Over 98% of the coffee you are drinking is water. Water is not only the cornerstone of the caffeine kick that helps you jumpstart your day; it is the cornerstone of life itself. Did you know your morning and afternoon cups of coffee both count towards your daily recommended water intake? The best rule of thumb is that if you would not drink the water solo, it is not good enough for making coffee.
Why Is Water Quality So Important for your Coffee?
Water covers 70% of the earth's surface and makes up 60% of the human body. The water we intake serves a vital part in our bodies' overall health and well-being. Consuming water regularly throughout the day is incredibly important, and so is the condition of the water we are introducing to our systems.
The main functions that water serves inside our bodies:
- Forms saliva
- Essential for body cells to grow, reproduce, and survive
- Urine production and digestion
- Lubricates joints
- Necessary for the brain to produce neurotransmitters and hormones
- Regulates body temperature
- Delivers oxygen to the body
With all the vital organs and systems that require water, it is no wonder that high-quality water is necessary for not only making coffee but making the best coffee.
How is Making Coffee Affected by Water Quality?
The best coffee is well-balanced. Several factors play an essential role in ensuring you are making coffee that fully accentuates the aroma and flavor profile of your coffee beans.
What is in Your Water Supply?
When making coffee, the first step is choosing your water source. Regardless of your coffee roast, grind size, or coffee brewing method, the first step will always be water preparation. The best coffee beans in the world can’t reach their full potential if they are brewed in less-than-ideal water.
Tap water in the United States is safe to drink in most areas, but safe to drink does not equal great tasting. Water should be flavorless; however, we have all had tap water that tasted "off" at one time or another. Most of us even have a preferred bottled water brand because, while negligible, the flavor differences are apparent. In addition, while tap water contains many minerals that are good for our bodies, like potassium, iron, phosphorus, and zinc, it also contains a variety of contaminants.
When making coffee, the contaminants in the tap water can negatively impact the taste and quality of our coffee. The EPA monitors the number of contaminants in water for acceptable amounts. For example, ten parts per billion is an acceptable amount of arsenic in our drinking water. Prior to 2001, 500 parts per billion was an acceptable amount of arsenic.
Other contaminants found in drinking water are:
- Radioactive elements
- Heavy metals
Improving Your Water Improves Your Coffee
So, what steps can you take to ensure that your tap water is in prime condition to make the very best coffee? Let us help you figure that out. Good news: purifying your water at home or on the go is easy and affordable.
Two easy methods for creating purified water for drinking, cooking, and making coffee are:
- Boiling water
- Filtering water
Boiling Water for Purification
Boiling water is a straightforward method that has been around for centuries. Bring your water to a rolling boil for three minutes to kill potential contaminants.
Filtering Water for Purification
Water filtration devices have inundated the market, which is excellent for consumers because there are various options to meet a variety of needs. For example, filtration devices can be added directly to faucets, come in pitcher form to keep filtered water cold in the fridge, and are even available in travel containers and straws.
High-Quality Coffee Beans Are Essential to Making the Best Coffee
Making coffee means making a drink that is 98% water; however, the remaining 2% is the coffee beans. High-quality water should be flavorless, meaning your coffee beans are the source of all flavor. The best coffee requires amazing coffee beans that will transform your ordinary water into something magical.
So, when making coffee, you have two main choices to make when it comes to creating the best coffee:
- Roast level
- Grind size
Coffee beans come in three roast levels: light, medium, and dark roasts. Light roast coffee will retain the most of the coffee's natural flavors out of the three roast options. It is roasted for less time; therefore, the integrity of the coffee bean stays more intact. Light roast coffee will have a dynamic fruity and floral flavor.
Medium roast coffee will typically be sweeter than light roast due to the caramelization process and will boast a bold body and a well-balanced acidity. Dark roast coffee will be strong, bold, and smooth; it is known for sweet, chocolatey notes. Both medium and dark roasts are ideal for cold brew coffee and espresso.
In addition to choosing the ideal roast, making the best coffee requires selecting the appropriate size coffee grounds. Each brewing method has a specific size of coffee grounds to ensure the maximum flavor and aroma are extracted. Using an improper grind size can result in weak coffee or a cup of coffee full of grounds.
We break down the science and the math involved in matching the best coffee grind size with the best brewing method on our Stone Street Coffee blog. If you find yourself shopping for coffee or making coffee and can't remember which grind size to use, remember, the shorter the extraction process, the smaller the grind. Espresso takes a very short time to brew and requires finely ground coffee. Cold brew takes up to 20 hours to brew and requires coarsely ground coffee beans.
The Best Coffee Requires the Best Water
Whether you are making coffee at home or you’re in the middle of the wilderness, using purified water is the only way to ensure you are making coffee that is reaching its optimal potential. Your morning or afternoon caffeine boost should be full of flavor.
Making coffee should create an aroma that fills your space with happiness, comfort, and the mindset to achieve your goals. So, whether your goal is to tackle a huge project, interview for a promotion, knit a sweater for your dog, or read a book, with high-quality water and coffee beans, you have the ingredients to make those goals a reality.