Lets start by acknowledging one simple fact. Coffee is between 97-99 percent water, and as such, the quality of the brew water is directly related to the taste of the coffee. You may notice whether you travel to Seattle, Miami, Brooklyn, or Dallas, a Starbucks coffee will taste the same. Now, maybe you don’t like Starbucks, and that’s fine. The point is this: Starbucks tastes the same because (near as we can tell) they have the same water treatment system in every store.
The most consumed beverage in the world is water. The second most consumed beverage is coffee. A good coffee shop not only controls their coffee, but they also control the water. When you have control of both, you are bound to have a good product. This may sound like common sense, but I have been to Dunkin’ Donuts and they frequently have no water treatment at all. Coffee shop owners and franchisees are often not required to install water treatment equipment at all locations. If the coffee is competing with chlorine, chloramine, or other chemicals, I can always tell by the taste.
Surprisingly, one area of concern for many coffee brewers is water that is too pure or has very low total dissolved solids (TDS). Some high-end coffee brewing systems use electrodes to sense the conductivity of the water. If the water is too pure, the system won’t brew properly. For this reason, many brewers insist that the water have some minerals present (usually calcite). Mineral content can also enhance the flavor of brewed coffee.
Reverse osmosis is the technology that removes the largest spectrum of contaminants from the water. In fact, it is the same process used to produce many of the bottled water products available. After many years of experience, we have put together a coffee shop system that consists of 6 stages of filtration, including RO, to produce perfect water for brewing coffee, both drip and espresso.
- Stage 1 – 5 Sediment Micron Pre-Filter
- Stage 2 – Carbon Block Filter
- Stage 3 –2nd Carbon Block Filter
- Stage 4 – 350 GPD Reverse Osmosis Membrane
- Stage 5 – Re-mineralization Cartridge
- Stage 6 – Final GAC Polishing Filter
It’s important to note that water quality varies greatly from location to location. In some regions of the country, water is naturally soft and would require a more modest treatment system. Regardless of your situation, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of a good water test before implementing a water treatment system at any location.
If you are using untreated water in your coffee makers, chances are, your product isn’t as good. The taste will change day-to-day, and your equipment isn’t going to last as long. Even a small system can dramatically improve the quality & consistency of your product. In the end, you’ll have lower operating costs, better coffee, and bottom line, more satisfied customers!
Need help with your coffee shop water system? Talk to a certified water specialist from US Water Systems today at 1-800-608-8792!