The Secret Ingredient to Perfect Coffee: Why Water Quality Matters

When you brew a cup of coffee, nearly 98% of the final product is water. The quality of water that you use during the brewing process can make a big difference in what your cup of coffee tastes like. Depending on where you live, the water you have access to can be comprised of many different organic compounds and minerals, the primary of which include magnesium, calcium, and carbonates.

Every type of organic compound and mineral has a different impact on the taste of your coffee as well as how the coffee extracts. Even if you’re using premium coffee, your cup of coffee may have a bad flavor if the quality of your water is poor. The following offers a more comprehensive look at why water quality is important when you’re trying to make perfect coffee.

The Impact of Water Quality on Coffee Taste

Water quality can greatly affect the taste of your coffee. If you use tap water that consists of chlorine, minerals, and other types of impurities, your coffee might not have the right flavor. Even relatively low concentrations of these contaminants can negatively affect the taste. By using filtered water, you’ll be able to remove these impurities before you perform the brewing process, which should result in a better-tasting cup of coffee.

Coffee is made with just beans and water, which means that the coffee you brew is usually comprised of around 1.25% dissolved solids and 98.75% water. The minerals and chemicals that are present in your tap water depend on the water source as well as the location. If you brew the same kind of coffee with different forms of water, you’ll get unique flavors with every brew. Keep in mind, however, that not every mineral will negatively affect the taste of your coffee.

How Water Quality Affects Coffee Brewing

Water quality can also affect the brewing process itself. If you use hard water, mineral buildup may take place in your coffee maker, which can adversely affect the machine’s lifespan as well as the quality of the coffee it produces. On the other hand, soft water can lead to over-extraction, which is known to make the coffee taste bitter.

When you use hard water in your coffee maker, it may contain high concentrations of magnesium and calcium. These minerals are able to latch onto specific compounds present in the coffee grounds, which leads to more caffeinated or stronger brews.

Keep in mind that hard water also has high levels of bicarbonate. When bicarbonate is found in water, it will emphasize the bitter aspects of coffee. If your water is at the upper range of the pH scale, you’ll have a more bitter brew. In the event that you can’t soften the water in your home, you’ll need to descale your coffee maker every two to three weeks.

The reason that soft water can be harmful to the quality of your coffee is because it’s rich in sodium. Most water softeners contain high amounts of sodium that are needed to remove hardness impurities. If you brew coffee with soft water, you may notice that it tastes muted or more bitter than usual. Even though soft water usually tastes better on its own, hard water is preferable when you’re making a pot of coffee.

water quality for coffee brewing

The Benefits of Using Filtered Water for Coffee Brewing

There are many benefits of using filtered water when brewing coffee, the primary of which is that you’ll be able to avoid the issues that occur when using either soft water or hard water. When you use filtered water, you should benefit from a more consistent and predictable brewing process. You should also be able to prolong the life of your coffee maker by keeping mineral buildup at bay. When you use filtered water, you’ll improve the taste of your coffee, which should make for a more enjoyable coffee-drinking experience.

Coffee that’s brewed from filtered water has a better taste because it’s no longer affected by the chlorine that can be present in tap water. Filtered water comes with a more neutral pH, which makes it easier to extract the full flavor profile of your preferred coffee.

When you make coffee with hard or soft water, every cup will have a different taste as a result of the impurities causing inconsistencies in flavor. If you want your coffee to remain consistent, you should use filtered water.

Along with being able to extend the lifespan of your coffee maker, you’ll also be able to save considerable sums of money in the long run. You’ll no longer need to descale your coffee maker on a regular basis. The descaling process that gets rid of mineral buildup can be expensive.

Filtered water should also protect your coffee maker from corrosion. The filter you purchase should remove the types of impurities that cause corrosion. Water that has a high acidity or low pH can be corrosive to the types of parts that are found in a coffee maker.

Other Factors to Consider for Optimal Coffee Brewing

Along with water quality, there are several additional factors that can affect the taste of coffee, which include the brewing method, the grind size, and the quality and freshness of the beans. However, water quality is a crucial factor that you shouldn’t overlook when you’re in the pursuit of a perfect cup of coffee.

When you’re attempting to maintain the quality of your water, you should understand how the temperature of your water can impact the mineral content level. When brewing coffee, the water temperature should be kept at a range of 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit if you want to obtain the best flavors. If you brew at a temperature that’s lower or higher than the preferred range, there’s a possibility that you’ll lose flavor and decrease extraction.

Throughout the brewing process, water extracts numerous volatile aroma and flavor compounds that directly contribute to the flavor of your coffee. When the water temperature is higher than you’d like, you may find it more challenging to control the extraction process. In this scenario, volatile compounds are released at a faster rate than they’re supposed to be. A significant percentage of the compounds are sour-tasting or bitter, which means that having too many of these compounds extracted can lead to your coffee having a taste that’s too strong.

There are also more compounds when you roast a darker coffee. Lighter roasts are less soluble than darker roasts, which means that obtaining a lower temperature during the brewing process can reduce the possibility of over-extraction. While filtration systems can help you brew the perfect cup of coffee, using a temperature-controlled kettle should also make it easier for you to maintain a stable and consistent brewing temperature.

perfect coffee factors

If you wish to use filtered water when making coffee, there are three methods you can use to obtain filtered water in your home. The easiest and most affordable solution involves purchasing a water pitcher or similar in-home water filtration system. These pitchers are designed to get rid of calcium, magnesium, and other minerals that can affect your coffee’s flavor.

You could also attach a water filter to your water faucet for a more convenient solution. However, these filters are usually less effective when compared to water pitchers. Some modern refrigerators are outfitted with filtered water dispensers, which should be enough to brew a great-tasting cup of coffee.

You can also get filtered water into your home by purchasing bottled water from a nearby grocery store. The type of bottled water that’s best for coffee-brewing applications is spring water. Make sure that you avoid water that’s been filtered with reverse osmosis. This filtration technique gets rid of all dissolved solids in a liquid, which means that nothing remains to interact with flavor compounds. When using reverse osmosis water to brew coffee, you’ll notice that the taste is dull and muted. The same is true when you use distilled water.


Water quality plays a crucial role in the quality and taste of the coffee that you brew. In the event that your tap water consists of high levels of chlorine and other types of minerals, the taste of your coffee can be negatively affected. Soft water should also be avoided if you want to keep your coffee from tasting too dull. When using filtered water, you’ll likely notice that your coffee has a better and more well-rounded flavor.

If you want to be certain that you’re using properly filtered water, the total dissolved solid (TDS) concentration should be around 150ppm. Whether brewing coffee at home or in a cafe, it’s important to consider the quality and source of water when making coffee. Experimenting with different water sources and filtration methods can help you find the perfect cup of coffee for your taste buds.

Source link: by Dominic O’Donnell at