We all loathe taking that first sip of a long awaited coffee only to discover a flat, bitter, vinegary brew that leaves an awful taste in your mouth.
Our first instinct is to blame the barista or the actual coffee itself, reminding ourselves to pick a different cafe next time.
What many of you may be surprised to find out, however, is that poor tasting coffee often has nothing to do with the beans or the brewing - in fact, it comes down to the quality of the water used.
"But how", you ask, "is water responsible for the taste when all the flavour comes from the coffee beans?"
Great question - and that's what we're about to explain.
1. Tap water is treated with chemicals
In Australia, up to 50 chemicals are added to our tap water for a number of purification and health purposes - including, but not limited to, Chlorine, Fluoride and Aluminium.
While these chemicals are not necessarily harmful to our health, it can mean that drinking a cup of water straight from the tap often tastes like a taking a mouthful from a swimming pool. Instead, many of us rely on water filters or bottled water to get our high quality H2o.
Now let's do the math. A cup of coffee is up to 98% water - so why would we use the standard tap water we don't like to to drink in our specialty coffee? Those chemical flavours won't be completely masked by your coffee, leaving you with an undesired taste that will make you want to tip your cup down the sink.
2. Boiling water destroys the flavour
If you're making coffee at home and are using your standard kitchen kettle, there's a good chance you're boiling your water to 100°C - that is the temperature water boils at after all.
Water that is too hot, however, actually burns your coffee - and no one wants that blackened taste in their cup first thing on a Monday morning.
The temperatures you should be aiming for are between 91°C and 96°C a- something easily achieved with a slightly fancier kettle that offers variable temperatures, such as the Brewista 1.2L Variable Kettle, the Hario Buono Kettle or the Brewista Artisan 600ml Hypercolor Kettle (seriously though - those colours!). Trust us - your taste buds will thank you!
And while you're at it? Never try and get a head start by filling your kettle with hot tap water. Hot tap water isn't fresh and will only alter the flavour further. Starting with fresh, cold water is always best.
3. A bit of balance goes a long way
When we create our roast profiles at Honeybird HQ, we do it with perfectly balanced water; therefore, if you want to replicate those profiles, you also need to use perfectly balanced water. So how do you achieve that?
You best thing you can do is to 'clean' your water by using a filter. It will take away all of those additives that create that chemical taste, without taking away the good stuff you still need for a quality brew.
We take our water as seriously as we take our coffee, so if you're willing to invest in your kitchen sink like we are, consider the C150 Finest Coffee Machine Water Filter Kit. You'll not only improve the taste of your coffee, but be able to enjoy a glass of water straight from your tap a whole lot more.
If you're renting or aren't prepared to splash out too much (see what we did there?), a filter jug is the easiest way to improve your H2o. There are plenty of shapes and sizes available, and all you have to do it fill it up and pop it in the fridge!