Water quality is essential in making a better cup of coffee.
Coffee is made of 98% water. Great coffee needs great water to begin with. Water quality differs greatly between countries, and even regions within a country depending on its source. The sources will determine the mineral content of the water; with the ability to control the levels, it helps to improve the flavours you can extract from your cup.
What are the components that improve cup quality and how?
Water quality is defined by two factors - hardness and concentration of total dissolved solids (TDS).
Hardness level refers to the amount of calcium and magnesium in your water. Magnesium plays the role of extracting flavour compounds such as acidity while calcium helps to bring out creamier mouthfeel. While the idea of having more is better, there should still be a good balance of minerals in your water. Having super hard water causes the acidity to be muted and dull. Hard water can also be damaging to your equipment as excess calcium will react to form calcium bicarbonate, creating limescale.
TDS refers to the total amount of minerals there are in your water (Refer to this chart to find out what’s in Singapore’s water). Too much minerals limits the level of soluble compounds that could be extracted from the coffee, leading to a cup with muted flavours.
The Peak Water
Cafes around the world use commercial filtration systems to get the best out of their local source. However, they are very expensive and not feasible for home use. There are a few types of water filter jugs in the market that can help improve the quality of water. However, what makes Maxwell Colonna’s design different is its ability to customise. Water hardness and TDS differs in different households even if it’s the same country. The Peak Water comes with a test strip to test your tap water. They will then have a recommended filter setting on the jug for you to filter your tap water, optimising your tap water.
Peak Water uses a disc filter, with a ‘filter maze’ system which ensures water to flow through the filter in a fixed way consistently. The filter contains ion-exchange resins to control and manipulate the bicarbonate levels in water.
Useful links for more information
Peak Water Homepage
Peak Water Kickstarter page
Seven Miles - The Science of Perfect Water for Coffee
Barista Hustle - Water Science FAQ