Over the last few decades, water has gained fresh attention to numerous places along the coffee value chain. Farming and processing procedures (Chapters 3 and 4) are important, but so is how extraction affects the sensory qualities of the coffee in the cup. Every barista understands that the type of water used may either enhance or detract from the unique characteristics of a coffee. Water quality study has traditionally centered on safety and technical aspects. This is evident in the fact that hardness, a measure of the greatest amount of scale formation in coffee machine boilers or kettles, is the most popular classification for water. Let’s find out with Helena.
Composition, Recommendations, and Treatment
The purpose of this chapter is to give the reader a fundamental grasp of how water affects coffee, as well as how to vary the composition of water to change its total hardness and alkalinity. Section 2 will begin by briefly discussing the fundamentals of water science, which contains dissolved constituents such as minerals, gases, and organic molecules except in some specific forms, such as distilled water or after reverse osmosis treatment. After that, in Section 3, we’ll go over the most significant components of water composition, with a particular emphasis on total hardness and alkalinity, both of which are crucial to understanding how water and coffee interact.
Scale formation and corrosion, which are both caused by dissolved minerals in the water, are also discussed in detail. The impact of water composition on technical and sensory elements of coffee extraction is discussed in Section 4. We’ll also talk about current suggestions for “optimal” water composition and flavor flaws in this part.
Unsuitable water compositions are to blame. Because the water in its natural state often does not match what we perceive to be the “optimal” composition for coffee preparation, total hardness and alkalinity must be adjusted before the water can be used for coffee extraction.
As a result, Section 5 will examine the impact of various water treatment procedures on total hardness and alkalinity, as well as introduce a methodical and new approach that we believe is particularly valuable and appropriate to the specialty coffee community. We’ll wrap up this chapter by showing how varied water compositions affect the results of a cupping trial and espresso extraction.