Why does water for coffee have to be so hard? Not like pH hard, but like difficult hard. The best water for coffee is literally 99.99% hydrogen and oxygen, with that last little .01% being trace minerals. Oh but what an important—and difficult—.01% it is. In the cafe setting, getting water fine-tuned for coffee making isn’t much of an issue, thanks to reverse-osmosis filtration and remineralization systems that cost thousands of dollars.
But there aren’t many scaled-down versions of these systems for home use (scaled-down price-wise at least), and many companies have offered their take on a more cost-conscious option. There have been powders, filtration pitchers, and recently, a countertop RO/remineralization system. But a new solution (pun definitely intended) wants to give users maximum control over their brew water, and thus their coffee. Lotus Water is a selection of mineralization concentrates that allows you to customize your water for coffee, and it’s live on Kickstarter now!
The brainchild of Nick Chapman and Onyx Coffee Lab’s Lance Hedrick, an accomplished latte art competitor and the multi-time Finalist in the US Brewers Cup, taking 3rd in 2019 and 2nd in 2020, Lotus Water consists of up to four different mineralization concentrates—calcium chloride, magnesium chloride, potassium bicarbonate, and sodium bicarbonate—each bringing something a little different to the brew. Per the Kickstarter, magnesium, and calcium “contribute to your water’s hardness,” with magnesium adding “complexity of flavor and mouthfeel” and calcium tending to “accent sweetness of coffee but maintain clarity.” Likewise, the bicarbs “contribute to water alkalinity;” sodium creates a “smoother cup and can help cut bitterness if the roast is darker or extraction is high” while potassium “lets the fruit flavors shine through.”
Using precision droppers, each drop of Lotus Water constitutes 10ppm and 5ppm for the chlorides and bicarbs, respectively, per 450ml of water to create your ideal brewing blend. And even if all this still seems like a bit much, don’t worry, Lotus Water has a ton of mineralization combinations on their website to help you figure out where to start.
Sprudge was able to get an early release of Lotus Water, and it made a huge difference in the final product. I have used just about every brew water product on the market, and the Lotus Water is one of the more effective mineralization products, due in large part to its ability to be customized—and also because it is already dissolved in water. As someone who favors the brighter, livelier acidity of lighter Nordic-style roasts (are they uncool now? I dunno, but they’re still delicious), being able to fine-tune my brewing water—turning up the chlorides and down the bicarb—to accentuate what I like most is a real boon.
With four weeks left in their Kickstarter campaign, Lotus Water has raised nearly $12,000 of their $20,000 goal, and there are still a host of rewards left. For as low as a $17 pledge, backers can get a streamlined two-ingredient kit consisting of vials of calcium chloride and sodium bicarbonate as well as a 450ml mixer bottle. The full advanced kit of all four solutions is available for just $12 more. And the turnaround time on all the rewards is quick, with kits expected to start shipping out in July of this year.
Lotus Water offers an exciting next step in home coffee customization. Whether you’re a set-it-and-forget-it type or a constant tinkerer, modifying your grind setting and water brew temp to fit the coffee you are currently making (like me, my dark roasts want different parameters than my light roasts), Lotus Water allows you to get as involved—or not—as you would like. For more information, visit Lotus Water’s official website.
All images via Lotus Water.