Featured Report: Specialty coffee has invested and innovated continuously over more than two decades to make the coffee trade more inclusive and more equitable. However, the largest and most vulnerable group of participants in coffee supply chains—the tens of millions of wage-earning men, women, and children who work on coffee farms—have remained on the margins of those efforts.



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Purpose
The Statistics & Standards Committee of the Specialty Coffee Association of America has determined the following standards for the water used to brew specialty coffee. For a superior quality extraction of coffee solids, the brewing water should have these characteristics:

Characteristic Target Acceptable Range
Odor 1 Clean/Fresh, Odor free  
Color 2 Clear color  
Total Chlorine O mg/L  
TDS 3 150 mg/L 75 - 250 mg/L
Calcium Hardness 4 grains or 68 mg/L 1-5 grains or 17 mg/L - 85 mg/L
Total Alkalinity 40 mg/L At or near 40 mg/L
pH 7.0 6.5 - 7.5
Sodium 10 mg/L At or near 10 mg/L


1.   Odor is based on sensory olfactory determination. 2.   Color is based on sensory visual determination. 3.   TDS measured based on 4-4-2 conversion.

The Target is the most desirable point in the Acceptable Range, although falling within the range is considered meeting the standard. These variances are in place to take into consideration real world circumstances, and the target gives the optimum measurement of each characteristic to strive for.


For details of testing equipment & protocols, please see the SCAA Water Quality Handbook.