Does water affect coffee taste? Absolutely! After all, coffee is 98% water. Water is a crucial element in the process of brewing coffee, as it is responsible for extracting the flavors and aromas from coffee beans. The type and quality of water used can significantly impact the flavor of the final cup of coffee.
Mineral Content of Water for Coffee
A crucial factor that can affect the flavor of coffee is the mineral content. Water with high levels of minerals such as calcium and magnesium can enhance the flavor of coffee. Water with low mineral content may result in a flat or dull-tasting cup. However, a balance is needed to achieve the best tasting cup of coffee. Different varieties, origins, and roast profiles are affected differently by varying levels of mineral contents. A simple google search of “Your City” and “Water Hardness” will let you know about the water profile of your tap water. For example, the water at our coffee roaster in St. Louis Park is four times the average water hardness, so we use filters to soften the water to ideal coffee brewing profiles.
pH of Water for Coffee
The pH level of the water can also affect the flavor of coffee. Water with a high pH level (alkaline) can cause the coffee to taste bitter, while water with a low pH level (acidic) can bring out the natural sweetness in the coffee. Again, the balance of pH levels will affect coffee varieties and roast profiles differently.
The temperature of the water is also an important factor in coffee brewing. A good general rule is the higher the water temperature, the higher the extraction. If the temperature is too high, too much extraction from the coffee beans can occur, resulting in a bitter taste. Water that is too cold will not create enough extraction. The optimal brewing temperature for coffee is between 190-205°F. Preheating your brewer will reduce temperature decreases while brewing coffee.
In addition to these factors, the quality of the water itself affects the flavor of coffee. Water that is contaminated or has an off-putting taste or smell can ruin the flavor of the coffee. Using filtered or bottled water helps to ensure that the water used in coffee brewing is clean and pure.
One of our favorite methods to ensure the best water for brewing coffee is making your own at home using Third Wave Water coffee minerals. The creators of Third Wave Water developed the ideal mix of minerals to add to distilled water for optimal water profiles for light roasts, dark roasts, and espresso. Simply add one packet of the Third Wave Water coffee minerals to one gallon of distilled water to get the best water for brewing coffee at home. We love the light roast Third Wave Water with the Folly Coffee House Bean. The water profile brings out the natural sweetness and fruit-forwardness of the coffee. Hear an interview with the founder of Third Wave Water, Taylor Minor, on the Folly Coffee Podcast on Episode 38!
Hopefully by this point we’ve answered the question “Does water affect coffee taste?”. In summary, the water used in the coffee brewing process can have a significant impact on the flavor of the final cup of coffee. By using water with the right mineral content, pH level, temperature, and quality, you can brew the best tasting cup of coffee at home.
Once your coffee water is on point, check out our favorite recipe for the French Press!