March 31, 2023 3 min read
Local tap water varies throughout your city and can even vary throughout the year. Because of this, your coffee can vary depending not only on where you brew, but when you brew as well! Charles, one of the founders of Third Wave Water, used to travel a lot for work. He was always frustrated that the quality of his coffee at home was significantly better than when he brewed on the road. It took him a while, but he finally diagnosed the issue as being the water he was brewing with.
Using tap water may be one of the worst things you can do to your coffee. It can contain chemicals, an abundance of minerals, organic matter, and there is even an acceptable range of radioactive isotopes! If you wouldn't drink your tap water normally, why use it for your coffee?
In a study comparing mineral content in tap water and bottled water, large mineral variances were discovered between water sources among individual cities, not just city to city. See some of their data findings below.
|City||Source||Calcium (mg/L)||Magnesium (mg/L)||Sodium (mg/L)|
|San Jose, CA||Santa Clara Valley||56||14||57|
|Boston, MA||Winsor Dam||2||1||3|
|New York, NY||Catskill-Deleware||6||1||6|
Information from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1495189/
While your water may help your coffee taste great in one city, it may cause it to taste awful in another, or even down the street at your friend's house. This is the issue that Charles noticed during his travels. He needed a way to brew his coffee that tasted the same, no matter where his travels took him.
You may be thinking to yourself, “I use a Brita filter so I'm covered.” This is a good first step in using better water, but it is far from optimal. Brita filters are charcoal filters, meaning they only filter out chemicals and organic matter from the water (chlorine, bacteria, etc.). They don’t actually remove or affect any of the minerals in your water.
The water from your Brita filter may be free of the chemicals and organics your tap water contains, but it still contains the minerals that can harm your coffee and equipment. It also will still be inconsistent and taste different than other filtered water because the minerals in your local tap water may be different than the next town over, or even the house next door.
Spring water has the same issue as your Brita filtered water. Unfortunately, spring water can contain the wrong minerals in the wrong concentration that will inhibit your coffee’s flavor, rather than help it. Also like Brita water, spring water can vary from place to place, depending on where it was collected. Not all springs are the same!
It shouldn’t be a hassle for your coffee to taste the same every day. Your coffee shouldn't taste different if you are using the same brewer, grinder, coffee, and water. However, when you use tap water or spring water, this is exactly what happens.
If you changejust the water you brew with to Third Wave Water, you will experience the difference it makes! In September 2022, we attended the NoFilter Coffee Fest in Charlotte, NC, where all of the coffee brewed was with Third Wave Water. At our booth, we brewed the same coffee with the same grind setting and an automatic brewer so that the other attendees could taste the difference of coffee brewed with Third Wave Water versus distilled water. Every single person who tried it was blown away with the taste difference and how much better the coffee was with Third Wave Water!
“I can go buy demineralized water and add a pack of Third Wave Water to that and I have the exact same water here in the middle of the lake as I do at home on my brew bar.” -Kyle Rowsell
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