More and more I realize that the starting point for things really matters – so for coffee the water and the beans are the prime ingredients. So it’s obvious really that what you do with each of these is fairly key to what ends up in your cup. It’s perhaps one of the first things that you learn about coffee that it’s not good to use absolutely boiling water as you make the cup.
Even with instant coffee this can be pretty early learning. The fizz of the granules as the water boils them is interesting but not a prequel to a good cup of coffee. So the water and what you do with it in making the coffee is important.
The water temperature should probably be a good 5 to 10 degrees off boiling point, and for some coffee making even lower than this. I don’t know the full science behind this, but it does make some common sense that the water can be too hot and spoil the grounds (or the instant). So a little patience after the kettle boils can only be a good thing.
I do want to do some experiments with what happens to water after it has boiled: partly for fun, and partly jut to be inquisitive.
It’s also true (OK perhaps not strictly speaking, but certainly practically speaking) that water does not equal water does not equal water.
We all know the stories of washing your hair in hard and soft water areas – or the dishes, or clothes – and perhaps the fact that water can taste different on holiday or in different locations. So it’s got to be no surprise that there are characteristics to the water that we use, and these affect the taste of the water and therefore the effect that the water has on the coffee that is made.
There are even discussions amongst the most eloquent of the coffee aficionados about which spring water is the best one to use to make your coffee.
That may be a bit extreme for most people, but it highlights the point that the water does affect the end result. So water filters may not be a bad idea, or at least being aware that water matters and at least keeping an eye on not scalding the coffee by being too eager after the kettle has boiled.