Can I Use Tap Water to Make Coffee? Read This First!

Water is an important component in making a cup of coffee. It can make or break its taste. So, can I use tap water to make coffee?

use tap water to make coffee - water flowing out a faucet
Tap water can be used in making a great-tasting coffee

When I was learning how to make coffee, there was this issue that I kept wondering about. Can I use tap water to make coffee?

The answer to this question is, YES!

After conducting comprehensive research, I found that there was no harm in making coffee using tap water.

During my research, I found that as long as tap water is clean and fresh regarding taste, appearance, and smell, you can use it to make coffee. The rule is that, if it tastes good to drink, then it can make a great-tasting cup of coffee.

Knowing that tap water is good for making coffee is a great relief. However, it doesn’t mean that all you will need to do is turn the tap and use the water to make your coffee. If you want to make great-tasting and quality coffee using tap water, you need to understand a few things.

How Does Water Affect The Taste Of Your Coffee?

Water is one element that many people overlook when it comes to making coffee. Most people consider the coffee beans, temperature, and method of brewing coffee as the most important factors to take note of when it comes to making a tasty cup of coffee.

However, for those of us who care about every detail that goes into making coffee, we know how important it is to use quality water. By quality, it means the water should not have a negative effect on the taste, aroma, or any other character that defines a good cup of coffee.

The minerals in the water and the temperature you use to make coffee are responsible for the extraction of flavors from oil in coffee beans. The water should have balanced minerals, and you use the right coffee-making temperatures to get a good-tasting and quality coffee.

Does Tap Water Affect The Taste Of Coffee?

The quality and taste of your coffee will vary from time to time when you use tap water to make it. There are chemicals used in the treatment of tap water. The companies responsible for water treatment add the chemicals at different times.

At times, the water will have high mineral contents while some days it will have low mineral content. This means the rate of extraction of flavor will vary which means you will experience different tastes in your coffee.

Not all minerals and compounds in tap water will add a positive or refreshing taste to your coffee. Such include chlorine and fluoride which are added as part of the treatment process. If the two happen to be in excess, you will not like your cup of coffee.

Rate of extraction of flavor vary depending of minerals present

Chlorine kills bacteria in water, but since it is an oxidizer, it will react with the flavors in the coffee. You will end with a cup of coffee that is flat in terms of flavor. It will bitter instead of having a sharp taste.

Chlorine is not the only element in tap water that can alter the taste of your coffee. If the source of the water has other chemicals, your coffee will taste as they do.

For instance, you can have a sulfurous, metallic, or any other worse taste. It all depends on your location and the water source before treatment.

Generally, no matter how accurate you try to be in measuring beans, water, and controlling temperatures, your coffee won’t taste the same always when using tap water to make it. There will be a periodic variation of taste.

Does Tap Water Interfere With The Acidity Of Coffee?

Tap water has a relatively balanced pH level of around 6 to 9. This means your coffee will have a balanced acidity level.

However, if it has high chlorine content, it will have a low pH level. This means your cup of coffee will not have a sharp taste.

Some people like taking coffee because of the sharp taste it has due to high acidity. Well, for me I like the magic that coffee does in my body after taking it.

If your love for coffee starts from the sharp taste when taking it to the energy it gives afterward; then tap water may not be the right choice for you to make coffee. You will feel like your cup of coffee is flat.

Aroma Coffee Made Using Tap Water

Besides the refreshing effect, a cup of coffee gives after taking it, the sweet aroma the coffee produces is another element that makes many people love it. Nothing beats the smell of freshly made coffee in the morning. It is enough to make you part with your bed knowing very how sweet morning sleep is.

When using tap water with too much chlorine, the aroma can be altered. Chlorine will oxidize the aromatics and oils in the coffee which gives that sweet smell. The higher the chlorine in the water, the less the aroma produced.

However, this can only happen if the chlorine in the tap is noticeable when drinking the water. I make my coffee using tap water, and my coffee produces that sweet smell always. However, if you want to make specialty coffee, you will note the difference in aroma.

Maintaining Coffee Making Equipment When Using Tap Water

Making coffee with tap water is not an issue as long it doesn’t have high chlorine amounts. This is because chlorine will cause the formation of hard o-rings and gaskets on the equipment you use to make coffee.

This is worse especially if you use metallic ones because they are highly prone to corrosion. You will be required to replace your equipment regularly which is not cost-effective. However, this will be in extreme cases of the presence of high chlorine in the water.

Like I said at the beginning of the article, a good cup of coffee is not made of good coffee beans, temperature, and following the right method. The cleanliness of the equipment is another element that can’t be overlooked.

If you don’t wash your equipment properly if you are using tap water for coffee making, the linings that will form as a result of chlorine and other minerals will affect the quality of your coffee.

Precaution To Take When Using Tap Water To Make Coffee

The strong odor or taste that often accompanies tap water doesn’t mean you cannot use it to make a good-tasting cup of coffee. You can use filters to get rid of the two negatives. A small faucet-mounted filter can do the trick.

pouring water through a coffee filter
A filter will remove any contaminants and leave Potassium, Calcium, and Magnesium

The filter will remove any contaminants and leave behind important minerals like Potassium, Calcium, and Magnesium. Remember to let the water run a few seconds first to allow any particles that may have settled in the pipe to flow out.

What Is The Best Water To Use When Making Coffee?

The best water to use when making coffee should not have too many or lack minerals. This means distilled water or water that has been softened too much is not the best choice for making coffee. The softening processes have removed most of the minerals.

You will therefore end up with a relatively flavorless cup of coffee because of weak extraction. Then again, hard water will depend on the minerals it has. If it has too much bicarbonate, your coffee will have bitter flavors.

If you are wondering whether you can use bottled water, well you will most likely be spending money buying something you already have in your house. Most of the bottled water is water from the tap! Yes, you read that well – tap water.

The water running from your tap can be the best to use in making coffee. As long as it is clean, odorless, and has good taste, you can use it. The simple filtration process mentioned above can make it good and safe for making a tasty cup of coffee.

Can I Use Tap Water To Make Coffee: The Final Word

Water makes the major part of your coffee. This means it has a significant impact on the taste and quality of the coffee you make. So if you want to get a great-tasting cup of coffee, you need to use the best water.

Does tap water fit to be used in making quality coffee? Well, there is nothing wrong with making coffee using tap water. You will only need to be careful. Be the judge of the tap water in your house.

If it has a gross taste, well, don’t expect any difference with the coffee you will make. It will bear the same bad taste.

The best tap water for making coffee should be fresh and clean in terms of appearance, taste, and smell. Filtering the tap water before use can help you achieve this. You don’t have to use any special water to make your coffee.

Just turn the tap in your house and make quality and tasty cup of coffee!

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  • Aisling O'Connor

    Aisling is an Irish food and drinks writer and journalist fueled by coffee and herbal tea. She followed up her journalism degree with nutrition studies. Find Aisling on LinkedIn.