Secrets To Great Coffee Water Sommelier Jessica Altieri
The Right Water for the Perfect Cup of Coffee.
A cup of joe calls for just two ingredients: coffee and water. That’s one of the lovely things about it. It’s just so easy to make this strengthening, heartening brew. But is it actually as easy as you thought? Water Sommelier Jessica Altieri will make sure you get it right and sip smarter.
Hmm. Well there’s the coffee. Not just any old can of Kirkland will do; naturally you want the good stuff from an artisanal roaster. Local if possible, toasted to just the right color, well-balanced and pure. As for water … Oh, you thought you could just turn on the tap, collect a few cupfuls of aqua and call it good? Think again, my friend.
Brewing Water Basics
Water, just like the coffee itself, isn’t a simple ingredient. Both are more akin to wine than we give them credit for: nuanced, complicated, gently redolent of a thousand different scents and flavors. Luckily your roaster takes care of the beans for you. But the water?
For starters, nail down the basics. The Special Coffee Association of America publishes guidelines concerning water for brewing coffee. The water should be clear, without chlorine or odors. Water filtration devices are a pretty easy way to accomplish this, though the pitchers tend to be small: try a faucet-mounted device instead.
Mineral Content Matters
The hardness of the water also matters. While water softeners are commonly used at home to prevent minerals from lining the insides of pipes, washing machines and so on, some people advocate that hard water makes a better cup of coffee, because minerals such as magnesium and calcium – good for you, by the way – bring out coffee’s flavor.
That’s the foundation of game-changers such as Third Wave Water, which add minerals back in to de-mineralized water to make them perfect for brewing. That way, if you have to soften your water at home (remove its minerals), you can still make a great cuppa.