loader image
May 01, 2017 /
DIY Water Recipes: The world in two bottles

Note: This post has been updated! In July 2019 we wrote a follow up to this post, using a different set of concentrates to make it even easier to develop your own water recipes. Since having two different sets of instructions was getting confusing, we’ve changed the instructions in this post to bring them into line with each other, and to correct a slight error in the previous calculations. The new post includes an awesome online calculator to help you work out exactly how to remineralise your brew water.

Our Barista Hustle water recipe was and is a useful starting point for building water, giving you a good chance of success when brewing up coffee at home. For those willing to dive a little deeper, we can get far more specific.

The math can get rather complicated so we’ll spare the details until another time. The motivating factor here was to get the two variables (buffer and magnesium) into separate concentrates that are easily added to distilled water. This means you can create any brewing water with some combination of the two. Kind of like an etch-a-sketch for brewing water!

Here’s the recipe to get there:

Ingredients:

Baking Soda – NaHCO3, Sodium Bicarbonate, Bicarb (not baking powder)

Epsom Salts – MgSO4, Magnesium Sulfate (don’t worry about “do not eat” labelling. We’re working with miniscule amounts, diluted 1000x, and boiling the water afterwards.)

Deionised/Distilled/Ultra-pure water (don’t worry about “not for drinking” label. This is to prevent people drinking too much ultra pure water. We’re adding minerals though, so it’s ok)

All ingredients are readily available from most supermarkets etc, and are super cheap.

Equipment:

Scales (accurate to 0.01g)

3 x ~1L water containers (preferably glass, and odour/residue free)

Method:

It’s important to note here also these recipes use magnesium as the source for total hardness; not calcium. This method only requires ingredients easily obtained from any supermarket. This is entry level stuff. You can mess about with calcium, sulphates, chlorides, and pH control when you graduate from here. Alternatively we’d encourage you to buy the book.

The following are a list of recipes where you will add a small amount of each concentrate to a separate volume of fresh deionised water.

Recipe 1 – Melbourne

  • 11.5g Buffer
  • 23.7g Mg
  • 964.8g DI water

This is a close approximation to Melbourne water. This is very “soft” water, low in mineral content, and useful for those long filter brews or cuppings drawn out over five to ten minutes. Would also help with those darker espresso roasts that don’t need as much help extracting out flavours.  

Recipe 2 – WOC Budapest

  • 40.1g Buffer
  • 51.2g Mg
  • 908.7g DI water

This is in the target range for the World Brewers Cup in Budapest (51 mg/L total hardness as CaCO3, 40 mg/L alkalinity). In Budapest the total hardness would come from calcium as well as magnesium, leading to a different flavour outcome — competitors beware …

Recipe 3 – SCA

  • 40.1g Buffer
  • 68.6g Mg
  • 891.3g DI water

This is the official SCA specifications from the SCAA 2009 handbook. Similar to Budapest only the total hardness has gone up slightly. The specifications state a range of total hardness as low as 17 mg/L as CaCO3 up to 85 mg/L as CaCO3. So you could keep your buffer here constant at 40.1g and go as low as 17g of Mg solution or as high as 85g (don’t forget to subtract the total concentrates used from your DI water!).

Recipe 4 – Barista Hustle Water Recipe

  • 40.1g Buffer
  • 80.7g Mg
  • 879.2g DI water

The original Barista Hustle water recipe — where it all began. Add an extra 4.3g of the Mg concentrate and you’re at the top limit of the SCA specifications.

Recipe 5 – Rao Water

  • 50.1g Buffer
  • 75.7g Mg
  • 874.2g DI water

This is close to Scott Rao’s recommended water chemistry for brewing flavourful, balanced coffee. Slightly higher than the SCA in both total hardness and buffer, with a little more buffer than the BH recipe.

Recipe 6 – Hendon Water

  • 30.8g Buffer
  • 99.9g Mg
  • 869.3g

This is close to the centre of Christopher Hendon’s and Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood’s “Ideal Brew Zone”. If you’re inclined to “dial in” some water for a particular roast, this is a good starting point.

Recipe 7 – Pretty Hard

  • 35.1g Buffer
  • 126.1g Mg
  • 838.9g DI water

This begins the ascent up in water “hardness”, probably better suited to espresso, or at least short brew times for filter. This is starting to grab a lot out from the coffee so brew recipes would need some adaptation. This rips everything out from the coffee. So either slow down or speed up the brew time via grind adjustments, and shorten or increase your beverage weight. Dependent on the roast somewhere along those two spectrums you’ll find something tasty. Or not.

Recipe 8 – Hard dot AF

  • 45.2g Buffer
  • 176.8g Mg
  • 778g DI water

This is a fairly high point with pushing mineral level where you’re basically cranking the amp up to 11. Your brew parameters from the earlier water recipes would need to change a lot here.

Where to from here?

