Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Does filtered water make coffee better?



The short answer is usually. But no one puts stock in the short answer.

Ask any coffee enthusiast if the type of water matters in their coffee and everyone of them will (read: should) say yes. The three types of water available to the average household are usually filtered, tap and bottled water. To quickly rule out one option, I would agree with the growing number of people that bottled water is indeed a waste of money and resources, especially since numerous bottled waters are practically the same as tap water in terms of health and taste benefits.

That leaves the duel between tap and filtered water, with the two issues being health effects and taste. Depending on where you are, your tap water can contain harmful agents that you might not want in your body. But at the same time, there are some regions of the country with exceptional tap water. So, it really comes down to your specific geographical source and hygenic philosophy as to whether filtering offers any real benefits for your health.

And then there was taste. Since coffee is mostly water, clearly the water you use to brew your coffee will make a severe impact on the taste of your coffee. Thus, while I know some cities boast amazing tap water, we're all not so lucky. Thus, I took up an offer from Pur to test out a Pur Water Pitcher to see if it made a difference in the taste of my coffee versus coffee brewed with my tap water.

While I do not have the specific information on the health qualities of my local water system, I would say that it ranks fairly high in taste comparatively to other taps I've tapped. As for my methods of testing, I compared my tap water versus the filtered water in both glasses of water and in cups of coffee.

Drinking the water straight up, my tap water produced an alkali-esque quality in the aftertaste compared to the Pur water which had a much brighter and sweeter flavor to it. This held true through multiple trials and even when my wife produced me a blind taste test, I was able to differentiate the tap and the filtered.

As for my coffee, the results were similar. The coffee brewed via the filtered water was a little sweeter and acidic in taste while the tap water produced coffee slightly more basic with a metallic aftertaste.

Thus, I can vouch that the Pur Water Pitcher did make a noticeable difference in the taste of my water and coffee. If you're looking to get better tasting water from your tap, a water filter could do it for you though there's no guarantees. And if you like being uber careful about possible threats in your water, then filtration will definitely help you sleep better (whether it really does the job, only time will tell).

So if you have less-then-stellar tap water and/or you want to take a step in the direction of water safety, then try out a Pur Water Pitcher.
note: pitcher was provided free of charge and the above review is objective feedback.

23 comments:

Cafe Roche said...

What I love the most about coffee, is the vast array of subjects related to it. That's why I find it ironic that I just posted on my blog last week about water quality. For more information on water quality, Check out

http://caferoche.blogspot.com/2011/04/perfect-cup-pure-water.html

Joe said...

I do not know, if filtered water make coffee better, but does paper cup make it worst or not? Please comment...

Bill said...

Joe,

paper cups usually don't massively affect most forms of coffee except for espresso. but as a habit, i try to use ceramic

Mr Bean said...

Great blog. I have visited a few pages and they're very interesting. I hate to shamelessly plug my blog but I am just embarking on a journey that you have completed - i.e. learning about coffee.

I am recording my findings here:
http://magicgreenbeans.blogspot.com/

I would greatly appreciate it if you (and your readers) occasionally visited and provided me with advice.

Thanks in advance.

Keurig k cups cheap said...

I cannot say for sure, but I only use filtered water. My wife taught me this five years ago, and I have been doing it since.

Ryan said...

It all starts with the water that you are using. You should make sure that you have the best quality when you are brewing a gourmet coffee. The only question is what constitutes the best quality. I know that all my water is filtered through a Brita filter before brewing. This being said, I think the changes are subtle at best since most of the bottled water starts from the tap anyway.

Stuart said...

I live in a hard water area and I always filter my water before making a brew. It's even more noticable when making tea, which leaves a scum on the side of the cup.
I think if you're going to spend good money on buying a quality coffee then it's worth spending that little extra time and trouble to make sure you get the best brew possible.
I know that some folks are lucky enough to live in an area where the water quality is really good but I guess most of us City dwellers don't emjoy that benefit

Isa Sea said...

Whether from a tap or not, any espresso brewed through a machine needs to be filtered, and not just by a brita, otherwise you will have massive scale build up in the boilers of the machine, which not only will severely affect the taste but can also damage the machine itself. It blows my mind when I go to a coffee shop and realize they don't have any filtration system.

The kind of systems you need range from 200-500 dollars, depending on the number of stages. Ours uses a four-stage system.

Britt said...

Our guests always comment us on the great tasting coffee we serve. We are proud of that comment. It would not occur to us to use anything other than filtered water in brewing our coffee. We have been using a MultiPure drinking water system for the past 20+ years,and we are getting contaminant-free water for drinking, cooking, and especially brewing our coffee. It just tastes delicious!
Britt

Coffee beans said...

Yes, filtered water would add more taste to your coffee. Using filtered water is a good health practice.

Miele CVA4075 Plumbed Coffee System Stainless Steel said...

Very interesting post about coffee. I’m so inlove with this. I would like you to continue writing more about this. Thanks

CFL said...

Anyone know any good places to buy gourmet coffee online?

Adam Waddy said...

Very interesting about the coffee. You have my vote and I will bookmark this website right now.

air compressor reviews said...

I use distilled water as part of the cleaning process (after running Cleancaf or Durgol) through my Technivorm. Now I wonder if this is also a bad idea. I use bottled mineral water for coffee.

Bisuzs Coffee said...

Very helpful information of the differences we make to our cup of coffee when we use different types of water.

CrystalSChilders said...



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Unknown said...

Agreed. At our shop we have an in house water that's been developed with a few specialist using a reverse osmosis system. I've tasted the biggest difference in our cold brew and espresso. What set up do you guys use?

Guillermo Lazo said...

This is a First World problem. Most coffee makers use a paper filter i.e. drip makers, Keurig and even percolators have a paper filter that can be used. Is that not enough? I mean if your tap water tastes awful like well water can sometimes, or Flint, MI yes use filtered water but for your cup of Joe in the morning the paper filter in your maker should do the trick. Some of the best coffee I've ever tasted has been outside the USA and the preparers were not using filtered water. Get a grip, people!

Romilda Gareth said...

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Romilda Gareth said...

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Sowpath das said...

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