What is the Best Water for Coffee?
Have you ever wondered what is the best water for coffee? Good water is an important factor in coffee, but it is something that is often overlooked. Unpleasant flavours in the water can ruin an otherwise great cup of joe. Water with high levels of chlorine, sulfur, or mineral content make for bad tasting coffee. At the same time, a certain amount of mineral content is a necessary part of the brewing process (except with espresso). Thus overly purified water isn’t good either.
So what is the best water for coffee?
A simple rule of thumb is that if it makes good drinking water, then it makes good water for coffee. For most people making coffee at home, tap water will work just fine. However, a lot of tap water is treated with chlorine and other chemicals. Therefore, it is advisable to use a simple carbon filter to remove some of these flavours. Carbon filters (such as a Brita filter) are inexpensive and easy to use.
If your water is particularly bad, it is advisable to use a more advanced filtration system (such as reverse osmosis) or to use bottled water. Avoid distilled water or water that has been “softened” (minerals removed), as it’s mineral content is usually too low. The ideal mineral content is 150-200 ppm.
One exception is espresso, for which minerals aren’t as important. They don’t necessarily hurt the flavour (unless they are exceptionally high), but they can hurt your machine. Mineral build-up inside an espresso machine can do a lot of damage, thus it is important to descale your machine regularly. If you have hard water, consider using a water softener for your espresso machine.