These Tips on Using the Best Water for Coffee Can be a Game Changer + Make a Huge Brewing Difference in Your Day to Day Coffee!
Have you been wondering how to make the best-tasting coffee at home with the right kind of water? The type of water you use to brew coffee can be a huge aspect of flavor, consistency, acidity, and more! So how can you make the perfect pot of coffee and is your sink water okay for brewing java? In this complete coffee and tap water guide, we will cover everything you need to know!
Picking the Right Water for Coffee: Here are the Facts
Using good water to brew your coffee can make an enormous difference in flavor, extraction, consistency, mouthfeel, and the overall quality of your daily caffeine routine. In fact, for some types of coffee, the right water is an essential ingredient. This can include cold brew coffee, iced coffee, or any blended drink. Moreover, using good water in your coffee pot can extend the life of your coffee maker or help your espresso machine function better, for longer!
Using good water for coffee can…
- Change its flavor
- Improve coffee ground extraction
- Lower acidity
- Make your coffee healthier
- Help with mineral content
- Extend the life of many espresso and coffee makers
As an ex-barista who has logged hundreds of hours inside a coffee kiosk, I'm somewhat of a coffee snob. Honestly, I can't even drink regular Folgers coffee without pulling faces these days.
While I try to keep my coffee snobbery to a dull roar, I genuinely enjoy a fantastic pot of perfectly brewed coffee. So, when I get an unpleasant aftertaste in a cup of coffee at a café or coffee shop, one of the first things that I wonder about is the quality of the water used in brewing. '
The Right Water in Coffee Matters.
An aspect of brewing coffee that people often overlook is the type of water used in a coffee maker or espresso machine. If you are making cold brew coffee or iced coffee at home, the water/ice you use can be critical for getting the right consistency, mouth feel, taste, and so much more. Many coffee shop owners are well aware of this. So, why not use the correct water for making coffee at home?
Over the years, I have refined my at-home coffee brewing techniques and found some great ways to make the perfect coffee with the right water in my kitchen. Here’s what I’ve learned!
- Tap water can give sometimes give your coffee a chlorinated taste
- Mineral buildup can damage your espresso machine or coffee maker
- Great water in coffee doesn’t have to cost a lot of money
- You can use alkaline / ionized water to brew pH-balanced coffee
- Not all water is equal and some brewing solutions work better than others
- The taste of coffee changes dramatically based on the water used for brewing and extraction
The Ultimate High-End Solution: Ionized Water for Coffee
So what's one way to get really good coffee with the right kind of water? Use an ionizer machine. I know this because my parents have a Kangen Water Ionizer appliance. I personally cannot afford one of these machines, but this eight-plate anti-oxidizer water ionizing apparatus makes for some DARN GOOD coffee.
How does it work? Water ionizer machines can be purchased from all kinds of retailers and are attached to the faucet of your sink. These home appliances raise the pH of drinking water by using electrolysis to separate the incoming acidic and alkaline components from a stream of water. They also tend to filter sink/tap water more thoroughly for drinking, cooking, etc.
What is good about alkaline ionized water for coffee?
Ionized water contains alkaline minerals and is also less acidic than regular drinking water, with a higher Ph. Many people believe that ionized water has considerable benefits like improving your immune system, digestive system, and physical appearance. Some even believe it can help to reverse aging!
While I don't know about all that, what I do know is ionized water works wonderfully for brewing coffee in a drip grind coffee maker on your kitchen countertop. Here's what happens when you use ionized water in coffee…
About Using Alkaline or Ionized Water for Coffee Brewing
Extraction is Faster and Stronger - When you use alkaline or ionized water for coffee, the coffee grounds are extracted very thoroughly. So, be prepared for a strong pot! If you are using ionized water from a water ionizer machine like the Kangen Water device, you might want to use fewer scoops of grounds at first.
For some scientific reason that I admittedly do not fully understand, ionized water can extract flavors from dry ingredients really thoroughly at room temperature. Ergo, you can literally drop a tea bag into a glass of room-temperature ionized water and brew tea without ever heating it up. Keep that in mind if you will be using ionized water to brew coffee! Fill your coffee filter about ½ less than usual with grounds, then, brew a “test pot” to see how strong the effects are.
