There is much debate about whether coffee tastes better when the water used to make it is filtered. Coffee machines with water filters are now available so manufacturers clearly believe that there is some benefit to it.
There’s no doubt, a delicious cup of coffee makes a great way to start your day. An amazing cup of coffee can be a celebration to the senses, especially if brewed using high quality, roasted, single origin coffee beans. Ask any coffee enthusiast if the type of water in their coffee causes them concern, and the majority of them will agree – Yes, of course it matters to them.
As coffee is mostly made up of water, around 98%, obviously the water you use to brew your coffee is going to have a serious impact on the final coffee taste.
Coffee provided in Coffee Shops
Many large café chains like Starbucks use a filtration system that remove contaminants and chlorine, but that can also interfere with the smell and taste of your cup of coffee. Coffee shops tend to deep clean and descale their equipment each evening, so they do not experience the build-up of lime scale.
There are usually three types of water available in the average home: bottled water, tap and filtered. Bottled water tends to be an expensive option when using it to make hot drinks, especially as they appear to be the same constituency of tap water in terms of taste and health benefits, so we shall rule that out of the equation. Coffee machines with water filters integrated into the system will eliminate sodium, organic solids and bacteria.
Tap water may have additives such as fluoride, and in some cases, contamination from old pipes. Too many minerals can cause your water to appear hard, adding a slightly metallic flavour to your coffee. On the other hand, distilled water isn’t acceptable either, as its flavour can appear quite bland.
Filtered Tap Water
The general consensus is that filtered tap water is the best for coffee making. There are several types of water filtrations systems that you can use, your choice will obviously be dependent on cost. Generally, it’s good practice to use a carbon filter system which retains minerals but removes impurities.
Work-top filter jugs use a small replaceable cartridge as a filter. They are quite inexpensive, and remove contaminants from your water, with the advantage of preventing quite so much build-up of scale on your brewing equipment. A more expensive 3-stage carbon/membrane/sediment filter will prove to be a longer term investment for filtered water production.
Not only does the type of water affect the taste of the coffee, it can considerably affect the brewing equipment itself. Using filtered water is particularly important when using Espresso machines for coffee making, as the hard water quickly calcifies inside the machine.
The main challenge appears to be to discover a water filtration solution that also finds the perfect balance between capturing the desired aroma and taste of a cup of coffee, and protecting the investment in the brewing equipment. On balance we think coffee machines with water filters, or filtered tap water win by a mile.
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