Water for Coffee

James Kilbourn coffee brewing water filtration

Water constitutes about 98% your brewed cup of coffee. As a result, the quality of your water is vital to the flavour of your coffee. Even though most tap water is safe to drink after being treated, it still contains certain substances that can make your coffee taste flat or even bad. Unpleasant odours and flavours in your water will contribute to negative flavours in your coffee. Not only can your water quality affect the taste of your coffee, it can also potentially damage your machine due to potentially high calcium content. The buildup of limescale in your machine will negatively influence your machines performance and require more regular servicing in additional to contributing to bad cups of coffee. Installing a water filtration system designed to improve coffee quality can also save you maintenance costs on one of your most valuable of pieces of equipment in your restaurant or café. We, however, do not remove all the calcium in water filtration as it, together with magnesium, helps to extract flavour from coffee - we just don't want too much. To determine this concentration of calcium and magnesium we test the Total Hardness of the water.

In addition to testing the Total Hardness of your water, we test the Carbonate Hardness - that is, the maximum calcium and magnesium that can result in scale buildup. An excess of  Calcium and Magnesium that precipitates when water is boiled can lead to scale and sediment buildup in machines.

Most water has high total and carbonate hardness and therefore requires some form of filtration.

The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) recommends the following as part of their water standards recommendations:

  • total hardness of 50-175 ppm CaCO3 (2,9-9,8 dH°)
  • carbonate hardness of 40-75 ppm CaCO3 (2,2-4,2 dH°)
  • pH of 6-8  

ppm=mg/l

The pH of water can also influence the flavour of coffee. Water is naturally neutral with a pH of 7 however, due to the different molecules that are dissolved in the water, it can change to being acidic or alkaline. The ideal pH as stated above is between 6 and 8.

How do we achieve a balance? By installing a water filter and understanding the composition of the water we use to brew coffee.

The aim of water filtration is to prevent limescale and obtain an ideal mineral composition, filter out particles that could damage machines and remove undesirable odours and tastes. The result is water that can bring out the full flavour and potential of the coffee served.

It is therefore critical to use filtered water when brewing coffee to ensure the best quality coffee flavour. To this aid, Stereo Café supplies and installs *BRITA water filtration systems and accessories as our preferred water filtration.

If you are interested in improving the flavour of your coffee and would like us to consult, we will gladly perform a standard water test and advise you. on the best solution for your business.

*Although we prefer BRITA filters, we also supply parts and filters for EVERPURE and BWT filters.



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