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How to Make SCA Approved Water

What is SCA Approved Water?

Water is an obvious but often overlooked ingredient in coffee, and plays a complicated role in determining flavor. Several factors are at play in your water, including chlorine content, total dissolved solids, hardness, alkalinity, pH, and more. All of these factors have ideal or suggested measurements for the best testing results.

This guide shows you how to remineralize pure distilled or reverse osmosis water to create a brew water that falls within the Specialty Coffee Association standard acceptable ranges. This is a simplified method that does not require scales, exotic or expensive chemicals or specialized equipment. In fact, everything you need you may already have, and if not it’s all available at a low cost in most grocery stores.


What you need:

You’ll need 2 gallons of distilled water, baking soda, epsom salt, two empty 1 liter containers, a teaspoon and half teaspoon measure, a funnel and something to measure milliliters. To give you an idea: at my grocery store, the distilled water is $0.89 a gallon, Baking soda was $0.99 and the epsom salt was $2.99. At that rate, going forward I can make a gallon of water for less than ninety cents.

To start, fill each 1 liter container with 1 liter of distilled water. Label one bottle magnesium/hardness and label the other alkalinity/buffer. These bottles will contain concentrates you’ll use to dose the SCA approved gallon of water.

To the alkalinity/buffer bottle add a half teaspoon of baking soda. Put the cap on and shake to mix. The baking soda is actually sodium bicarbonate and will dissolve very easily. Be sure you’re using baking soda and not baking powder. To the magnesium/hardness bottle add 2 1/4 teaspoons of epsom salt, cap and shake. It may take a little shaking and mixing to get it all to dissolve. Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate and is providing minerals for the water.

The one liter concentrate of magnesium is enough to dose about 15 gallons of brew water and the alkalinity/buffer concentrate will dose about 5 gallons.

Next, open the gallon of distilled water and pour off 1 cup or 250 milliliters.

Add 63 milliliters of the magnesium/hardness concentrate.

Then add 185 milliliters of the alkalinity/buffer concentrate.

With those in, put the cap on, give it a shake to mix, and you’re done! Now you can brew with water tailored to brewing the perfect cup.

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