Many coffee lovers pay close attention to the beans that they use, and when you’re making coffee at home, it’s a good idea to use the best ingredient. But, one of the key parts of any cup of coffee is often overlooked, and that’s the quality of the water. When you think about it, the average cup of coffee is comprised of 97-99% water. So, if you have other contaminants in your water, such as bacteria, chlorine, and minerals, it will affect the flavor. Using pure water will help you to create a better tasting cup of coffee, and we explore this topic in more detail here.

What is a RO System?

The RO system is a filtration method that forces the incoming water through a semi-permeable filter. The pores in the filter are extremely small, and they only allow water molecules to pass through. When you use RO water, you’re using pure water that contains no extra contaminants. The taste could be described as neutral, and when you can taste water, you’re actually tasting the materials dissolved in it. One of the best things about RO water is that it contains no chlorine or chloramine (chlorine mixed with ammonia) that is used in water treatment plants. Chlorine based disinfectants tend to give the water a “swimming pool” odor and taste that will affect the quality of brewed coffee. Most modern RO filtration systems have a carbon filter installed before and after the water passes through the membrane to add a little polish.

Coffee Expert Opinions

One of the foremost organizations dedicated to improving coffee is the Speciality Coffee Association of America or SCAA. They have established some standards on the ideal type of water to use when making coffee at home. The SCAA clearly states that the water used to make the best cup of coffee needs to be clear and odor free. A neutral pH level of 7 is also desired, and the water should be free of chlorine and chloramine. RO water is almost the perfect fit, but it can have a pH level lower than 7, and many people use extra filtration systems to raise the alkalinity to a neutral pH level.

Supplemental Water Treatment

Some coffee experts argue over the various merits of RO water, but one thing they all agree on is that hard water makes a bad cup of coffee. Water hardness can be defined as the Total Dissolved Solids or TDS that it contains. According to the SCAA, the ideal TDS level for coffee making should be around 150 mg/L. But, another factor is the type of dissolved mineral content in the water, and this can vary a great deal. As an example: elevated levels of magnesium which is common in hard water, can make coffee taste “woody.”

In Conclusion

Using RO water will improve the taste of your coffee, but if you have hard water, it’s a great idea to install a water softener too. If you have acidic water, you may need an additional treatment system to raise the pH level to 7. If you want to improve the quality of your water to make the perfect cup of coffee at home, contact your local water treatment specialist today.

By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.