. After using either of these for a short time tap water never tastes the same again.

Good Choice
Bottled water also makes for great coffee but is a little more expensive in the long run. Be sure you choose drinking water or spring water(see below). If you have a favorite brand then try using it for your next cup. Freely experiment with different brands and try to pick out the subtleties.

Tip #2: Don’t use mineral water or distilled water.

Water draws out the tasty goodness of the coffee and has to interact properly for a good tasting result. Mineral water is by definition hard water. With too much mineral content the water will not draw out enough of the solubles in your coffee. Distilled water is mineral free and thus has the opposite problem. Coffee will taste very bitter with distilled water as it dissolves every soluble compound.

Tip #3: Keep the oxygen in your water.

If you are using a manual brewer such as a Chemex, french press, or pour over remember these tips.

Water that sits too long will taste flat because it will be missing the dissolved air that makes it taste so good. Water that boils too long leads to a poor cup also. Remove the water from the heat just as it starts to boil. The proper water temperature also plays a role in your coffee taste. If it is too cool it will not extract enough flavor. Let it cool for a moment before pouring over the coffee and you will be in the recommended 195-205 degree Fahrenheit range. If you don’t have a thermometer just use this time to preheat your brewer and cup with some of the extra water.

Tip #4: Rinse and repeat.

Keep your coffee maker as clean as possible and remove old grinds from the coffee maker or brewer as soon as you finish. This will prevent bitterness from old grounds marring the next cup. Coffee is a part of most American’s daily routine. Enjoy it! Make it an event. Keep your coffee from being routine and treat yourself to a cup of goodness, elixir of joy, wine of the bean or whatever your favorite name is for a good cup of coffee.

Please leave your thoughts and comments below.

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