Water Quality And Why Is It So Important With Your Single Cup Brewer?

Water Quality And Why Is It So Important With Your Single Cup Brewer?

Hard to believe, but a great tasting cup of coffee is actually 98% water – amazing huh? So it stands to reason that you want to know how to have the best tasting water to make it work. Everybody knows that pure water is best to drink, and so what will be going into your coffeemaker should be no different. With a single cup brewer you want to make sure you’re using the best kind of water because internal buildup can cause serious problems over the long haul with the internal working parts. When minerals that occur organically in a water supply accumulate; this leads to a need to “descale” your brewer.

The terms strictly means cutting through the buildup of lime, calcium, and other alkaline-based mineral deposits on a periodic basis with the use of a product like vinegar, or another that is acid-based to be able to “attack” the opposing compound, alkaline Read all about the in’s and out’s of descaling here.

What is “Hard Water”?

You may have heard people a time or two talking about “hard water” and what does that mean exactly?

Hard water just means it contains trace minerals naturally occurring..Anything in your home that has a great deal of contact with water on a continuous basis, such as the inside of your washing machine, toilet bowl, etc….if you see a periodic light brown “ring” of buildup it is a sign that you probably have hard water.This is par for the course if you’re getting a municipal water supply. And let’s not forget that well water has even more hard qualities too!

Some people who want to counteract this problem start looking at water softeners, but these are not cheap: like the neighborhood of several hundred dollars to start with.

And some people have used salt as a water softener, but cost and effort aside, should you consider a water softener? Honestly the answer is no as softened water has a big disadvantage of tending to clump up in the grounds during the brewing process and not being able to fully penetrate the grounds well which could lead to…ick, not very good coffee overall and stalled machine performance output too.

So bottom line..consider a water softener for other household chores just not this!

What About “Distilled” Water? Is It OK to Use?

There are some people who use distilled water for everyday purposes…distilled means that the water has been treated to remove trace elements. Truth be told, though, our body does need a certain amount of minerals from a nutrition viewpoint more than practical. Distilled water is almost like drinking liquid vapor…there are people who claim it tastes “flat”, but others report not noticing anything different.

So yes, distilled water is OK but there are other options (see last paragraph) Due to its demineralized status, distilled water leaves virtually no (or very little) buildup within the brewer unit which makes it appealing to some consumers.

However, no buildup does not mean no problems. Case in point would be the Keurig 2.0 brewer series, which has built-in technology algorithms, and the use of distilled water sets off a “reject” signal…the trace minerals present in water have this ability, interesting stuff huh?

Is “Reverse Osmosis” (RO) the Same as Distilled Water?

Reverse osmosis is another procedure like the distillation process in that the technology (which was developed back in the 70s in the food service industry) uses a cross-filtration process with a specially designed membrane to filter out contaminants from the water supply. Although it does filter out baddies like mercury, chlorine, cadmium, etc., it also filters out the good mineral compounds too, that although they do not create brewer buildup, they benefit us healthwise.

You CAN use distilled or RO water in a single-cup brewer (barring the 2.0 Keurig series mentioned) – some people think it tastes flat but others don’t think the taste of their coffee is affected one iota. As the saying goes “Different strokes for different folks”!

Why Filtered Water Is Top Notch

For the life of your brewer to be maintained well, it’s best to look to filtered water. There are several ways to get there. One is by the use of a water filter kit that actually is inserted into the reservoir of the brewer and by the addition of a cartridge filled with carbon pellets, it keeps the water on standby pure longer. You periodically change the carbon cartridges on an every-three month basis give or take. One example of a good single cup brewer that has this feature readily available is the Keurig K45 Elite.

Also, the 2.0 Keurig models too have water filtration options too; the kits look a little bit different in appearance but they are made to go into the brewer reservoir as well and you periodically change the cartridge.

The manufacturer website states for all intents and purposes, the bottled and filtered water will provide the best performance on your Keurig brewer (if you’re interested in a Keurig per-se ) and that descaling will be more painless.

See my post for the various water filter assembly kits that are available: Which Keurig Water Filter Is Best?

Another option to consider if you are looking at brewers and one you’ve got your heart set on doesn’t have the water filter kit included; consider looking into a Brita pitcher. They look just like what their name implies and help minimize the negative parts of water so it tastes better and is better for you. They are attractive-looking too and a drop in the bucket compared to what you might spend on a water softener.

Will I Still Have to Descale My Brewer If the Water Quality Is Better?

Yes. you’ll still have to; because “purified” water still does contain trace minerals, and the minerals are what cause that buildup to happen. “Purified” just means that all the nasty stuff like chlorine and mercury is filtered out making it taste much better and being safer to consume. However with good quality water you’ll find that descaling will be easier to manage if you’ve got fewer impurities to deal with.

I hope this helps some of you guys out there who needed clarification on some things like this, as that simple clear liquid thing we call h20 is pretty amazingly complex!


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