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Sat Jan 5, 2013, 07:54 AM

Coffee 103: Water

Coffee 101: Brewing devices
Coffee 102: Grinders

This is the 3rd part in this series and it covers a pretty boring subject, but one that is no less important than any of the rest and perhaps much more so. I'll try to keep it short and as painless as possible.

The subject of water is rarely discussed when it comes to coffee making, but it's one that should be. Coffee is, after all, mostly water. If you start out with bad water, you are going to wind up with bad coffee. There's just no other way that scenario can play out. If your tap water is foul tasting, you are going to get foul tasting coffee. If your water has too much or too little mineral content, you are going to get a poor extraction. The good news is that if your local tap water already tastes good, chances are you should have to do nothing with it. My general rule is that if the water tastes good, it's probably going to make good coffee. Water that tastes good generally has the right mineral content for making good coffee. Some coffee fanatics really get into the quality of water, precise mineral contents, and even aeration. I'm not sure it needs to be all that complicated unless you are trying to eek out the nth degree of quality that is obtainable. If you suspect your water might be to blame for bad coffee, buy a gallon of drinking water or spring water at your local market and try it. If it improves your coffee, you might have a water problem. A gallon of drinking water is pretty cheap, especially compared to how much coffee costs. You might also be able to solve your water problems by filtering with a Brita. I don't recommend using reverse osmosis water or distilled water because you definitely want some mineral content in your water.

The only other thing I'll mention about water is brewing temperature. I'll get into this more in my final post on putting everything together, but I'll say it now that your brewing temp should be between 195-205 degrees F for most brewing methods. That is the sweet spot for extracting the best flavors that coffee grounds can offer. So if you are using a kettle to heat your water, just buy a cheap thermometer if you don't already have one. Calibrate it, or figure out the offset for the boiling point. At my altitude, water boils at 210 degrees, so that's how I calibrate my thermometer. You can get that information here:
http://www.thermoworks.com/software/bpcalc.html

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Reply Coffee 103: Water (Original post)
Major Nikon Jan 2013 OP
In_The_Wind Jan 2013 #1
Festivito Jan 2013 #2
guardian Jan 2013 #3
IcyPeas Jan 2013 #4
siligut Jan 2013 #5

Response to Major Nikon (Original post)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 08:02 AM

1. Thank you.

Most people forget about starting out with good water.
I always purchased spring water to make my coffee when I traveled.

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Response to Major Nikon (Original post)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 01:50 PM

2. I'm told to start with cold water. Cold water holds air better.

Then there's more left in the final product.

There are always two half-gallon containers of water in my fridge. I use the front one, refill it and put it in back. Although a tea drinker, guests love my coffee. And, when the make it with plain tap water, it's not as good.

Leaving it sit also reduces the chlorine content a little.

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Response to Major Nikon (Original post)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 01:58 PM

3. Nice discussion thanks.

 

BTW water boils at 198F at my house. So getting the right temperature is easy.

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Response to Major Nikon (Original post)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 02:24 PM

4. I use my bottled water

I have an electric kettle. I wait until the water has stopped boiling, then pour it in to my Clever Coffee Dripper. I don't have a clue what the exact temperature is.

I love these coffee threads. It's an overlooked science
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Response to IcyPeas (Reply #4)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 03:10 PM

5. OK, that gif is freaky

Took me by surprise, it did

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