The importance of water to brewing a great cup of coffee cannot be overstated. According to some calculations, your morning cup of coffee is nearly 99% water. Only just over 1% is plant matter from the beans.
Water, boiled water in particular, leaches out flavors and oils from the beans to give you a great tasting cup of coffee. So, water is more than just a base, but a catalyst for flavor and aroma.
The quality of your water is critical to the resultant taste of your favorite bean. When brewing coffee try to only use water that taste good enough to drink on its own. So what is a home brewer to do?
Filtered or bottle
Filtered or bottled water will generally yield a better cup. We recommend filtered water either using a carafe or tap filter. Filters are overall more cost effective and better for the environment as there are no plastic bottles to dispose of. If you must use bottled water, don’t confuse distilled water with filtered water. Distilled water lacks many minerals that aid in extraction of oils and flavor from the beans.
Fresh, cold water
It is important to start with cold water and fresh from the tap. According to the Specialty Coffee Association of America, fresh cold water contains between 50 to 100 parts per millions of dissolved minerals. Hot water from the tap will have lost some of its dissolved air, and may have picked up minerals or solubles from your pipes. Water that has been sitting too long or has been heated then cooled will lose the dissolved air that is important to the water’s taste.
Make sure to boil your water to between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Resist the temptation to bring your water to a rapid boil. Rapidly boiled water will lose much of its dissolved air and will taste flat. This lead to a “sour” and under extracted brew. Also, be sure to not let your water cool down during the brewing process as this will lead to similar off notes. You can avoid this by pre-warming your brewing equipment and/or insulating it.
Following these simple measure with your favorite beans should yield an enjoyable cup.
Want to learn even more about importance of water? Watch Maxwell speak on water quality.