The role of water in making coffee is crucial
It is common not to notice the fact that water represents about 90% by volume in an espresso and 98% in a filter coffee. That is why paying some attention to it is very important. We are going to try to review certain aspects without going too deep. There are many very detailed studies in this regard such as the “SCA Water Quality Handbook“, but it will not be necessary to go so deep in our day to day life. We are going to see that with certain details and a little attention we can have a great positive impact on the result of our coffee.
It is common sense to think that with such a contribution to the preparation of coffee, if the water used does not taste good, most likely the coffee will not either. Therefore, a very important aspect will be the taste of the water. If the water we use does not taste or smell good, we must find a remedy. There are some methods to help us in this such as Brita-type activated carbon filters or reverse osmosis. These are the most common and give good results.
The second of the most relevant aspects is the hardness of the water. This concept is usually simplified and is said to be the amount of calcium carbonate or limescale, as it is commonly known. Limescale affects the behavior of hot water in contact with coffee, varying its dissolution. Even though a certain level of hardness is necessary in the water, a medium-high or high level of hardness is considered bad, as it causes the resulting coffee to appear lacking in sweetness and without nuances.
Besides affecting the taste of coffee, who has never had a limescale problem? Water with high hardness affects coffee machines, it build up quickly and make them work ineffectively. If like us, you live in Barcelona or any other city with this type of water, we recommend that you try to prepare your coffee with filtered or bottled water, you will surely notice the difference. We encourage you to check the different results with bottled water and tap water, you will be surprised!
Next is the mineral content
Low mineral content or amount of dry residue (TDS) is preferable. Although we would like to be able to recommend tap water to make your coffee, in some regions, given its harshness, we tend to prefer to use bottled water for the best flavor.
It is increasingly common to see these TDS values in bottled water, with a target value of TDS = 150mg / l, although the acceptable range is from 75 to 250mg / l. We list some of the main brands to give you an idea:
Barcelona tap water: TDS = 200-600mg / l
Solán de Cabras: TDS = 262mg / l
Font Vella: TDS = 216mg / l
Lanjarón: TDS = 180mg / l
Viladrau: TDS = 175mg / l
Font D’Or: TDS = 154mg / l
Aquarel: TDS = 147mg / l
Bezoya: TDS = 26mg / l
-If you live in a region with soft or low-lime water, you can simply filter the tap water to improve its taste
-If you live in a region with hard water, bottled water is usually the best option. That does not mean that some filters can achieve great results, in fact it is the most common method in specialty coffee shops.
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