A lot of people like to think of themselves as coffee experts. Knowing how to spit out your complicated Starbucks order without taking a breath doesn’t count, though. True coffee experts are those who perfect their coffee-making skills at home to uncover the secrets to the best cup of coffee.
So, what’s the secret? Brand? Strength? Bean sourcing? It is actually water. If you want to perfect a great-tasting cup of coffee, you need the right water. Let’s look into this a bit deeper.
Hard VS Soft Water
The first step in determining if you have the right water for the best coffee is the TDS. That stands for the total dissolved compounds found in the water. The TDS rating determines if water is considered hard or soft. The compounds most frequently found in water are magnesium, calcium and bicarbonate. You might not realize it, but these compounds actually have a very strong flavor in their own right. This flavor can definitely influence the taste of your coffee when you make the coffee with water that has a high TDS rating.
The TDS rating of tap water is harder to gauge. Many factors, even the weather, can alter it. If your area has experienced extremely high rainfall, for instance, it can change the TDS of the groundwater, which will eventually affect the tap water.
To have consistently good quality water, you need reliable water sources. This means using bottled or filtered water for your coffee. Let’s look at the three different types of water to choose from.
Filtered water has been cleaned of impurities but will retain most naturally occurring minerals. Even using a filter at home will help you create a more consistent taste in your coffee by removing impurities.
Purified water and filtered water should not be confused with one another. Purified water has had all impurities removed and most of the minerals removed as well. Using purified water will allow you to create coffee that has a very pure coffee flavor without the contribution of any mineral taste.
Distilled water is not often considered great for coffee, but it is definitely better than using tap water.
Some Water Details
If you do not like the taste of the water you are using, you will likely not like the taste of the coffee it produces. Your water should taste good. It should be free from odors or coloring. It should also have a neutral PH and a TDS of 150mg/L.
Should You Ever Use Tap Water?
You can use tap water if you like how the coffee tastes, but otherwise, you should only use tap water if it has gone through the proper filtering process to remove impurities and high levels of minerals.
Home and Office Filtering Systems
You can use a home filtering system to get your tap water up to par. These are a great, inexpensive way to improve your home water quality. If you are using office coffee machines, it is a good idea to also use a filtering system for the coffee water.