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How does water affect your coffee?

With water making up at least 98% of what’s in your morning filter coffee, let’s take a look at one of the most important ingredients in your cup. 

Depending on where you are located, regular tap water can drastically alter the flavour of your brew. For example, tea blends for hard water have been around for years and are very popular. The general rule of thumb is the harder the water (richer in minerals such as calcium and magnesium) the more ‘extraction’ of flavour you get.  

Areas with notably softer water will most probably enjoy a slightly lighter tasting coffee whilst those in hard water areas may find their coffee stronger and punchier. This is mainly because the flavour compounds in coffee (and tea) cling to the minerals in the water. 

This is where things become more interesting and bit a of a balancing act. If the water is too soft, the resulting cup can lack clarity and taste quite bland – if the water is too hard the flavour can become muddied and over-intense. Many of your favourite coffee shops will use a water filter or enricher on their espresso machine to make sure that the water is just right for the perfect coffee.  

A simple filter jug will do the job at home, with the added bonus of reducing limescale in your kettle and tarnishing the inside of your cup. These filters are inexpensive and easy to get hold of, meaning they are a really easy way of upgrading your coffee at home.

Coffee shop owner, Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood, has spearheaded research into the science behind what makes the perfect water for coffee in the book ‘Water for Coffee’. Those interested can also look into his kickstarter project ‘Peak Water’ for specially formulated coffee water for home use.  

Wherever you are located in the world, the water you use will have an impact on the flavour of your coffee. As a private label coffee roaster, we are always working with our customers and their consumers to define and master the perfect blend for them and we should factor the water type into that equation.

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