The most fundamental component of superb coffee is often overlooked: Water.
Don't make the mistake I made.
No kidding, I’ve messed this up, myself.
A cup of coffee is almost 99% water so it has to be the starting point to a great cup. Overlooking this can undermine all your hard work of bean selection, roasting, grinding and your favorite brew method.
My blunder: We have a small cabin in Northern California and it took me embarrassingly long to realize the water there was “ruining” my coffee. I was certain our keepsake coffee cups were the culprit, so we got new cups. A slight improvement. Maybe. Months later, I brewed with bottled water and we were finally enjoying what we expected.
The main point: Solving this only happened because we knew what our coffee should taste like. Since we were brewing the exact same coffee with the exact same method that we were brewing at home, we knew there was an issue. If our home water was the same as the cabin water, we may have never figured out that we weren’t drinking the best our coffee had to offer.
Know for sure: Brew up a couple of your favorite coffees with your regular water source and some with Crystal Geyser Natural Alpine water or Volvic and see what you notice. Do this side-by-side comparison using the same beans, grind, brew method, etc. You might be surprised! But no matter what, you’ll know for sure where you stand with your water!
Caution: Just any bottled water won’t do. Bottled waters have varying degrees of mineral content, pH, etc. to make them great-tasting beverages by themselves—not as a backbone for coffee. Both brands mentioned above are ideally balanced and line-up with the Specialty Coffee Association standards.
Once we figured out the water issue at our cabin, I installed a high-tech filter that has us on track. It’s still not quite the same as using bottled water, but SO much better than what we had been drinking.
If you want to delve into this and related topics a bit more, see our brewing tips here.