February 6, 2024

Coffee Science —

Water in Brewing: Understanding the Role of Water in Coffee

Water in Brewing

Understanding the Role of Water in Coffee.

Written by Mekki Jaidi

Photos by Taylor Glenn

Updated on February 6, 2024

The (Not-So) Hidden Ingredient

Water, often taken for granted, plays a pivotal role in the art of brewing the perfect cup of coffee. Comprising about 98% of your brew, the quality of water used can be as crucial as the choice of coffee beans themselves.

Mekki Jaidi, formerly in New York finance, founded Outpost in Jackson Hole in 2014. He expanded into O2 Cleaning, Terrain, and Provisions. In 2021, he acquired Snake River Roasting Co. He actively contributes to the Jackson Hole community through nonprofit work and lives there with his wife, two daughters, and son.​

This post delves into the science behind water quality and its profound impact on your coffee experience. It not only influences the extraction of flavors but also affects the aroma, body, and overall balance of your coffee, making it an indispensable element in achieving that perfect cup.

dark roast


Morning Lift

Kirby's First Tram honors the legacy of Kirby, Jackson Hole's Ski Patroller. A coffee steeped in mountain adventure and early morning thrill, it's a rich, bold salute to fresh powder and the exhilaration of the day's first tram.

The Science of Water in Coffee Brewing.

Water is the silent conductor orchestrating the extraction of flavors from coffee grounds. The minerals present in water, such as magnesium and calcium, interact with coffee particles, influencing the extraction process and the taste profile of your brew.

Utilizing water that meets optimal quality standards is essential for any coffee aficionado or business aiming to serve superior coffee.

Ideal Water Characteristics.

According to the Specialty Coffee Association, the ideal water for coffee brewing should have a neutral pH level around 7, and a total dissolved solids (TDS) content between 75 and 250 parts per million (ppm). These conditions ensure a balanced extraction of flavors, avoiding overly acidic or bland tastes.

While achieving the ideal pH and TDS levels for coffee brewing can be challenging to measure, a practical solution is to opt for bottled spring water from your grocery store, which often meets these brewing standards, or simply filter your water before brewing at home.

Brewing Temperature

The temperature of water is critical in extracting the myriad of flavors coffee has to offer. The Specialty Coffee Association recommends a temperature range of 92–96°C ( 197-204°F ) for optimal extraction. Deviations from this range can lead to over-extraction or under-extraction, affecting the overall quality and taste of the coffee.

Regular Maintenance

To maintain the quality of your coffee, regular descaling of coffee makers is crucial. This process removes mineral buildup, which can affect the taste and efficiency of your coffee brewing equipment. This is especially true for high-altitude areas like Jackson Hole.

Conclusion: The Secret Ingredient

In the world of coffee brewing, water quality is not just a detail – it's a cornerstone. By paying attention to the water you use, you can elevate your coffee experience, ensuring each cup is not just good, but exceptional.

other stories

bean there

Frosty Brews

From the brewing process to the final sip, winter adds its own flavor notes to your coffee experience.

Don't Have a Grinder?

Navigating coffee grinding dilemmas: Innovative solutions for the perfect grind, even without a grinder.

Behind Our Beans: Cait

Trace Cait's journey: From Wisconsin's cozy coffee beginnings to crafting connections in Jackson Hole.

Home-Brewed Cold Brew

Discover the art of cold brew at home: Simple steps and expert tips for a refreshing coffee experience.