Water is the base of your coffee. Without good water, it’s hard to brew a great cup of coffee. Around 95-98% of the liquid in the cup of coffee is water.
Why the Water Quality Matters
Good, clean water is important because chemicals and minerals, either added or natural, affect the extraction process, which affect the taste and flavor of the coffee. While we want clean and fresh water, we don’t want all of the minerals gone. Some mineral content is actually good for coffee brewing.
The SCA (Specialty Coffee Association) recommends the following:
- Total water hardness of between 50-175
- PH level of between 6.5 and 7.5
- Sodium level of around 10mg
- Chlorine level at 0
Let’s look at Tap Water
City tap water may not be the best choice. Here’s one point to consider…do you drink your tap water? If the answer is no, then why would you use it for your coffee, or cooking, or anything else in the kitchen besides cleaning.
The problem with tap water is that its hard to tell the mineral content and hardness of the water without doing a lot of research or your own testing.
Is Filtered Water a Good Choice?
If you’re using a filter on your tap, that may be a different story, but you will want to check the specs of the filtration system you’re using to make sure you are getting adequate water hardness and mineral content for coffee brewing.
I used to use water filters all the time, but no longer do. I am sure things like Brita filters would be great, but like I said, check the specs first.
What about Spring Water?
This is the option I use. I use a gallon of spring water daily between drinking and brewing coffee 2-3 times a day.
The spring water I have found matches pretty closely to the SCA guidelines is Zephyrhills. In fact, I have attached a link to the PDF document from there website that gives all specs of their spring water.
Do Not Use These
Two options you should never use for coffee brewing is distilled water and sparkling water. Distilled water has almost all minerals removed, which is bad for coffee brewing. Sparkling water (carbonated water) should be a no brainer why it’s not a good idea, because sparkling water has carbon dioxide gas added to the water to make little bubbles. Neither one of these options are good for coffee brewing.