How to Test Water for Coffee Using a TDS Meter

How To Test Water for Coffee

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Water is a very complicated topic, especially when it comes to brewing coffee. So for the sake of keeping things simple, I’m going to show you how you can test your water’s purity using a TDS meter.

Is the purest water the best water for coffee?

Not necessarily.

But I’d rather brew coffee with the purest water possible than water that is completely unfiltered. Why? Because the more minerals there are in your water, the more of an affect (positive or negative) your water will have on how your coffee brews.

For me, I want to eliminate as many variables as possible for the most consistent brew every time. Therefore, the purer my water is the more consistent my brewed coffee turns out with all else being equal.

If you’d like to really understand the impact of water on coffee, I highly recommend checking out Jim Schulman’s guide here.

Using a TDS Meter

I bought HM Digital TDS-4 recently because I realized that I knew almost nothing about the water I was using to brew my coffee.

This easy-to-use digital TDS meter gives you a quick reading of the number of total dissolved solids (TDS) in your drinking water. This particular version compensates for different water temperatures too. In other words, even if your water is being measured at a higher temperature, the TDS reading will not be affected.

What the HM Digital TDS-4 is not

This is not a tool for identifying the different minerals that are in your water. It simply tells you the TDS in ppm, plain and simple.

This information is important because TDS does play a role in your coffee’s quality. Sure, it’s not the only important component, but it’s definitely one of them.

Ideal TDS for Coffee?

I’ve done some research and seen varying information, but you definitely do want some TDS in your water for coffee, particularly Calcium Carbonate and Alkalinity.

TDS in the range of 50-150ppm is ideal for coffee according to the folks at OptiPure. I’ve tested some Arrowhead bottled water and found it in this range, while my own tap water and Brita filtered tap water tends to fall under 50.

Comparing my water

I thought it would be fun to see how the TDS changed across my tap water, old filter, and new filter, so I shot this video:

What I can conclude from this test is basically nothing aside from the fact that my water is pretty pure.

Again, this doesn’t mean that it’s perfect for coffee, but at least I’ve figured out one of the variables in measuring my water’s quality for brewing coffee.

I’ve got A LOT to learn about water

It’s crazy how complex the topic of water is, but what’s even crazier is how little attention it gets.

I’ll be the first to admit that I find the topic itself to be somewhat dry, but this is mostly because of how little I know and understand.

I guess a big reason I put this post together is so I could start somewhere. I think it’s important to not be completely in the dark about your water, which is another reason I decided to type this up for you.

Are you a water expert?

If you know some a lot about water, particularly as it relates to brewing coffee I’d love to learn from you. Please leave a comment below with any insights you have about brewing coffee with the best water.


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