Water, the weakest link in espresso brewing?

Coffee experiment

I recently disconnected my Everpure Claris water filter because of a my house renovation. This left me with a problem. Where could I find filtered and softened water for my espresso machine? Luckily my friend Frans Goddijn helped me out. He supplied me with bottled water that was filtered with his BWT Bestmax premium water filter.

After feeding the water to my espresso machine I noticed a significant improvement. There was a clear improvement of the cup quality of the espresso’s.

After that I decided not to reinstall the Everpure water filter. Instead of that I installed a DVA water softener. The water was softened but here was problem . It did not taste good. Cold from the tap you could clearly notice an off taste. I also brewed some too freshly roasted coffee with it and I noticed a clear salty taste. An explanation for this could be under extraction of the coffee. Also the coffee seemed to have more body and less fine delicate flavors. I also tested the DVA filtered water with different green tea’s. The tea’s were sweet but lacked delicate subtleties and character.

In audio terms I would say, it enhanced bass and mid tones, but there was a drop in the high frequencies.

After my tests it became clear, water has a big impact on brewing. Therefore I decided to buy exactly the same water filter as Frans. After installing the Bestmax water filter the taste of the espresso’s improved substantially. The flavor can be described as more open, more delicate, more character. Also the percentage of acceptable cups went up.

One final word. I’m not saying that Everpure Claris water filter is less good than the BWT Bestmax premium water filter. Less taste fidelity could have been the result of mistreatment or overuse of the water filter. I’m however not planning to switch back.

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