The Truth About Water Quality and Coffee

Have you ever had an absolutely stellar coffee at one of your favourite cafes or local roasters, bought a bag of their coffee beans only to be let down by the flavour when indulging in a cup at home? Did it lose some of the nuanced aromatics or develop some harshness or acidity? Well chances are it was due to the quality of the water you’re using!

 

The importance of water

There’s no denying that water is an important factor in not only our bodies, but our coffee brew as well. Making up 91 percent of an espresso, water quality should never be ignored. Water quality can impact the taste, scent, colour and crema of a coffee—and unfortunately for us in South Australia, minimal annual rainfall results in poor quality tap water.

 

‘Hardness’

When analysing water quality we can consult a ‘total hardness scale’, which measures—you guessed it— the hardness of water. Water hardness is based on the amount of dissolved minerals contained within it such as calcium and magnesium which in low quantities is wonderful but too much of either can play havoc on our coffee machines! Basically, the softer your water is, the better and purer your coffee brew will be allowing the natural flavours room to really shine on your palate. Compared to international water standards Australian tap water is relatively soft, however it does fluctuate seasonally and can be affected by global water conditions.

 

How does your water measure up?

In Adelaide you can check the average hardness level of the tap water in your suburb by visiting the SA Water website here. Or for a more specific test, you can fill a bottle up with your tap or even filtered water and take it in to be tested at a water quality centre. Water with a hardness level of over 200mg/L is considered hard and may have a negative effect on the overall flavour of your coffee and cause build-up of mineral deposits in your coffee machine.

 

What now?

To soften the water you’re using in your espresso machine take advantage of a filter system such as Brita or a reverse osmosis system to boost the flavour and longevity of your machine.

Remember to filter your water for a true café experience at home or contact us for more information about the importance of water quality for your café!

About The Author

Luke is a barista trainer at HG Coffee School and is passionate about training new students in the art of coffee!

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