Whether you are brand new to the coffee world or a coffee fanatic with all things coffee, there is one thing most don’t consider when it comes to brewing. The water. It’s easy to assume that water is just that…water.
But since water makes up about 98% of a cup of coffee, is it really just water? The type of water you use to make your coffee is guaranteed to affect your coffee from flavor right down to the aroma that fills your nostrils when it’s finished brewing.
With so many different options like filtered or distilled, tap or bottled, spring or mineral, it can be a pain in the rear trying to figure out which is the best kind of water for making coffee. So, we’ve figured it out for you!
Filtered water is the best water to make flavorful and aromatic coffee with. However, spring water and bottled water are also good options. These types of water contain fewer impurities that can taste bitter, metallic, or watery, allowing the coffee flavor to reach its maximum potential.
- Mineral content heavily affects the flavor and aroma of coffee.
- Filtered water is the best option to use in your coffee.
- Impurities can either improve or decrease the quality of your coffee.
Continue reading to learn more about the water that affects your coffee.
Water is the Backbone of Your Coffee
While we may not know why most of us can agree that different kinds of water taste differently. It’s a common argument that filtered water has no taste compared to tap water, for example.
So, it’s only logical that the different kinds of water can affect the taste of the coffee you’re making with it.
The mineral content, the water’s pH level, and the cleanliness of the water you are brewing with will drastically change the way your coffee tastes. The table below will help explain how each of these factors can affect your coffee.
PROPERTIES OF WATER
|Mineral Content||Using water with a more balanced mineral concentration can bring out the natural aromas and flavors of the coffee.|
|pH Level||It’s recommended to use water with a neutral pH level (around 7) to extract the best flavor ingredients from the coffee grounds.|
|Cleanliness||Water that is free from contaminants and toxins is ideal to ensure a sharper, cleaner taste.|
This next table contains a list of the types of water you could use for your coffee. It will help explain which kind of water is ideal for a better brew. Later, we will discuss each kind of water individually.
Water Factors/Flavor Effects
|Water Type||pH Level||Acidity/Alkalinity||Description|
|Filtered Water||7||Neutral||Gives a consistent coffee flavor without affecting the natural qualities of the coffee.Free of pollutants and chlorine that can negatively affect the flavor of the coffee.|
|Distilled Water||7||Neutral||Free of contaminants that could negatively affect the flavor profile of the coffee. May lack the ability to enhance the coffee’s flavor.|
|Mineral Water||6.0-8.0||Variable||May contain slightly higher alkalinity, which can ultimately make the coffee taste better.Inconsistent, varying mineral content can make or break the coffee’s flavor.|
|Spring Water||6.5-8.5||Variable||Sometimes it has slightly higher alkalinity that can improve the taste of the coffee.Mineral content that varies may impact the flavor.|
|Tap Water||7.5-8.5||Slightly Alkaline||Contains slightly higher alkalinity or hardness, which can improve the flavor.May contain contaminants and chemicals to worsen the flavor.|
|Bottled Water||6.5-8.5||Variable||Slightly higher alkalinity can drastically improve coffee flavor.Inconsistent mineral content can negatively impact the flavor.There are noticeable differences between brands of bottled water that could cause the coffee to taste flat.|
|Softened Water||7.0-8.0||Slightly Alkaline to Slightly Acidic||The sodium added during the softening process will sometimes make the water alkaline.During the ion exchange, the water can become slightly acidic.|
But What Water Should You Use for Your Coffee?
With so many options of water to choose from, the decision can be difficult. All of these factors make very little sense, and how exactly do they affect your coffee? Let’s take a look!
The best water to use for your coffee is by far filtered. Filtered water basically tap water that has chlorine and other impurities like bacteria and pesticides filtered out of it. Not only does this make the water healthier to drink, but it improves the taste of the water overall.
- Should contain fewer contaminants that can negatively impact your coffee’s flavor and aroma.
- Preserves the natural flavors of just about any coffee bean.
- Protects your coffee machine from sediment and minerals over time.
- Can be extremely expensive depending on the sort of filtration system you choose.
Bottled water is just that—water that has been bottled. But to be classified as bottled water, it must be from a trusted source approved by the FDA. The factors depend on the brand and source of the water, like spring water, icebergs, tap water, etc.
- Allows you to completely control the flavor of your coffee by trying different brands and water sources.
- Provides a consistent flavor with each use.
- Readily available for use.
- Does not fill your coffee maker with debris and sediments.
- Can contain more unwanted minerals depending on the brand or water source.
- Prices are steadily rising and can be expensive.
This type of water is from a spring as well but contains great amounts of natural minerals like salts and sulfur. It can be both still with no bubbles or extremely carbonated. Each mineral water source tastes different, so preference will depend on the person and how it affects their coffee to their liking.
- Some of the minerals (like salts) can enhance the flavors and aromas of coffee.
- You have the ability to choose which brand you enjoy the most, allowing you to fully control your coffee.
- The prices of mineral water, like bottled, are slowly increasing, which can make using it expensive.
- Certain brands can contain an excess of minerals that can negatively impact the flavor profile of your coffee.
- Over time, mineral water can cause a buildup that can damage your coffee machine.
Spring water is simply water that is pulled from an underwater aquifer. It is one of the purest forms of water in the world. It goes through a natural filtration process—as it rises to the surface, the surrounding rocks (usually limestone) filter out any impurities along the way. However, it still gets put through a stringent filtration process before it gets bottled.
- The natural mineral content can enhance both the flavors and aromas of the coffee beans.
- It can help maintain the temperature of the coffee both during and after the brewing process.
- The acidity level keeps the coffee beans as fresh as possible.
- The quality of the spring water heavily depends on the source.
- Some spring water may not be suitable for certain coffee beans.
- May affect the brewing process due to the ranging mineral content.
This is probably one of the cheapest options available. Tap water is the water that comes directly from any faucet, like the kitchen faucet. It has not been filtered or purified and contains many minerals and other things like chlorine.
- Tap water is the most convenient option.
- Some coffee beans are better suited to be brewed with tap water.
- Contains a great many impurities that can make coffee taste nasty.
- Coffee flavors can depend on the hardness or softness of the tap water, making it difficult to choose this option.
Next on the list is distilled water, which is boiling water that has turned to steam and then back into a liquid form. This process gets rid of all the minerals, sediment, and other impurities that you’ll find in, for example, tap water. Unfortunately, the process strips the calcium and other important components along with the things you want to be stripped out.
- Does not contain impurities or minerals that can negatively impact the taste of your coffee.
- Creates a clean taste.
- Does not cause a buildup in the coffee machine due to unwanted sediments which increases the life of your coffee machine.
- The lack of essential minerals can change the taste of the coffee leaving it dull and flat.
- Because of the way some machines work, the lack of minerals can also negatively impact your coffee machine over time.
The process of softening water is when materials have been extracted from the water to reduce the “hardness”. Some of these extracted components are salts, calcium, and magnesium. Most homes have some form of water-softening unit.
- There is less of a chance of buildup in your coffee machine.
- It can dissolve any buildup you may already have.
- Can possibly lead to a bland, flat-tasting coffee brew.
- May contain too much salt that can cause problems with flavor and the coffee machine.
The Skinny On What Kind Of Water Is Best For Coffee
There are a number of water options to choose from to make your coffee: bottled, mineral, spring, tap, distilled, and softened. Each one has its own factors that affect the way your coffee turns out, like the lack of or abundance of minerals, salts, etc.
However, it’s clear that filtered water is the best choice, with spring water being a close runner-up, depending on your personal preference. Your taste buds will thank you for treating them to the best cup of coffee you can make.
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