If there’s one sure-fire thing you can do to ruin your at-home cup of coffee, it makes it with tap water that isn’t nice to drink.
Because if the water has any sort of chlorine taste or just big city taste, then the coffee it makes isn’t going to taste good.
And yes you can use a water filter jug to get rid of some of the strange tastes that are in the water but then you run into the problem of finding a balance if you live in a hard water area.
So what can you do…
Use bottled water! Or more specifically you can use spring water.
Spring water is good for coffee so long as it has the right mineral content, some spring water is too full of minerals which affect the way your coffee tastes so you might need to try a few brands until you find the one you like.
Evian spring water is generally a good place to start.
Spring Water Vs Mineral Water for Coffee
Spring water is water that comes directly from a source of water, usually underground, to the bottle. It doesn’t get any chemical treatment, it’s not recycled and is always tested to be safe. It will have varying levels of minerals in it depending on the surrounding ground the water comes from.
Mineral water on the other hand has minerals added to it to a specific taste and specifications of the company who make it. The base water supply doesn’t particularly matter and the mineral amounts are normally much higher than with spring water.
So which is better for coffee? Generally spring water, because mineral water is often “too strong” to really get the proper extraction you need for a great cup of coffee. But it’s often about the type of coffee you use and the area you’re in.
There are so many different factors that go into brewing a cup of coffee, some make very little difference but the water you use for your coffee is an important one.
So try a few yourself and see what you think, keep all the other conditions the same, how much coffee, how much water, and the method, and then try the coffee and find out which one you like best.
What About Plain Water?
What if you want to use bog-standard bottled drinking water? Well if you have particularly foul-tasting water, or you’re scared about lead in the water, then plain drinking water is definitely a good choice for your coffee.
It will keep any taste out, it will keep any nastiness out, and it’s relatively cheap. You can get big 1 gallon bottles and go nuts. Will it be perfect? Probably not, will it be good enough? Definitely.
What Can You Do About Hard Water?
Finally, you might be wondering what to do about hard water if you’re not convinced and don’t like the waste of using bottled water. Well, to start you can get a filter jug and a coffee machine that is ideally suited for hard water.
Then you’re just going to have to be diligent about cleaning and descaling the coffee machine regularly. Otherwise, it’s going to build up and you’re going to end up with a clogged up machine that doesn’t work properly and needs to be replaced after only about a year of use.
Making Your Own Water
If you’re serious about geeking out with your coffee then this is going to be for you…
You can set up a reverse osmosis machine that takes everything out of the water, and I mean everything, no minerals left, no nothing. These cost about $200 and that’s step 1. Step 2 is remineralizing the water which you can do by adding the powdered minerals yourself or getting a remineraliser.
Yes, this is a very over the top method, but people do it. Some people love being able to customize their water to be the same as the roasters so they pick up all the same tasting notes and make as close as a cup as possible to the dream cup.
I can’t say it’s for me, too much hassle, but I thought I should include it.
I think spring water can be a great choice for coffee if you’re trying to deal with foul-tasting or hard water. But you’ll need to trial and error to find the right one. And whatever you do don’t be suckered into buying high-end water, it’s just not worth and won’t make your coffee any better compared to getting high-end equipment.