A wild card enters the water race. I have been testing waters for my own taste lately and decided for fun to add in one more water. It is the Cirqua AB water formulator. I believe I had read once before that it was the water used at the WBC at some point. http://www.cirqua.com/theformula.htm
It is a pair of small tubes that are mixed with distilled or RO water to produce the ideal water for espresso or coffee. It cracks me up for many reasons, not the least of which is that as a kid I “invented” instant water. All you had to do was add water.
On the other hand the water I claimed to invent didn’t claim to taste any different than the water that you added to it.
This water system would work well for my lever or for my drip, but, of course, would not work well for a plumbed in machine.
Does the water taste better than tap water? Here it sure does. It is much better than our tap water, which is fine, but not good. It is totally different tasting than the distilled water you add it to. It has more flavor, making the distilled water taste quite flat. It, however, does not taste much better to me than filtered water we can produce here (with say a Britta filter). It is clearly very different, and much harder, but not necessarily much better.
On the other hand, my wife, who grew up in the pacific Northwest, and who misses the water there, says it reminds her of home and thinks it tastes dramatically better than filtered tap water here. (Their water in her home town is quite good for coffee).
The formula is just over a dollar a package, so if you get a gallon of distilled water for a quarter (you can usually find it around that price if you bring your own bottle – even at an expensive store like Whole Foods, if you bring your own bag and bottle that is all it costs) you end up paying a little less than $1.50 for your gallon of designer water.
For my Pavoni this is a good deal. It uses so little water that I can make espresso twice a day for weeks without using a gallon, so it is adding about four cents to a cup. With my T1, if you ran it off a flo-jet, the flush would make it way too expensive in my book.
How does it taste in coffee? When I have used it, I have liked the coffee, but it is not clear I like it more than the filtered water used for coffee. I am going to have to try a drip contest to see which one turns out better since I do not have two identical espresso machines to create head to head shots on.
I think it will turn out that it is slightly different, and not worse, but perhaps not demonstrably better. We’ll see.