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Spring Awakening: Good water makes good coffee

photo-3This post begins with an admission.

I have been known to (ahem) forget to pay the water bill and not discover the oversight until the county cuts the utility. But I learn from my mistakes! As soon as it happens, I explain to the children that not showering is fun, and you can always brush your teeth with one of those big jugs of spring water that daddy rushed to the store to buy.

The last time this happened, the utility came back on a mere four hours after it was cut, and we had several gallons of spring water left.

I decided to use some of this water to make a pot of coffee, and let me just say: wow, wow, wow, wow.

The coffee tasted so fresh and clean. We had two whole-bean blends in the house (Batdorf & Bronson’s Dancing Goats, and Peet’s Major Dickason Blend), and we could really taste their distinct differences like never before. The Dancing Goats, which we often buy, reveals a lively sweet note when made with spring water. The Major Dickason tasted more smoky.

We’re never going back to tap.

Has anyone else made this leap?

83 comments Add your comment

phar71

February 16th, 2010
9:29 am

I have not, but would using filtered water from a Brita work the same?

Walt

February 16th, 2010
10:06 am

I used bottled spring water exclusively for my coffee. It is a profound difference over tap water. I do the same when I brew beer. I have for years.

Jill

February 16th, 2010
10:17 am

John, seriously?
Considering that water is the main ingredient in coffee -duh!

Dookie-Shoot

February 16th, 2010
10:27 am

Kristin

February 16th, 2010
10:52 am

I will have to try this! My husband and I stayed with friends in Norway over the summer and they use a French Press to make coffee – we are hooked! We still use an automatic drip for during the week – but the weekend we bust out the French Press and enjoy!

Cynthia

February 16th, 2010
11:05 am

Interesting! I am not working right now so bottled water not part of my budget, just straight from the tap. Once a steady paycheck is coming in, I’ll give it a try to see the difference. I love my coffee!

GeorgiaSpoons

February 16th, 2010
11:17 am

what would be the diff in bottled water and the filtered water from my fridge?

SCS

February 16th, 2010
11:17 am

I use filtered water from my refrigerator. Would never use tap water, its like pouring soda on top of an aged single-malt scotch, yuck!

Jim Dimmick

February 16th, 2010
11:17 am

“good coffee”? let’s not go overboard here. I know the cost of a gallon of water (in City of Atlanta) is rising, but it’s still not $1/gallon (Kroger). I’ll stick with my so-so city of Atlanta water just suffer through my marginal morning cup o Joe.

The Big Maru

February 16th, 2010
11:22 am

No joke, my wife and I found that the really stinky tap water that you get on the GA and FL coasts seems to make coffee much less acidic. Something about the sulphur, I guess. We would actually fill up 3 or 4 gallon jugs to bring back to ATL whenever we were down that way on vacation.

james landrum

February 16th, 2010
11:29 am

Sorry, buying packaged water is:

1. A waste of money
2. A cause of more plastic jugs in landfills

So, take your tap water and get it tested,compare the results to the “packaged” water.
See how silly you are being.

Nora

February 16th, 2010
11:36 am

@ The Big Maru: I am from Coastal Georgia but now live in Atlanta. Quite the opposite, I buy or carry water when I go to Brunswick for a visit. Although I grew up with the sulphur water, I still hate it whenever I’m down there (when you live there you gradually get used to it and don’t notice it any more.) I can’t say that I ever noticed it making the coffee taste any better. ???

Regarding French Press coffee, I have heard that unfiltered coffee can raise cholesterol levels. Anybody else heard that? I think that goes for the permanent filters as well (as opposed to paper filters).

Stephen

February 16th, 2010
11:52 am

Nora asked “I have heard that unfiltered coffee can raise cholesterol levels. Anybody else heard that?”

It seems to be true. See this article from MSN: http://health.msn.com/health-topics/cholesterol/articlepage.aspx?cp-documentid=100110386

dood

February 16th, 2010
11:55 am

p Boy- I don’t dilute mine, I pour it directly into the coffee maker. It’s best when it is fresh but some people prefer to chill it first.

Roekest

February 16th, 2010
11:58 am

Am I the only one missing the glaring oversight in this post? This d-bag doesn’t pay his bills until the utilities are cut off?? Great example you’re setting for your kids. I guess that explains that stupid, “Aw, shucks!” grin you got plastered all over your Charlie Chaplin.

