Making a superb cup of coffee begins with the quality of the water you are using. Coffee is made up of 98% water, so naturally the taste of your water is going to affect the taste of your coffee. It is rarely a good option for coffee lovers to use normal tap water when brewing their own coffee, unless your area happens to be blessed with exceptional water.
Tap water is generally too full of chemicals, such as the chlorine that the Water Utilities need to put in to make it safe to drink. It can also have too many trace amounts of toxic minerals that are picked up from the old pipes that transport the water to our homes. These all contribute to bad tasting water, which do nothing to help improve the taste of our morning coffee.
The taste of anything is of course a personal perspective, but it is generally accepted that the water we use for our instant coffee tastes best when it has the chlorine and toxic minerals removed (or at least largely reduced), but still contains some of the good minerals. You don’t want too many minerals in your water, as is the case with areas that have “hard water”. Both hard and soft water are not ideal for coffee making.
So how to achieve the best water for our coffee?
Some people may say bottled water is an option, but I am not going to advocate it, simply because it is a waste of bottles that hurt the environment unnecessarily. At the end of the day, coffee is a lovely luxury but not an absolute necessity that warrants damaging the environment (though I can already hear the outcry of many hailing our coffee as necessity 🙂 . Also there is a lot of bottled water that is not much better than tap water, especially for coffee brewing.
Reverse osmosis, and distilled water are also not the answer. These type of filtration methods remove everything out of the water, including the good minerals. You can be sure to have removed all the pollutants this way, but the water will taste bland, and same goes for our coffee. Too much filtration is definitely bad for the taste of coffee.
You want to use a type of water filter that will filter out the chlorine from your tap water, reduce the pollutants you get from old pipes and any other toxic minerals that may be present, but that leaves some of the good minerals behind. This is the type of water that has a clear and fresh taste, and does a wonderful job at improving the taste of our coffee. Most water filters that are able to do this use a carbon block filter. These type of filters trap the chlorine and pollutants within its carbon block but allow trace amounts of the good minerals to get through. Depending on how bad your water is, it is wise to look at a filter that doesn’t just use one of these types of filters, but that uses two or possibly even three if your water is really awful.
I wouldn’t recommend something as simple as a Brita picture filter. I have nothing against this type of filter, we have had one in our home at times, but that type of simple filtration will only minimally change the taste. It is better than nothing, but for the best tasting water (not to mention the health benefits) look at something that filters the water a little better. A good under sink water filter is one of the better options, but even a decent counter top module that hooks up to the faucet can work alright too. You’ll see a marked difference in the taste of coffee with a good filter and this goes for tea as well. When you produce water that has an exceptionally fresh and clean taste to it, you are going to get an excellent tasting cup of coffee and will have a hard time going back to using normal tap water.
Learning to make a good cup of water is a first step before brewing a fine cup of coffee. The long term benefits are well worth exploring, and enjoying.