We’ve designed these concentrates to be super easy to experiment with. You don’t have to stick to our recipes!

To make your own, you only need to know two things.

  1. The concentrates are made so that 1g of concentrate equals 1ppm of GH (for the magnesium solution), or KH (for the bicarbonate solution), after dilution in 1L of water.
  2. Subtract your total concentrate weight (in grams) from 1000 and that’s how much water you need to dilute them with.

If your buffer amount used was 30g, and your Mg amount was 60g (90g total), you would be adding this to 910g of distilled water (1000g minus 90g). You’ll get the hang of it by reading the recipes above. This would give you a KH of 30ppm and a GH of 60ppm.

 

 

Let us know how you go in the comments below!

 

 

Coaching Calendar

Find a course with a BH Certified Coach

February 2020

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1
2
3
4
5
6
  • FR: BARISTA ONE
7
8
9
  • AU: Barista One
10
11
12
13
14
  • ZAR: Barista One
15
  • ZAR: Barista One
16
17
  • Malaysia, Emery School of Coffee, Kuala Lumpur, Barista One with Cadence Sim
18
19
20
  • Barista One I. Cafés el Magnifico
21
22
  • HP11BH/Hemel: Barista One
23
24
25
26
27
28
  • Barista One II. Cafés el Magnífico
29
  • HP11BH/Hemel: Barista One

News & Updates

Sign-up, Take part and keep in touch!

9
Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
avatar
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Kathryn Havelka
Guest
Kathryn Havelka

Hi, im having trouble comparing the minerals and buffers where i live to the ones you use in the chart. So i dont know where to start or what to add. My city shows calcium, sodium, and CaCO3. There is no Mg or or HCO3. I can include values if you need. Thanks!

roykean2006
Member
roykean2006

quote (You can mess about with calcium, sulphates, chlorides, and pH control when you graduate from here. Alternatively we’d encourage you to buy the book.) Can you tell me which book should i buy? show me the book name please, many thanks!

Caitlin
Guest
Caitlin

At the beginning you mention “boiling the water afterward” but there’s no other mention of it again in the actual recipes. Can you provide more info on this? I have been using these ratios for a while now and only just now noticed the sentence about boiling.

DONALD CHO
Guest
DONALD CHO

Unless you are using it for cold brew, i think this is naturally for hot coffee recipes.

Michael Hancock
Guest
Michael Hancock

Great recipes and overall guidelines. We’ll be experimenting this week

steveberco
Member
steveberco

Hi, to scale the recipe to a 4 litle jug of water, do you just multiply by 4, etc…?

Tobias
Guest
Tobias

Hello, I’ve got one question regarding the Magnesium Sulfate. Am I right that you actually use the crystalline version of MgSO4, particularly MgSO4 x 7H2O? I think it’s very important to mention. Thank you in advance!

trackback
How We Host: Kalita Edition - Madcap Coffee

[…] Use filtered water. Water is the main ingredient in brewed coffee. The quality of your water will have a prominent impact on the flavor of your brewed coffee. If you are interested in tweaking the profile of your water, check out this article here from Barista Hustle. […]

trackback
How We Host: Moccamaster Edition Copy - Madcap Coffee

[…] Use filtered water. Water is the main ingredient in brewed coffee. The quality of your water will have a prominent impact on the flavor of your brewed coffee. If you are interested in tweaking the profile of your water, check out this article here from Barista Hustle. […]

trackback
How We Host: Moccamaster Edition - Madcap Coffee

[…] Use filtered water. Water is the main ingredient in brewed coffee. The quality of your water will have a prominent impact on the flavor of your brewed coffee. If you are interested in tweaking the profile of your water, check out this article here from Barista Hustle. […]

trackback
Water for Coffee Extraction | J. Gagne

[…] Budapest championship, the 2013 Melbourne World Barista Championship, and several recipes from Barista Hustle), the stars correspond to bottled waters, and the triangles correspond to different […]

trackback
December 2018 - Manhattan Coffee, Jairo Lopez - Barista Hustle

[…] As per the video, we highly recommend using a harder water for this coffee to get all of the fruits and sweetness. We particularly enjoy the Hendon recipe. […]

Mark Boccard
Guest
Mark Boccard

This was extremely helpful for me, as I’ve been looking to dive deeper into water recipes and haven’t seen it laid out so clearly with charts and all. Thank you!

As a point of interest. I’m currently traveling and have been reading that Volvic is one of the better bottled brands for coffee brewing. Curious if you’d agree? They have a few different ingredients on the label and I’m not sure if they’d fall into buffer or hardness.

Volvic Mineral Composition mg/L
Calcium 12
Sulfates 9
Magnesium 8
Potassium 6
Bicarbonate 74
Silica 32
Chlorides 15

PH 7
TDS 130 ppm

Copyright © 2019 Barista Hustle, All Rights Reserved!

You have Successfully Subscribed!