Water is one of the most important ingredients when making coffee. It's actually not just an ingredient, it is also a solvent. The quality of water plays a major role in the taste of the quality of the taste of the coffee as it is primarily made with water. Brewing water for coffee should be clean and fresh by taste, smell and look.
How much coffee with how much water? What type of water? Would be the questions to ask. Today we attempt to answer those questions.
Most of us use tap water to brew our coffee. It is easy and accessible, is a relatively a good solvent and dissolves many things. Water can transform the character of a coffee. It can accentuate its acidity, or wipe it out entirely. It can increase or decrease body, change extraction and changes flavour profiles.
Depending on where you live, tap water might be good for your coffee or it might be bad. Some minerals in the water enhance the coffee flavours. The flavour in coffee is mostly contained in the oils within the beans. The brewing process helps us extracting these flavours so that they diffuse and permeate in the water with the assistance of certain minerals in the water. minerals like calcium, magnesium, and bicarbonate found in water help to extract and enhance different flavours compounds from the coffee beans. For Instance Magnesium ions in water aid the extraction of sharp, fruitier flavours, calcium emphasises heavier, creamy notes. Carbonate has the ability to soak up acid hence it helps to keep the acid levels steady. However some of these minerals must be in moderation. Less more than others. Water with a lot of calcium and magnesium for instance becomes hard water and might affect negatively your coffee. Too much bicarbonate might lead to bitter flavours come through. Soft water also if too soft it will affect the coffee negatively. If water is too soft and contains a lot of sodium it also affects for coffee negatively. Most tap water is naturally hard. This is good news because we can manipulate and control the water to put it at the right ph. level and where we want it. You may be use a water softener to filter out some of the extra minerals and a water filter to remove other particles. As each area and each building is different, please contact your coffee supplier to assist you in getting the perfect water for your coffee.
Believe it or not, The Temperature of your water when brewing also plays a major role in the flavour of your coffee. Perfect water temperature is usually between 90 degrees and 96 degrees Celsius for optimal extraction depending on the blend and roast profile. Water with low temperature will result in flat and under-extracted coffee, while water that is too hot will lead to the loss of taste and flavours of coffee as it over extracts.
When brewing coffee manually, let the water come to a full boil, turn off the heat source and allow the water to rest a minute before pouring it over the grounds. Please do not over boil.
Brewing time is the amount of time whereby the water is in contact with the coffee grounds before removing the grounds. This also plays a major role in the coffee flavour with water relationship. The brewing time differs from each brewing technic and grind size. For instance, Pour Over coffee we looking at an approx. of 5 mins. Which is different from the French press which needs between 2-4 minutes. The popular espresso needs around 20-30 seconds depending on the blend and grind size. This will be our next topic for next week,” The Golden Coffee Ratio’ when it comes to brewing coffee.
There is a science and an art behind making a great cup of coffee. Personal preferences are also a bit different, so always feel free to experiment. This why we say, coffee is an art. Espress(o) yourself!