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Every day or every week we drive through, walk in, walk to, stand up and sit down to enjoy the simple life-pleasure we know of as coffee - our coffee. However, there is one tool I think we forget about that will make a huge difference in our coffee experience. It's water.
Water is 98% of our coffee beverage. It serves us well to stop and consider what kind of water we allow in our simple life-pleasure. Water is the solvent with which is used to pull out, or extract, the goodness that is hidden inside the coffee grounds. Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood (2014 UK Barista Champion) calls water a tool for your coffee, not just an ingredient. Later in this article, you will see why.
At a basic level, taste and smell your water. If your water does not smell fowl or taste bad, then this should serve as a decent water for your coffee.
If you are using regular tap water, a water filter, like Brita, will help with the flavor of the water by removing unwanted chemicals, like chlorine. You can purchase a simple Brita pitcher for approximately $20.
Water as a tool
According to Scott Guglielmin, from La Marzocco espresso machines, (Nordic Barista conference), minerals, like calcium and magnesium, within water act as a magnet to the soluble solids in coffee, drawing them out and into your cup. Water softeners are designed to remove these; understandably. Minerals like calcium and magnesium cause unwanted scale on our water pipes. So, it is important to choose a coffee water that is not void of proper mineral and metals, or an alternative water for coffee if we have a water softener in our home.
I, personally, use a well water that works great for my coffee.
Cold water vs Hot
Many have heard that it is necessary to brew your coffee with fresh, cold water. Fresh, yes. But, the starting temperature of your water is not actually what is going to make a difference in your brewing and extraction. For the most part, people who recommend using cold water are referring to tap water. In the hot tap water lines, deposits and other corrosive build up have greater chances of getting into the water coming out of your tap; which is what you do not want in your coffee. So, making sure you get your water from the cold tap will less likely give you nasty deposits in your water. Otherwise, if you have a mineral water separate from your tap, the temperature of the water before you heat it up should not make a difference.
You do not have to spend a lot of money get great water to complement your coffee. Understand, that the water you use, whereever you brew your coffee, will make a significant difference in the outcome of flavor and body in your coffee.