Because water is the primary ingredient in coffee and tea, it is essential that these products start with high-quality water. Neglecting water quality can lead to financial and environmental implications for a business. The challenge is to find a water filtration solution that creates the perfect balance between protecting an operation’s brewing equipment investment and capturing the desired taste and aroma of its coffee, espresso, tea and other beverages.
Once that harmony is achieved, both the business and customer experience impact will be measurable and dramatic.
All water has traces of minerals in its composition, since water, by nature, absorbs minerals such as calcium, magnesium, carbonate and sulfate, which it then carries into the food chain. A certain amount of minerals in the water is necessary to produce a pleasant flavor and to aid the extraction of oils from the coffee bean. However, certain minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, make the water hard, which can be good and bad for both the beverage and the brewing equipment.
Untreated water can be detrimental to beverages and equipment. Too much dissolved mineral content can cause over-extraction of the grind, causing a bitter beverage and leading to limescale, which can damage heating elements and sensors and cause clogging in the equipment. Many water-using appliances, such as ice machines, also are susceptible to scale buildup. In addition to increased machine downtime, more maintenance calls and shortened equipment life, all of which have a negative cost impact on a business, equipment scale also has an environmental impact. One-quarter inch of lime scale can cause up to a 30% decrease in energy efficiency, which also contributes to higher energy bills.
Everpure, a global supplier of commercial water treatment products to the foodservice industry, has helped show baristas and chefs how using premium water helps capture the desired taste and aroma of coffee and espresso beverages. In 2009, Everpure was selected for a three-year term as the World Barista Championship’s (WBC) Official Water Sponsor. The WBC is the preeminent international coffee competition. Founded by the Specialty Coffee Assn. of Europe and the Specialty Coffee Assn. of America, the WBC focuses on promoting excellence in coffee, advancing the barista profession and engaging a worldwide audience with an annual championship event that serves as the culmination of local and regional events around the globe.
As the official sponsor, Everpure provides water that meets the exacting standards of the WBC and the barista contestants. The champions are also awarded Everpure’s Claris system. This new, innovative specialty coffee solution helps reduce lime scale and harmful contaminants that affect water taste and odor, ultimately affecting the quality of the brewed coffee, espresso, tea and other drinks. Along with offering exceptional protection for an operation’s brewing and steam equipment, the Claris system combines water filtration with tailored hardness-setting capabilities in a compact package to help operators find the right balance and capture the desired taste they are looking for, given the specific characteristics of their source water.
This year the competition took place in London from June 23 to 25, and hosted a record 11,363 visitors and just under 300 international exhibitors. The finals lasted more than three hours, and were the conclusion to a three-day tournament. In it, contestants had fifteen minutes to prepare four espressos, four cappuccinos and four “signature drinks,” which are handcrafted beverages that must contain coffee, for a panel of judges. Other judges rate the contestant on technical skills. Fifty-two nations competed in the competition, with U.S. barista Michael Phillips from Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea claiming first place. Other finalists were (listed in order of place): Raul Rodas of Guatemala; Scottie Callaghan of Australia; Colin Harmon of Ireland; Soren Stiller Markussen of Denmark, and Stefanos Domatiotis of Greece. Thousands of spectators were on site to watch the competition, and the live stream Web video drew another 200,000-plus viewers.