Making the Most: Water
Getting into "specialty" coffee can be daunting at first. Many people appreciate the taste of high quality coffee but aren't necessarily ready to take the plunge to uproot their routine or dish out the money for new equipment. We believe coffee is for everyone, and we understand that life doesn't wait for good coffee even if you really want it to. We've created the Making the Most series to help you make the most of the way you already brew coffee. If you find yourself somewhere between diving head-first into coffee culture and wanting to just get a decent cup of coffee that tastes better than you used to make it, we hope this series helps you.
These are some tips that we've found helpful for making the most of your brewing equipment and--most importantly--enjoying your coffee more.
Water is extremely important in coffee-brewing (it is the majority of the beverage, after all). While brewing, the hot water extracts tastes from the grounds to turn plain water into delicious coffee. This happens through chemical bonding, where the particles in the coffee bond to the particles in the water. Differences in water can disrupt this process and undermine the deliciousness of the coffee. There are two common problems people make with water choices, and both are easily avoidable.
Tap water has a lot of particles in it compared to most other kinds of water. That means there's too much stuff for the coffee to bond with and it comes out tasting kind of funny. To avoid this, you can either purchase filtered water or a water filter (like Brita) to use for coffee brewing. Both are great options and yield wonderful results. Just remember to keep up with changing your Brita filter if you go with that option.
DISTILLED & R-O
Sometimes people assume that distilled is the best option for brewing since it seems super pure, but distilled can also cause problems for taste. Distilled water or reverse-osmosis (R-O) filters both get rid of almost all particles in the water so that it is purely H20. This doesn't leave behind anything for the coffee to bond with during extraction, leaving your coffee bland and unimpressive. If your whole house is hooked up to an R-O system we would suggest purchasing purified drinking water to use for your brewing.
OTHER TIPS & TRICKS
- CLEAN YOUR KETTLE: The inside of a water kettle can get pretty gnarly after awhile. It's important to periodically wash it with soap and water, and take a cloth to really get off any residue building up. This residue--if unchecked--will start impacting the taste of your coffee.
- COFFEE KETTLE ONLY: All that residue that builds up in the kettle is because of those particles in the water. When you have an abundance of them it builds up pretty fast, impacting the flavor and composition of the water. Since tap water is so full of those particles we recommend never using tap water in the kettle you use for coffee. If you have no choice, just make sure to wash it really well every time.