The First Step to a Great Cup of Coffee - WATER
Coffee is 98 percent water, which means that no matter how good the coffee beans you start with are, the wrong kind of water can ruin the taste. This can happen for several reasons, all having to do with the chemical makeup of the water you are using, so the first step to a great cup of coffee is to start with great water.
The most important aspect of water is its pH level, which is the balance between the acids and bases in the water. The pH of tap water depends on the mineral levels present in the area where the water is collected, how the water is treated and what kind of pipes the water is run thorough between its source and your faucet.
You can ask your local water department to send you a report on the make up of your local water supply. Pay special attention to the mineral content, as it varies greatly around the country. For example, Albany, NY has 10-times the Magnesium in its water supply then does Baton Rouge, LA. And Lubbock, TX has 30-times the Magnesium of Albany.
Water with a pH level that is below 7.0 lacks appropriate minerals and will taste flat or even bitter and can make your coffee taste the same way. Water with a pH that is higher than 7.0 not only has an unpleasantly astringent taste, it can cause deposits that clog your coffee maker.
Chlorine is often found in tap water and this can have an unpleasant effect on the taste of your coffee. Coffee`s flavor comes from aromatics and oils which are brought out by the roasting process. Chlorine oxidizes these substances, imparting a chemical or medicinal flavor to the coffee. Excessively chlorinated water can also damage the internal parts of your coffee maker, which will change the quality and taste of your coffee as well as requiring more frequent cleaning.
Most tap water is processed for safety rather than for taste, producing coffee that is inconsistently either too weak or too strong, with an unpleasant chemical taste. And, since the amount of Chlorine added to the water supply can vary with the season, it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint this as the cause of poor tasting coffee.
To improve the taste of your home brewed coffee, consider getting a good quality water filter and change the filter cartridges on a regular basis. You can find name brands online or locally at most home goods or hardware stores. It's not even necessary to have a filter plumbed into your kitchen sink. A simple pour over filter costing around $20 will generally serve you well.