There are seemingly countless variables in the quest for the perfect cup of coffee: How are the beans are grown and ground? How is the coffee brewed? How well curated are your barista’s beard and tattoos?
And perhaps the most frequently overlooked variable has nothing to do with the coffee itself (or your barista’s facial coif). Rather, it pertains to the quality of the brewing water, which after all is mostly what you’re drinking. It’s not that farfetched: Bagels are believed to taste better in New York City than anywhere else. Why? Partly because of the mineral content of the city’s tap water. Why should the water your coffee’s brewed with play any less of a role? And what should stop you from attempting to out-nerd your coffee nerd compatriots?
So yes, If you’ve been feeling the need to be both snobby and geeky about some additional aspect of your morning brew, take note! Enter Third Wave Water, a product that purports to create the ideal mineral profile for your java. Tap a packet into a gallon of distilled or reverse osmosis water, and presto! You now have the blend of minerals that the Specialty Coffee Association considers optimum.
For coffee addicts, the supplement contains the calcium, magnesium and sodium needed to enhance acidity and sweetness. And for espresso fiends, it contains the magnesium, calcium, potassium and bicarbonates to brew superior espresso “while keeping your machine running at peak performance.” A box containing twelve mineral packs (enough for 12 gallons of brewing water) costs $15 each, for coffee and espresso. That shakes out to about 10 cents per cup. For $25, you get your minerals in bulk, with 12 packets of minerals to enhance five gallons of water each. Just like a packet of sugar or salt, these mineral packets can hang out on your shelf basically forever. Third Wave Water was created by Taylor Minor, founder of Ohio-based Telemetry Coffee Roasters, and coffee entrepreneur Charles Nick.
There’s just one more thing to know: When you’re attempting to wow with your water, bust out the term “water terroir.” As with wine, the soil, topography, and climate from whence your brewing water comes will become part of its characteristic flavor. How deliciously geeky is that?
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