The Taste is Smoother - I have to say, I feel that my coffee is noticeably smoother when brewed using alkaline water. As far as flavor goes, the difference in ionized water coffee is absolutely noticeable. Personally, I also experience less digestive upset and more satisfying aftertastes. However, everyone has a different palette so I can't speak to whether you will notice a big flavor difference or not. Also, the type of coffee used determines flavor more than anything. For the smoothest possible cup of coffee, I prefer pure Arabica blends such as this one.
Ionizers Can Cost a Lot of Money - For obvious reasons, not everyone can afford a premium high-end water ionizer for their sink. These water-ionizing machines can cost thousands of dollars. While there are some affordable alkaline water options, there are also plenty of ways to get great water for your coffee without spending that much. So what other alternatives are there for excellent water in coffee? That's what we are going to cover next!
Other Great Water for Coffee Solutions
If you want great-tasting coffee made using quality water, there are plenty of other great alternatives out there. You definitely don't have to buy an alkaline water system or ionizer to get the best water in your coffee. However, there are plenty of reasons to avoid making coffee using the tap water out of your sink.
Why should people avoid using tap water in coffee?
Some people avoid tap water because it contains fluoride. Other people do not like the mineral content of their sink water. One really important aspect to consider is the chlorine used in local water sources. As a matter of fact, most local water sources use chlorine (up to 4 mg per liter based on guidance from the CDC).
Chlorine is usually used in city water supplies to help remove bacteria. However, even a little bit of chlorine in your tap water can dramatically impact the flavor of your coffee. This is especially true if you use ice cubes made with this chlorinated tap water to craft an iced latte or other cold coffee drinks. The flavor will just be “off”. The same goes if you are making cold brew coffee in a glass pitcher in your refrigerator. So what can be done?
Try Spring Water
One option is to use purified spring water to brew coffee. Spring water is easy to get at the grocery store. Many people like to fill up a reusable water jug to save money. Spring water is one of the better options for making coffee because it naturally contains essential minerals that help your body but will not harm your coffee maker. This also can give coffee and ice cubes a great taste.
Consider Using Water Filtration Systems to Reduce Mineral Build-Up
You can also use water filters in your refrigerator or attached to your sink to keep all of that limescale from accumulating in your coffee machines. Water filtration systems can be very effective. However, they do not always remove the chlorinated flavor from tap water. Let's talk about how you can take care of that pool water taste.
Removing the Chlorine Taste From Tap Water
Sometimes getting bottled water or spring water to brew coffee is not a viable option. If this is the case, you can remove the chlorinated taste from water before brewing coffee by letting it “air out”.
To do this, simply fill up a pitcher with water and cover it with a cloth so nothing falls into it. Let it sit out overnight and get to room temperature. Then, use it in your coffee maker’s reservoir. Or, just fill out your coffee maker’s reservoir tank the night before. After about 10 hours sitting out, you can brew coffee in the morning as usual and the chlorine taste should be gone. You can also use this "aired-out" water to make ice cubes. There will usually not be a detectable chlorinated taste anymore!
Tap Water vs Bottled for Coffee and Drinking
On the whole, most people consider both tap water and bottled water good ways to stay hydrated. However, if you live in an area where the water contains a lot of minerals and leaves a residue, you might want to use bottled water or refillable jugs of spring water to brew with. That way, you can avoid getting mineral buildup in your coffee machine or espresso maker. If you already have a lot of mineral buildup, you can check out this guide for descaling coffee machine parts.
Best Water for Brewing Coffee: The Bottom Line
Ultimately, how you make your coffee is up to you, so use whatever water you like! But, if you want to have smoother coffee and make your coffee machine last longer, using better water is a great idea.
Moreover, if you are making iced coffee drinks, make sure that your ice cubes do not have a strange “fridge” or chlorine flavor. These flavor notes are very easy to detect in iced coffee or cold brew beverages and can ruin your drink. It is also important to use good, fresh, high-quality coffee.
Arabica coffee is your best bet for silky, pure, brilliant, and bold coffee flavors. With pure freshly roasted Arabica coffee beans, you’ll reduce the dryness of your coffee’s mouthfeel and enjoy more flavor notes!