jcroft01 Senior Member Joined: 14 Mar 2009 Posts: 9 Location: Minneapolis, MN Expertise: I love coffee
Grinder: Capresso Infinity, Camano... Vac Pot: Nope. Love my French Press. Drip: I threw it away!
Posted Sat Oct 5, 2013, 10:46am Subject: Great Coffee Demands Mineral Water
I didn't start drinking coffee until I was 30 (12 years ago) (it was a religious thing). I am a very analytical person, so I accepted coffee as a challenge. I wanted to make the very best coffee I could. I wanted to know what factors made for the best coffee and why.
With lots of research and experimentation I thought I was doing everything right. And still something was wrong with my coffee. One morning I was at the next-door neighbors and they gave me a cup of coffee. I was really REALLY irritated to discover that their stupid, grocery-store-brand, tap-water-brewed, Mr. Coffee swill was better than my carefully crafted brew! I questioned them about everything. Aside from everything they were doing wrong, the only thing they were doing different than me was the water. They were using tap water. I was using reverse osmosis water.
Why was I using RO water? Because every online tutorial I found simply said "use the best [or best tasting] water you can use". I had an under-sink RO filter unit that makes really excellent drinking water, so I assumed it would make excellent coffee. I was wrong.
To experiment, I filled up a jug with water from the neighbors faucet and took it home to make coffee. (The reason I couldn't use my own tap water (and the reason why I have a RO filter under the sink) is that our water is naturally very hard, so our entire house water supply is softened. The neighbors don't have a water softener.) What an amazing difference! The neighbor's unfiltered tap-water made the best coffee I had made to date — light-years ahead of my RO water. (Heating the water in my kettle for french-press removed the chlorine taste from the water, but left some nasty scum in my kettle.)
The solution to the problem, and the difference between our waters, had to be the mineral content. Period.
I bought many different brands of spring water from the grocery store to experiment with, and arrived at a couple favorites. Life was good. It didn't take long though before lugging jugs of water from the grocery store became a real drag. I wondered if there was a better way.
What if I could just add the minerals back to my RO water? More research. I found a product called "ConcenTrace Trace Mineral Drops" (available from Amazon and other online sources). With some experimentation, I arrived at the dosage of 15 drops per kettle of water. An 8 oz. bottle costs about $16, and lasts for months. And what a difference that small amount of minerals makes! Wow! Using ConcenTrace mineral drops makes me coffee 95% as good as the best spring water I could find. That's a difference I'm definitely willing to accept, not having to lug water bottles from the store.
And at the bottom line, it's NOT about the taste of the minerals! I don't actually like the taste of the mineral water — I much prefer the taste of pure RO water.
The mineral content of the water plays a vital role in the brewing process itself — dictating how much of which compounds get extracted. So whether you use grocery store mineral water, filtered tap or well water, or add minerals to distilled or RO water, the minerals are critical to good coffee!
tahoejoe Senior Member Joined: 9 Sep 2003 Posts: 666 Location: San Diego/ Incline Village Nv. Expertise: I live coffee
Grinder: Solis Maestro Drip: Behmor Brazen Brew System Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Sat Oct 5, 2013, 11:28am Subject: Re: Great Coffee Demands Mineral Water
Here is a great read on the subject but one thing to always remember. While the premiss of mineral content in water is spot on as well as 100% accurate, any accessment of how much becomes one's individual perception of what satisfies them. It's the same with the amont of coffee to be used when brewing.
I know my RO system actually has another cartridge that reintroduces minerals back into the water. When tested ours comes in at/around 70 TDS and would never even consider using San Diego tap water with a TDS reading of 323. Keep in mind too high mineral content water WILL clog a brewer in no time (http://www.behmor.com/images/combo_of_sediment.jpg) and silently so like fat/ butter to your heart.
We have someone who has been involved with the Brazen from it's inception and his recommendation is about 60-100 TDS both for flavor and equipment's longentivity. But again flavor is subjective and open to perception.
His credentials are: Designed protocols as well as procedures for testing for the likes of NASA, Army Corp of Engineers and government agencies while overseeing a test lab operating under ANSI Z540.1/ISO10012-1 certifications and an Inspection System in compliance with MIL-I-45208A. The laboratory in question dealt with the following: Drinking Water and Environmental Analysis, Air and Water Purification Related Engineering (including NASA Flight Hardware), Research & Development, Materials Testing, identification and quantitation of chemical and microbiological contaminants within drinking water and environmental samples,
REMINDER: Never leave the roaster unattended when in use !! And remember to use our Rosetta Stone tip PART V PARAGRAPH 3.. it works !!!
CoffeeLoversMag Senior Member Joined: 10 Jan 2013 Posts: 218 Location: Seattle Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Thu Oct 10, 2013, 8:35am Subject: Re: Great Coffee Demands Mineral Water
There are many topics and discussions about the importance of water in brewing coffee. I appreciate your endeavor in experimenting different types of water to brew coffee just to have the great coffee ever. Although we differ in judgment of the kind of water to brew coffee, but I think there are important aspect we have to consider such as the mineral content in the water that we are using. As I understand, to get a flavorful coffee is to consider the mineral content of water. If you use distilled water which is removing almost all minerals in the water, the extraction will be weak, thus the beverage is flavorless.
The mineral content of water which is essential to a good extraction will be around 150-200 parts per million. If your water has lower mineral content, then you have flavorless coffee. But be careful because lots of mineral in water will develop plaque in the machine more quickly. Use softened water but not fully distilled.
Did you know...? Dark roast coffees actually have less caffeine than lighter roasts due to the fact that the process of roasting burns off caffeine. www.coffeeloversmag.com/theMagazine
jonr Senior Member Joined: 25 Jun 2013 Posts: 329 Location: Americas Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Thu Oct 10, 2013, 9:27am Subject: Re: Great Coffee Demands Mineral Water
I have hard water, soft water and RO water available at my kitchen sink. After trying a few things (in a not well controlled manner) and factoring in the mineral deposit problem, I settled on using RO water and throwing a few limestones into the water reservoir. But perhaps I should do a more accurate comparison to my second choice - RO + some percentage of hard water.
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