Water makes up more than 90% of your coffee, so it would be smart to assume that the water you’re using in your coffee machine will affect the taste of the coffee you produce and the ongoing maintenance of your equipment.
Understanding water begins at the first level; the atom level. Different element compositions such as calcium, magnesium, carbonate, and bicarbonate are some minerals that can affect how “hard” or “soft” your water is and, as a consequence will affect the way your coffee tastes. Water that contains high levels of minerals is considered "hard," and water that contains a lower level of these minerals is considered "soft."
How does water affect the way your coffee tastes?
When hard water is used to make coffee, the end product can taste slightly bitter and metallic, due to the high levels of minerals. On the other hand, soft water will produce a cup of coffee that is flat and lacks body.
Check out how your city ranks up against other Australian cities in water hardness (the below table ranks different Australian cities and their water hardness levels from the highest to lowest). If you live in the country, you may be more likely to experience hard water as supplies are most often obtained primarily by groundwater sources.
|Metropolitan Supply||Total Hardness (mg/L CaCO3)||Source of Data|
|1. Brisbane - Mt Crosby||106-143 mg/L||BCC, 2008|
|2. Brisbane - North Pine||89-97 mg/L||BCC, 2008|
|3. Adelaide - Hope Valley||81-140 mg/L||SA Water, 2008|
|4. Adelaide - Metropolitan||80-157 mg/L||SA Water, 2008|
|5. Sydney||51-65 mg/L||Sydney Water 2005|
|6. Melbourne - City West Water||15-29 mg/L||City West Water, 2007|
|7. Melbourne||10-26 mg/L||Melbourne Water 2006|
Soft: 0 to 75 mg/L CaCO3
Moderate: 75 to 150 mg/L CaCO3
Hard: 150 to 300 mg/L CaCO3
How does water affect your coffee machine?
The quality of the water in your area will determine the rate at which scale will build-up in your coffee machine. Specifically, scale occurs in the steam boiler, on the joints in a coffee machine and on the hydraulic circuit. This build-up of scale effects your coffee machine's performance and eventually the equipment will fail if it is not treated or prevented.
If your water is excessively hard then it is likely that oxidation will occur, meaning, rust and corrosion will develop within your coffee machine. Choosing the right water filter for your coffee machine will not only provide you with superior in cup quality, but will also ensure that your machine is running to manufacturer’s specifications. By regularly replacing your water filter, this will decrease the likelihood of unnecessary maintenance due to mineral build up in your coffee machine.