Friday, November 20, 2015

Hard Water and Coffee Flavor

I have said many times before that I work in an office for my day job. The coffee is terrible here. It is the Maxwell House machines that has cans of tar that mixes with water and makes “coffee.” So we obviously brew our own coffee.

My company is nice enough to provide filtered water machines for us. The downside is that they are too cheap to change the filters regularly. We noticed that because our coffee would taste different on different days.

I originally called shenanigans on my buddy who said he could taste the difference. This of course became a challenge that he accepted gladly. 

He brought in a Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) meter in to prove the point. Our water was up in the 300s. From that point on, we could tell when it was that bad because the water poured at a snail’s pace (it was struggling to get through the dirty filter). To balance our experiment, we got water from the 4th floor (where the executives are) and tested it. That water was around 80 TDS. We tried both waters and there was a distinct difference.

I wanted to know how this affected my coffee.

Hard water is calcium and magnesium. These two elements can interact with the grounds and create solids, robbing you of aroma and flavor compounds.

Here is a cool article I found (I am in no way endorsing this company). There is an interesting picture that the cup with hard water is murkier than the one with soft water. That’s those solids floating around.

I say all of this assuming that we are at a minimum using a carbon filter to get rid of all the stinky chlorine. If you are not doing that, then you need to start.