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Perfect Coffee Water

January 25, 2023 3 min read

We launched Third Wave Water in 2016 with the catch-phrase 'perfect coffee water' in 2016. Who knew what the future would hold!

Ah, the beginning. We created a box design that held ten capsules with two cards. Each capsule contained minerals that were hand shaken and manually poured into each and every single one. 

The boxes wouldn't fold correctly, but we were determined. We needed to bring this new invention to the SCA Bloom event in Chicago to see if we were onto something. We could taste the huge difference it made for our coffee, but sometimes the majority of those around you don't see the world the same way you do. So we asked them.

Thankfully we were right, people not only loved the idea, but loved the results Third Wave Water provided for their coffee.

card one

The First Card: How to Make Perfect Coffee Water

We received one of the best initial compliments from Mark Michaelson who was working at Onyx Coffee at the time...while also winning a few notable awards for coffee! Here is what he shared, "We were shocked with your quality! Your water allowed the sweetness and aftertaste to shine more than our commercial setup. All that to say, I'm now using your product at home."

We were extremely humbled and are still greatly appreciative of Mark's efforts to share their results. 

"We were shocked with your quality! Your water allowed the sweetness and aftertaste to shine more than our commercial setup. All that to say, I'm now using your product at home." - Mark Michaelson

The Original Blue Capsules

Did our minerals truly create the 'perfect coffee water' though? Yes and no. I'm sure that is a frustrating answer, but let me explain.

The 'Yes' is for the coffees we designed it for and the 'No' is for everything else.

We engineered this original 'classic' formula to help lighter roasted coffees taste amazing; revealing the brighter, floral characteristics that we sought after so often. But we wouldn't put this water profile in an espresso machine for example. We would only use it to brew our pour overs or with our drip coffee makers. 

After launching a Kickstarter in 2017, just a few months after the SCA Bloom event in Chicago, we kept getting requests to make a profile for espresso machines. So we did. 

The Espresso Profile

The Espresso Profile was created for your espresso machine. This is very important because espresso machines have a unique issue of high pressure + higher temperature, which can create scale or corrosion!

Scale is the white lime-scale left behind from temporary hardness (and other negative chemical reactions) while corrosion is the process that begins breaking down the metal in your espresso machine boiler.

Tap water, spring water and other mineral blends contain chlorides, or temporary hardness or many other questionable ingredients that can cause scale and/or corrosion inside of your machine’s boiler. 

We started with permanent hardness minerals and added a secondary special key difference; there are NO chlorides. Never use chlorides in your espresso machine or you will quickly begin to cause corrosion on metal components in most espresso machines as well as the boiler.

"Never use chlorides in your espresso machine"

Our goal was to create a water profile that met the SCA water profile requirements, like the Classic Profile, but also make this water profile espresso machine friendly. We are proud to say we accomplished our goal so you can rest easy knowing your water profile is actually extending the life of your espresso machine, not reducing it.

The Espresso Profile

The Espresso Profile is also used for other uses and brew methods as well. The Cup of Excellence (COE) uses the Third Wave Water Espresso Profile for their cupping protocols due to its ability to allow the coffee to more naturally reflect the coffee's true profile. This is because there is no sodium chloride (NaCl), which provides a larger sweet spot for coffees since it boosts existing flavors. This used to be in the original SCAA water profile but is not in the updated SCA water profile.

We love it in our pour overs using the Classic Profile, but why wouldn't they want NaCl if it boosts existing flavors? Because cupping protocols are about discovering defects and rating coffees, not adding methods for increasing the sweet spot of flavor. Understanding how the coffee is truly performing helps growers better make changes on the farm, which in turn, provides better coffee to the rest of us.

Perfect Coffee Water?

We have created four water profiles now, which include the Dark Roast Profile and the Cold Brew profile. So in the end, there is no such thing as a perfect coffee water.

"there is no such thing as a perfect coffee water"

But we will always rise to the occasion and continue to do our best to help fix more water-for-coffee issues; one coffee at a time.

- Charles






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