Getting your hands on Third Wave Water minerals is the best first step in improving your coffee’s flavor and protecting your machinery. There are three main steps you can take to help ensure you are getting the absolute best out of Third Wave Water. They are to (1) use empty water, (2) clean your machine before use, and (3) clean your water reservoir periodically.
Step 1: Use Empty Water
The most important thing to remember when using Third Wave Water is that we are a mineral additive that brings empty water up to the proper mineral concentrations for brewing coffee. This means that it is best to use water that contains no minerals as the base.
Tap water, spring water, bottled water, and Brita filtered water all contain minerals in unknown quantities that can impact the way your coffee tastes as well as create scale and/or corrosion in your equipment.
Start with empty water as the best way to be sure that only the right minerals are present in your water in order to:
Achieve the best flavor for your coffee using Third Wave Water.
And protect the lifespan of your equipment (kettle, coffee maker, espresso machine, etc.)
The best options for empty water include:
Distilled water - commonly sold in 1 gallon sizes in the U.S.
Reverse osmosis water - sold in many grocery stores like Wholefoods
Water from a Zero Water® filter - sold online
Deionized water - essentially the same thing as Zero Water - sold online
If you are not sure if your water is free of any minerals then use a TDS Meter to determine the total dissolved solids (TDS) in your water. This will not tell you what is in the water, but will provide the amount of dissolved materials present.
Also, the acceptable range of 'empty' base water is 10 TDS or below. If you do not have a TDS meter, you can pick one up at the link below:
Step 2: Clean Your Coffee Maker/Espresso Machine Before Use
Cleaning your coffee maker will remove residual limescale formed by temporary hardness. Starting with a clean machine will help keep it clean.
Also, If you are using an espresso machine, make sure to flush the boiler frequently. Some espresso machines do not have a boiler, so be sure to refer to your espresso machine manufacturer's instructions for more information.
If you are unsure of how to clean your coffee maker, check the manufacturer’s website or one of the links below on how to clean some popular coffee brewers:
When you remove everything from your water (minerals, organic matter, etc.), you are also removing chemicals designed to eliminate bacteria growth. This means that without those chemicals, bacteria can grow. If stored incorrectly or for extended periods of time, you may notice a clear, slimy-looking film in your container or reservoir. This fairly harmless bacteria is known as “biofilm.”
The best ways to prevent biofilm is to store your mixed water out of direct sunlight and in an airtight container. We recommend cleaning the water reservoir in your coffee brewer every 2-3 months at a minimum.
Replace your water filters every 6-12 months if you are using a Reverse Osmosis (RO) system. This will ensure biofilm does not build up in the system as well as maintains a low TDS output.
Best Buy Date - You may notice a date stamped on your Third Wave Water box and sticks, this is a best buy date not an expiration date. Minerals will not expire but this is a packaging requirement for some vendors so we put it on all of our boxes. The minerals will last as long as any table salt.
Experiment! - Try a partial stick of minerals and brew your coffee to see if you like the taste better. You may be surprised to discover a new flavor in your coffee by experimenting with the amount of minerals used. There is no such thing as 'perfect water for coffee' as different coffees can use different waters to really shine. The Espresso Profile and the Classic Light Roast water profiles meet the coffee industry standards when mixed with one gallon as a reference. But you are the final say in what you like or don't like so definitely feel free to experiment to discover new taste preferences.
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