CommonSenseRules

February 16th, 2010
11:59 am

Not having used tap water for coffee in over 20 years [Britta, anyone?], I can only ask, what have you been thinking, John?
Spend $$$ for Peet’s, and then wreck it with GA bilge!! Yuck!

dood

February 16th, 2010
12:02 pm

Roekest – cut him some slack-he writes for the AJC and we all know what that place is going through. He probably pays his bills when the paycheck comes.

Petie The Crab

February 16th, 2010
12:02 pm

Dadgum Johnny Boy, all this came out of not paying your water bill and having it cut off for non-payment. I don’t believe I’d told that.

Petie The Crab

February 16th, 2010
12:08 pm

John- John, you snuck in a nice little free ad for Kroger. Did they give you a free can of coffee for that?

SLP

February 16th, 2010
12:08 pm

the only way to make coffee !!!

Deborah

February 16th, 2010
12:08 pm

I have recently heard about and started purchasing Caffe Sanora coffee, a coffee made with organic unroasted coffee beans (actually made by using some sort of Healthy roast process). It is supposed to have more anitioxidants than green tea and tastes great. I am hoping that local grocery stores or specialty food stores will start carrying this so I won’t have to pay shipping charges!

Totally Agree!

February 16th, 2010
12:29 pm

have to say I totally agree w/ you – I love Pet Major Dickason’s coffee beans! Prolly the best in town! Can’t get enough of that major dickason’s.

Wow

February 16th, 2010
12:45 pm

I’ve got a similar forgetfulness with the water bill, so I just send them a pretty big check every few months and leave a credit on the account. I’m not in the city of Atlanta, so $200 will last a long while. As for bottled water in the coffee, this is one of the oldest food tips in the book.. I tend to just use the Britta water though; still much better than tap.

amy

February 16th, 2010
12:46 pm

wow, is public school education in GA really that bad that, as evidenced by many of the above comments, people really don’t know the difference between distilled/filtered water (the same thing, whether its in a bottle or your brita pitcher) and SPRING water, which comes from a natural spring?

definitely hope we can move back north before we have kids that are school age. sheesh.

KB's&Coffee

February 16th, 2010
12:53 pm

If you make coffee the correct way—with a french press– you have to boil the water which purifies it anyway.

Kim

February 16th, 2010
12:55 pm

Don’t let the door hit ya Amy (& I’m not even a southerner!). Yep, chilled spring water, you CAN taste the difference. Good morNING!!

Drew

February 16th, 2010
12:57 pm

Filtered water is fine. I find I drink more water too, if it’s filtered.

Rodney

February 16th, 2010
12:59 pm

We all hope for that too, Amy.

I guess I never noticed the difference in water (whilst brewing) because I brew a STOUT pot. I’m betting you could use sewer water in mine and never know the difference (kidding, of course – well, kinda).

BIG Up-s to Peet’s. :)

I may try using filtered and see if I notice a change but I doubt I’d ever buy water just for coffee.

freidenker

February 16th, 2010
1:01 pm

Walt is dead-on on both counts, though plain ol’ well water is the BEST. Alot of bottled ’spring water’ is really filtered municipal supply. I have a maker with a built-in brita and in an emergency have had to used municipal tap water; doesn’t cut it.

Voice of Reason

February 16th, 2010
1:03 pm

There is indeed a MAJOR difference!

KB’s&Coffee- It is not only an issue of purity, but also of chemicals(chlorine and such) and minerals.

An option that is easier on the environment is to buy a dispenser and use the larger, 5 gallon containers that get cleaned and reused.

The same premise is true when making tea…much better when made using bottled water.

You're not serious

February 16th, 2010
1:05 pm

” I explain to the children that not showering is fun” Sounds like you’re prepping them for Match.com

Tony

February 16th, 2010
1:06 pm

Roekest, you’ve missed some of the coverage of the AJC’s cutbacks. Mr. Kessler may well be unable to pay the utility bills. God knows I was late more than a few times in my own newspaper days.

Really?

February 16th, 2010
1:23 pm

Seems that MR. Kessler is also unable to afford a haircut, given his appearance in the head shot.

Steve

February 16th, 2010
1:25 pm

I also use the filtered water from my fridge for drinking. It’s a no brainer. I also fill up old water bottles from the filtered water and keep them in the fridge, sanitizing them in the dishwasher frequently.

Saves a ton of money and the water is WAYYYYYYY better than Atlanta tap water (which can’t be good for you).

