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Water Quality Matters in Your Cup of Gourmet Coffee

Aly Curtis

It sounds obvious when you say it out loud, but most people don’t know that the quality of the water used for brewing affects their coffee’s taste.

Image: ShutterStock.com

Image: ShutterStock.com

According to The Telegraph, researchers have concluded that, “The perfect cup of fresh roasted coffee should be made with water high in magnesium and low in bicarbonate.” When they examined the water’s effects closely, high magnesium ion levels improved the process of extracting the gourmet coffee flavor from the bean while high bicarbonate levels slowed the process down.

That same study showed that water with high sodium levels, like water treated with water softeners or most bottled water, also prevented the more complex flavors from the coffee bean from being extracted.

Chemist Christopher Hendon, who is currently writing a book on brewing the perfect cup of fresh roasted coffee, says that while there is no “perfect composition” for the water, “magnesium-rich water is better at extracting coffee compounds and the resultant flavour depends on the balance between both the ions in the water and the quantity of bicarbonate present.” If you’re not sure about the minerals in your tap water, you can look it up here.

Ok, so there’s a lot of science to it, but what does it mean for those of us just wanting to brew the best possible cup of coffee in our homes?

  1. The water you use should be fresh. This means that leaving water out too long or heating it up only to let it cool down again will affect your brew’s taste.
  2. Don’t use distilled or mineral water. The lack of minerals in distilled water will give your coffee a flat taste, and the minerals in mineral water will affect taste as well.
  3. Invest in a water filter like Clearyl or Aqua Prima so that you can filter your tap water appropriately.

Get the most out of Utopian’s Fresh Roasted Coffee by brewing with the best quality water you can find and using the proper brewing ratios. After all, coffee is almost 99% water, so it’s important to consider what you’re putting into it.