Home Barista: Get your water right!

Wednesday, 13 November, 2019

Did you know that magnesium is at the top of the list of important water-soluble minerals for brewing the best coffee? 

When you get a cup of bitter coffee, we often think there’s something wrong with the brewing process. Actually, it’s more likely that the water has spoilt the taste.  That shouldn’t be surprising – a cup of coffee is 98% water after all, and water is the key extraction medium for the 800-plus aromatic components from your coffee beans. 

The Paulig Barista Institute, based in Helsinki, says that “it definitely pays” to check your water quality and “even manipulate your water a bit to achieve a more balanced cup of coffee”.

Sadly, our tap water contains as many as 750 different chemicals, of which only a fraction is checked during routine analytical programmes. Unfortunately, the processes and pipes that our water goes through before coming out of our taps has a marked effect on its taste and smell. But purifying your water isn’t enough. Distilled water / RO Water “doesn’t have any taste”, says Bob Mahler, Soil Science and Water Quality professor at the University of Idaho.

This is why many of us prefer the taste of bottled water – “companies that sell bottled water will put in calcium, magnesium or maybe a little bit of salt” to improve taste, says Professor Mahler . This is because magnesium is a flavour carrier. Adding magnesium to water allows for the development of even the most subtle flavours – in your coffee and in your food! 

Even the World Health Organisation (WHO) gives the top three key considerations in supplementing minerals in bottled water as “potential health benefits; taste and product stability”. (WHO also estimates that 50% of South Africans are not consuming enough magnesium – and other studies have found that sports enthusiasts are particularly at risk of low levels of this mineral that is vital for over 300 cellular functions in your body).

Correct hydration is essential for good health. Ideally, we should be drinking eight glasses of purified water a day. And the easiest way to get your family to drink water is to ensure it tastes wonderful.

The good news is that the addition of magnesium balances the mineral levels in water and this is especially obvious when you make your tea or coffee with magnesium-enriched, purified water. Purifying your water and adding magnesium means you get an almost neutral pH value that makes for high-quality water with a unique flavour and delicious taste. Plus you’re replacing essential minerals like magnesium that you lose through day-to-day activities. It’s a win win win situation!

So, you might think this may be difficult to accomplish at home, but there are some great and easily available products on the market that can assist. Our favourite at the moment is the BWT Magnesium Mineralizer which not only produces magnesium-enriched and purified water, it reduces the limescale content of water as well as aroma- and taste-impairing substances, chlorine and  heavy metals, whilst protecting your valuable coffee machine and kettle. And during the unique BWT purification process your water becomes wonderfully tasty and healthy thanks to being enriched with the precious magnesium mineral.

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