Roaster_Guy

February 16th, 2010
1:28 pm

What’s the point of worrying about the water when the coffee is stale? Roasted coffee starts to decay in flavor hours after roasting. I have been roasting at home for years. Buying the green beans is cheaper ($3.00 a lb less that premium brands in the store) and you roast, grind & brew, all while maintaining fresh coffee.
We do it with bread (bread machines) and with scratch cooking, why not coffee?

Mark

February 16th, 2010
1:37 pm

No need for plastic bottles—filtered is fine but it should be cold (or cool) for auto-drip. As important and one I’m sure most of us don’t do is keep our equipment extra clean. Cool, filtered water and clean equipment will always make a better brew. Here’s a good article from the National Coffee Association: http://www.ncausa.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=71

Kate

February 16th, 2010
1:57 pm

I don’t buy bottled water due to the expense and bad environmental impact (what is it with all those huge cases of bottled water people are always rolling out of Costco with – it’s horrifying!).

I use a filter on the tap. Very cheap – like $30/year. Much better tasting water. And I use only that filtered water for any drinking or cooking. I think it matters with any water-intensive edible things – soup for instance – as much as with coffee.

Sure, the stuff from the tap is safe. But you realize how bad it tastes only after you’ve had filtered.

John Kessler

February 16th, 2010
2:15 pm

Really? – You should see my hair now. Verging on Cousin It territory.

Jim R.

February 16th, 2010
2:49 pm

I thought you looked kinda creepy and kooky..A certain amount of minerals are required in water to successfully extract the flavor from the beans. Distilled or softened (a process that removes minerals) water generally leads to a less flavorful brew. Water from Coastal Georgia is most likely high in minerals and I guess could lead to a more robust flavor. The exception to this is if the mineral is sulphur, think rotten eggs. My favorite is the Cuisinart brewer with a grinder built in. Beans to brew in one fell swoop.

The Big Maru

February 16th, 2010
3:54 pm

Just as a clarification, I didn’t say that the sulphur-water from the GA coast necessarily makes coffee taste better, but it eems to make it mellower and removes the bitterness. Not that I’m drinking real high-end coffee anyway…

Browncoat

February 16th, 2010
4:18 pm

Try a blind taste taste to see if it actually tastes better, or if its all in your head.

hp

February 16th, 2010
4:21 pm

A Coffee Toddy makes the BEST coffee around. http://www.toddycafe.com/
It was a Christmas gift and it is amazing!!! YUM YUM!

coffee snob

February 16th, 2010
4:25 pm

(1) cold filtered water (2) burr grinder – virtuoso set to #15 (3) coffee maker that brings water up to correct temperature (200 degrees) – technivorm mocca master is a good one (4) a thermal carafe to hold the coffee (NEVER leave it in the pot on the burner). good luck finding good beans, but the above works for me during the week. of course, french press and/or moka pot espresso is preferred on the weekends. tap water+blade grinder+general purpose drip coffee maker+drinking the 2nd/3rd/subsequent cup from a pot left on a burner = disgusting hot liquid mess, not coffee.

Vote For Pedro

February 16th, 2010
4:31 pm

I use tap water except I send it through the spray nozzle. The aerating effect of the spray nozzle increases the brew’s flavor profiles dramatically! You will be amazed.

Devildog

February 16th, 2010
5:02 pm

Ever try a pinch of salt? That’s what makes Marine Corps coffee best in the world.

John Kessler

February 16th, 2010
5:12 pm

Well, the water’s only been cut off twice over the 13 years I’ve lived in the house. Okay…three times…

The Cynthia

February 16th, 2010
5:13 pm

This definitely calls for a blind taste test using different waters: a couple of different types of spring water, distilled, tap from a couple of municipalities. But they would all have to be made with the same coffee maker.

I always use filtered water to make my tea. Coffee does not touch these lips.

And we need to have a little talk about personal fiscal responsibility and/or organizational habits.

[...] Spring Awakening: Good water makes good coffee By 326melroseavenue And our continuing saga of trying to find that great coffee. Dancing Goats did get a mention which is our favorite coffee place. From John Kessler’s Food and More blog… [...]

Bob from Accounttemps

February 16th, 2010
5:17 pm

John — IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT!! We live in Dekalb and they have twice cut off our water for non-payment — only they never sent us a bill. Believe it or not, we can’t get them to send us a bill and we’ve been up to management trying to fix the issue. Last time they shut off the water on a Friday before a 3 day weekend. Incompetence of this magnitude can only be found with the guvmunt – oh, and the airlnes.

Nora

February 16th, 2010
5:21 pm

Amy, as we ignorant Southerners say to homesick Yankees, “Delta is ready when you are”. Buh, bye…