Q Grader Tips: Water

Water represents the largest element of any coffee brew (95-98%)  and it’s importance can sometimes be overlooked - here are some top tips for ensuring that your waterworks in harmony when brewing your coffee.

Start by checking your water quality, if you're concerned about the taste or clarity, try filtering the water prior to brewing. Further to this you may wish to get in touch with your local water authority for more information.

Water is a simple combination of two gases: hydrogen and oxygen, that when united form liquid water. Typically water also contains other materials both soluble and insoluble.

Best brewing water for your coffee

To get the most out of your coffees, your water should ideally be:

  • Odour free
  • A clear colour
  • Free from chlorine, iron and sulphur compounds
  • TDS level of 150mg/L or there about
  • Calcium hardness of 51-68mg/L
  • Total Alkalinity at or near 40mg/L
  • pH of 7 to 8
  • Sodium level of 20mg/L

Water Quality

Many water qualities can enhance or harm coffee flavours in the following ways:

  • Total Dissolved Solids (TDS – amount & nature of solids often indicated by ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ water) – High TDS readings with a higher mineral content (over 150mg/L) may lead to under-extraction resulting in a chalky and dry taste.
  • High PH or Alkalinity Water– affects the acidity of the brew, delivering a coffee with lower acidity and a salty/bitter profile.
  • Salty/Brackish Water – acidity and aromas may be lost, meaning coffee may become overly bitter.
  • Chemicals such as chloride, sulphates and fluoride also impact flavours; chloride & fluoride upset coffee balance giving salty, bitter flavours and sulphates deliver bad odours.

Don’t use boiling water when brewing coffee:

  • 92-96 degrees temp depending on local conditions (we use 93 degrees at the Roastery).
  • Boiling water burns coffee and leads to over extraction which then delivers a bitter taste.
  • Water below 88 degrees can lead to under extraction and delivers a sour, weak taste.

Try this at home by brewing your coffee with water at different temperatures to see how this effects the flavour.

Get your balance and coffee grind right!

  • We advise 60g of coffee to a litre of water.
  • Grind the coffee appropriately for the brewing process (see our blog).

Perfect Grind

So remember that to get the most out of your coffee, water is key! And if all else fails, move to the midlands, as Seven Trent has been voted as the best tasting tap water in the country!