Water for coffee:
Water makes up a huge component of your coffee, depending on the mineral content of your brew water your coffee can taste vibrant, thick and creamy or metalic, harsh or watery. In this article we are going to deep dive into your options when it comes to brew water for coffee at home.
Aquacode Water Brewing Minerals:
Aquacode is a water brewing mineral concentrate that is derived from deep sea minerals and offers an easy-to-use solution to making water suitable for brewing coffee. Each tin of Aquacode contains 12 sachets of mineral concentrate that can be used to mineralise up to 20L of water each. That's a whopping 240L of water in 1 tin.
The minerals in Aquacode Water help to balance the acidity, sweetness, and bitterness of the coffee, resulting in a more flavourful and balanced cup of coffee, The mineral composition of your water is very important and by using Aquacode as a base gives you solid coverage on most of the minerals you want in your brew water.
How to use Aquacode:
Aquacode is very easy to use, the mineral recipe is pre-set you don't have to worry about changing the different amounts of each mineral. To use Aquacode empty 1 Sachet straight into 7-20L of distilled water, mix and then use this as your brew water.
Alternatively some barista's prefer to create a concentrate and then add this to 1 kettle's worth of distilled water at a time.
While you can't change the mineral composition of Aquacode you can dilute it to change the amount of minerals in your brew water. To do this refer to the included Dilution Chart, I personally prefer using the 7L dilution which has 85 TDS (ppm).
What is TDS?
Some of you may already be familiar with TDS in coffee and while TDS refers to the 'Total Dissolved Solids' you can't use a coffee refractometer to test the minerals in water. However you are in luck as Water TDS pens are WAY cheaper than coffee-specific refractometers and are readily available as pool testers.
While TDS is an important component to your brew water, the problem with just measuring TDS is that it doesn't take into consideration what minerals are used.
TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) only measures the total and not the individual minerals, while there are instruments available to measure the individual mineral content they are very expensive and are not a suitable method for most coffee companies let alone home hobbyists.
Minerals and Taste in your coffee:
Different minerals effect different aspects of your coffee, Think of minerals as seasoning to your coffee, similar to how we use pepper and salt to season our food we use minerals to flavour our coffee.
Magnesium is our preferred source of hardness for medium roasts and is great at increasing the body and mouthfeel of coffee while also adding complexity of flavour.
Calcium is our preferred source of hardness for light roasts and great at accentuating the fruit notes in coffee while maintaining a high degree of clarity.
Potassium bicarbonate is used to add alkalinity to water which serves as a buffer to acidity.
Sodium bicarbonate is used to add alkalinity to water which serves as a buffer to acidity.
While there are different types of these minerals and many other minerals you can use to make your own water these are the 4 main minerals that are used in making brew water. They are also the minerals available in the Lotus Water Brewing Mineral Kit.
The DIY Coffee Brew Water Solution:
Barista Hustle have some great resources and calculators that help you to make your own water, these recipes rely on using easy to find ingredients (distilled water, Baking Soda – NaHCO3, Sodium Bicarbonate (not to be confused with baking powder) and Epsom Salts – MgSO4.7H2O, Magnesium Sulphate. Essentially these two chemicals are added to seperate containers to create a 'GH' & "KH' concentrate.
From these two concentrates you add this to another container with distilled water and add different amounts to customise your water.
Read the full Barista Hustle Water Recipe.
While this is a great way to customise water it has 3 main challenges:
- You can't customise individual minerals.
- There is a risk element to this seeing as you are using household ingredients to mix into water to then consume, making a mistake could be dangerous.
- Requires maths and working out! While this might not be a problem for you I did find it challenging to wrap my head around the different concentrates and for a beginner this might be too advanced compared to something like Aquacode water minerals.
Lotus Water Brewing Minerals Solution:
Lotus is a revolutionary product brought to us from coffee legend Lance Hedrick and Nick Chapman, Lotus Water Brewing Minerals are a kit of 4 bottles with each mineral (Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium) in concentrated form. Each bottle has a precision dripper that allows you to exactly use one drop at a time.
To try some pre made recipes with the Lotus Water Brewing Kit Click Here.
After using a product like Aquacode, you may be looking to push your water game a little further, taking your water from a pre-made concentrate to a full custom recipe with control of not just the TDS but each mineral in your water.
Convenience vs Experience:
I totally understand that everyone reading this blog post will be at a different experience level when it comes to brewing and tasting coffee and while for some, mineralising and customising water composition is extreme for others it could be the solution to making their coffee that tastes bland / muted to vibrant and acidic.