Consider the following:
Do you take the craft of brewing coffee more seriously than most people you know?If not, this article and the product it was written to sell is probably of little use to you, and you should click out now. But if you truly value the craft of specialty coffee, it sounds like you're in the right place!
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Greetings. My name is Arby Avanesian, and I'm the developer. I started brewing coffee seriously at 17 years of age. All I had to work with in my quest for good coffee was an old drip machine, a bag of stale pre-ground coffee, and some filtered water to brew it with. Five years later, in 2022, I founded Empirical Water.
Along the way, I spent:
- Thousands of dollars on specialized brewing gear.
- Thousands of hours on practicing brewing technique.
- Around $145 on minerals, a cheap scale, some distilled water, and a simple carbonation system to start making fully custom brew water in the natural style (we'll get to that).
Wondering which made the biggest difference? Hint: It makes up about 99% of the "coffee" in your cup.
It was the brew water. With my little laboratory setup, I could recreate any mineral water from around the world, as long as I knew its mineral content. So I began recreating the world's finest spring, glacial, and deep aquifer sources, and putting them to the test in a coffee brewing context. Along the way, I made note of the strengths of each mineral profile I tested, and combined those strengths into a single master recipe, now known as Empirical Water.
It quickly became clear to me that water is the lens through which we appreciate specialty coffee. And yet, collectively, we paid so little attention to it. We got distracted by shiny objects. It happens. Consumerism got one over us, that's for sure.
But I'm here to set the record straight, once and for all.
Upgrading your brew water is the most cost-effective, time-efficient, and fool-proof way to improve your coffee. And I'm not talking about mineral packets or dropper bottles (we'll get to those). Truly optimal water can deliver experiences that sound like fantastical exaggerations — But there's nothing fantastical about it.
It's all possible because of:
The Key Ingredient
Empirical Water is not a dry mineral packet — It's a liquid mineral concentrate, but it doesn't fit in a dropper bottle, either. So what's in it?
Answer: Empirical Water is the first (and only) brewing water on the market to incorporate calcium carbonate — The #1 most important mineral for brewing amazing coffee.
Calcium carbonate is naturally occurring in the world's finest mineral waters, and brews better coffee because it excels in two main areas:
- It brings out loads of desirable attributes, like flavor and sweetness.
- It suppresses harshness, keeping bitterness and astringency to a minimum.
The following visual represents the standards to which you should hold Empirical Water.
A full list of minerals in Empirical Water: Calcium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, magnesium sulfate, calcium chloride, magnesium chloride. All ingredients are naturally occurring in mineral water.
See the full mineral composition below.
|Amount Present in 1x Empirical Water (mg/L)
How is it so Effective?
Disclaimer: There is some debate in the coffee industry on the exact effects of sulfate and chloride. Meanwhile, there does seem to be a budding consensus on the value that calcium carbonate brings. The following is simply my personal explanation based on 5,000+ hours of testing over a 6 year period.
Calcium is one of the basic minerals required for good brew water. Typically, we get it from calcium sulfate and/or calcium chloride. Sulfate and chloride each have a crucial role to play in coffee extraction:
- Sulfate — Increases flavor definition and extraction intensity, at the cost of bringing out harshness and off-notes.
- Chloride — Reduces harshness and off-notes, at the cost of reduced depth.
Where current brew waters go wrong is using way too much of one or both. That gets you the worst of both worlds: Too much harshness, and not enough depth.
At Empirical Water, we get about half of our calcium from calcium carbonate, which means we use only half the typical amount of sulfate and chloride relative to TDS. That's how we bring out all the positive attributes in coffee with none of the negatives.
Which begs the question, why is no one else using this game-changing mineral?
Calcium carbonate has difficulties associated with it:
- It's insoluble in water, so it can't be shipped as a powder in mineral packets.
- It's time/labor-intensive to dissolve through carbonation, and even then, it's still not soluble enough to fit a meaningful amount in a dropper bottle. Hence, the large form factor.
Here's how we incorporate calcium carbonate.
At Empirical Water, we fill up our kegs with deionized water, add in carefully measured amounts of calcium carbonate and other minerals, and carbonate using carbon dioxide to dissolve the minerals.
Once the minerals are dissolved, we remove the carbonation through a process called decarbonation. That yields us a flat (rather than fizzy) concentrate, and involves physically agitating the concentrate with an electric mixer.
What our Customers Say
All verified reviews are viewable on the product page.
Completely changes the experience - Absolutely night and day difference.
- Tom Zheng, verified reviewer
Calcium carbonate gets you right to the elements you're looking for: sweetness, clarity, aromatics, texture and aftertaste, without any harshness or off-notes.
Empirical Water by far outperforms any of the other popular brands on the market. So much greater complexity and intensity, with bag notes clearly presented to the forefront.
- Istvan Erdelyi, verified reviewer
Forget about searching for those bag notes — you'll taste them immediately. It makes your brew parameters more forgiving, so you're not constantly chasing that dialed-in brew. Stuff just comes out tasting good without thinking too much about it.
I was skeptical that calcium carbonate in an aqueous solution would be so beneficial to the enhanced coffee richness and sweetness, but it really is the key to the best coffee I am brewing.
- Bosanke, verified reviewer
It's the key to the best coffee we've brewed, too!