Do any of you worry about the type of water you use in the making of your coffee? Do you use filtration systems or purified water? At my house we are on a private well and the coffee made from that water tastes really different then coffee made from city water.

The reason I ask is someone approached me about a water purification business and it got me thinking about it. Any input anyone has would be great to hear.

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There is a lot that goes into water systems for a coffee shop. Coffee is 98% water so the quality of the main ingredient is a big deal. There are a number of companies that cater to the coffee industry. I would be pretty skeptical of someone selling a water purification business. There is a market for it but there is also a lot of specialized knowledge required to do the job well.
What generally goes into it. We are looking at some new technology that would let you use an on site distiller to purify your water. It is MUCH better for machines leaving almost no scale or other buildup because its pure h2o rather then all the chemicals and minerals found in bottled or filtered water. In addition it would not add any other flavor to the coffee other then what the coffee adds.

Its an interesting concept and is no more expensive then a good filtration set up. Any opinions?
Jarred, unless I misunderstood your comment, I think you might hear from forum members about water treatment for coffee related applciations. Specifically, you'll probably hear about the different types of filtering technologies, the need for minimum mineral levels, and the sensing units in electrical coffee appliances that rely on a minimum level of mineral-conductivity. If it weren't for the minerals in the water, your coffee would actually lack some very worthwhile flavor. Ironically, there are some filtering designs that, for reasons of needing to remove unwanted chemistries, bring the water to hear H2O levels, but then have "mineral cartridges" that add essentials minerals back into the water for the reasons mentioned; taste and the ability to provide a conductive path. The objective is to have enough mineral level for best flavor and sufficient conductivity, but not too much to accelerate calcification/mineral buildup.

Jarred Hoffpauir said:
What generally goes into it. We are looking at some new technology that would let you use an on site distiller to purify your water. It is MUCH better for machines leaving almost no scale or other buildup because its pure h2o rather then all the chemicals and minerals found in bottled or filtered water. In addition it would not add any other flavor to the coffee other then what the coffee adds.

Its an interesting concept and is no more expensive then a good filtration set up. Any opinions?
That is really interesting, why have I not herd about this before? Can you point to any documentation about how water effects coffee?

Al Sterling said:
Jarred, unless I misunderstood your comment, I think you might hear from forum members about water treatment for coffee related applciations. Specifically, you'll probably hear about the different types of filtering technologies, the need for minimum mineral levels, and the sensing units in electrical coffee appliances that rely on a minimum level of mineral-conductivity. If it weren't for the minerals in the water, your coffee would actually lack some very worthwhile flavor. Ironically, there are some filtering designs that, for reasons of needing to remove unwanted chemistries, bring the water to hear H2O levels, but then have "mineral cartridges" that add essentials minerals back into the water for the reasons mentioned; taste and the ability to provide a conductive path. The objective is to have enough mineral level for best flavor and sufficient conductivity, but not too much to accelerate calcification/mineral buildup.

Jarred Hoffpauir said:
What generally goes into it. We are looking at some new technology that would let you use an on site distiller to purify your water. It is MUCH better for machines leaving almost no scale or other buildup because its pure h2o rather then all the chemicals and minerals found in bottled or filtered water. In addition it would not add any other flavor to the coffee other then what the coffee adds.

Its an interesting concept and is no more expensive then a good filtration set up. Any opinions?
This kind of discussion goes on all the time on the consumer boards, with massive amounts of misinformation getting flung about. I'm a little surprised to see it happening here, too.

The best coffee depends on minerals to extract the best flavor. Distilled, reverse osmosis and other "pure water" systems produce very bad coffee (and tea for that matter), unless some minerals are mixed back in. But, too much mineral content will quickly coat your equipment's internals with calcium scale.

So, unless they are lucky enough to be in a town with perfect tap water, top coffee bars spend lots of money to achieve the "right" mineral content. Intelligentsia Venice goes so far as to run three different water lines (with three different water blends) to each barista station: espresso, brewed coffee and tea.

Other shops look to less expensive solutions. But distilled is definitely NOT the way to go.
I sometimes wish I held the patent on "....the reinvention of the wheel" , because yes Marshall, this discussion does come up regularly on the consumer boards. And every now and then, newcomers to the water treatment business visit the coffee industry with "Great News and New Products." But it's usually before they learn the needs for the beverage industry.

Jarred, I would recommend checking out Everpure Water Treatment. You'll find a dealer locator on this page. And for anyone in the SoCal area that wants to do their own water treatment, there's "Good Water" in Fullerton; a full-line water treatment component distributor. I don't know if they're selling to "taxable" accounts? I've purchased for resale in the past.

Marshall Fuss said:
This kind of discussion goes on all the time on the consumer boards, with massive amounts of misinformation getting flung about. I'm a little surprised to see it happening here, too.

The best coffee depends on minerals to extract the best flavor. Distilled, reverse osmosis and other "pure water" systems produce very bad coffee (and tea for that matter), unless some minerals are mixed back in. But, too much mineral content will quickly coat your equipment's internals with calcium scale.

So, unless they are lucky enough to be in a town with perfect tap water, top coffee bars spend lots of money to achieve the "right" mineral content. Intelligentsia Venice goes so far as to run three different water lines (with three different water blends) to each barista station: espresso, brewed coffee and tea.

Other shops look to less expensive solutions. But distilled is definitely NOT the way to go.
Thanks AL ill take a look at the links. Truth is that in the coffee industry no one really cares for the most part. Only a few shops out of dozens have any kind of notable filtration systems. Maybe they just start with pretty good water. The business I was looking at had nothing to do with coffee but since I really like coffee I though I would ask. Again thanks for the links guys.
Jarred Hoffpauir said:
Thanks AL ill take a look at the links. Truth is that in the coffee industry no one really cares for the most part. Only a few shops out of dozens have any kind of notable filtration systems. Maybe they just start with pretty good water. The business I was looking at had nothing to do with coffee but since I really like coffee I though I would ask. Again thanks for the links guys.

I'm confused by this conclusion, that in the coffee industry, nobody really cares about water. Only a few shops out of a dozen? Maybe in your area, but I can truthfully say that I've not yet been in a shop that wasn't running something. Many have been overdue to have cartridges changed. Several have been put on with no regard to what was actually needed, and have had more or less than necessary. But I wouldn't say they didn't care... they cared but were not terribly well informed. This is in an area where municipal water is 2-3 grains of hardness, so they don't need to run very much.

Lack of water conditioning voids warranties, and operators like warranties. Hard water causes scale, and techs hate scale so should be pointing out problems. Improperly conditioned water will cause machine problems, and operators hate repair bills. That's quite a few people that care.

BTW thanks, Mike, for posting the link to Big Rick's Insanely Long Water FAQ.. I've been meaning to go back and give it another read and you saved me having to look for it.

To Marshall's point, different equipment likes different water conditions. A brewer or tank that doesn't actually boil water may just need odor, chlorine, and sediment (depending on hardness), where espresso may need OCS+softening.

In terms of knowledgeable outfits to check out, I'd add Cirqua to the list. FWIW, I use Cuno systems in my installations.

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