We'll be the first to admit it: we're not Certified Water Scientists. But years of experience and thousands of cups of coffee have taught us that water has a huge role to play in the flavor of the coffee we drink. After all, coffee is over 98% water — if your water isn't right, your coffee won't taste as good as it can.
But how to get incredible water for coffee? Here are a few tips and tricks we've found.
Get water from your local roaster
One often overlooked fact: roasters typically quality control their coffees using their own water (which is typically filtered to meet specific quality parameters). Because of that, we've found one of the best ways to get coffee that tastes just how your roaster imagined is by getting some water from them! We've found many local cafes to be incredibly accommodating if we bring in a half-gallon container and ask for a fill up, especially if we buy a bag of coffee at the same time.
Use Third Wave Water
Third Wave Water is designed to create optimum water for brewing coffee. Their product is a small packet of minerals which you add to a gallon of distilled water, shake up, and brew at will. We really enjoy Third Wave Water — it means that, for us, water is not a variable when we taste coffees: we're always tasting coffee with the exact same water. This is helpful when you're evaluating coffee, or sharing tasting notes with friends across the country (or world) — you can be certain that the water is not contributing to a taste difference. The downside? It's expensive, at over a dollar per gallon (plus the cost of the distilled water), and it causes more plastic waste than getting water from your local cafe. On the other hand, it's less wasteful than using smaller water bottles.
Use a water filter
Another great option! In our experience, a water filter (like a Brita) will likely produce better tasting coffee than water straight from the tap. The only problem is that most water filters are designed to create water that tastes delicious on its own, not necessarily water that is chemically ideal for brewing coffee. That said, there is a new water filter called the Peak Water filter that is especially designed for coffee. We haven't tested it, but we've heard good things.
Use what tastes good to you
The most important advice! The reality is, your tap water might be amazing for coffee. Here in Portland, our tap water is perfectly serviceable, and we'll easily brew with it in a pinch, with pretty tasty results. As always, the most important thing is that you enjoy your cup of coffee.