Although I don’t know your particular case, I’m going to play it with the following statement: when you make coffee at home, you don’t give it the importance it deserves to water. At most, you worry about filtering tap water or choosing to buy bottled mineral water, which is a great conquest. Still, you may not analyze the water with a hardness test, or contact the local water company to make sure that the chemical composition of your home’s running water is optimal.
Water can alter the personality of our coffees. Substances such as calcium, magnesium and bicarbonate can accentuate its acidity, or otherwise neutralize it. Water can increase or decrease the body of coffee and affects both the way of roasting it and, what concerns us most, its infusion at home.
If you take into account that 98% of the filter coffee is water (between 90% and 95% in the case of espresso coffee), when you prepare coffee at home, the flavour will depend greatly on the water you use. Pay attention to the following tips to correctly use the water in each of your preparations.
Difference between hard and soft water
Technically, other factors contribute to the hardness of the water in addition to the minerals that compose it. Still, the following classification table is very illustrative to understand what we mean when we talk about hard water and soft water.
Better water to make coffee
- No bad flavours or smells.
- Conductivity of 200 to 800 micro Siemens.
- Total dissolved solubles or TDS of +/- 150 ppm.
- pH or ideal acidity equal to 7.
- Ideal sodium equal to 10 mg / L.
- Total hardness (volume of salts) between 8º and 15º dGH (German grades).
- Temporary hardness (carbonate volume) between 4º and 6º KH (German grades).
Knowing the quality of the water, you consume at home is much easier than it seems. You can do it with a water hardness test (you can buy it on Amazon here ), which consists of introducing a test strip in a glass of tap water, see what colour appears in it, and compare it with the colour code of the test to know what kind of water you have at home.
As we have already said, tap water is usually of poor quality, especially if you live in a city. It can taste like chlorine, have a lot of lime (which also spoils your coffee maker) or be too alkaline.