An Easy Espresso Water Recipe

An Easy Espresso Water Recipe

Regular water works just fine if you want to filter coffee at home. Tap water or bottled water, it doesn’t matter. But if you’re a true coffee aficionado, a real coffee snob, then there’s something better than just ordinary water. You can use water designed especially for espresso machines to really elevate its taste! Not only can proper espresso water improve how your coffees taste, but it can also extend the life of your coffee machine.

You might have heard of a product called Third Wave Water, water designed and sold specifically for use in espresso machines. It works wonders, but if you’re feeling like playing chemist you can make your own espresso water at home! Making your own water isn’t as hard as it might sound, and most of the ingredients for an espresso water recipe can be found at home, at your local supermarket, or in any pharmacy.

All you need is baking soda, (NOT baking powder), magnesium sulphate, and distilled water, and you have everything you need to make your own brewing water. So if you want to elevate your coffee above recipes that use ordinary water, we have the recipe for you.

What Factors Impact Good Espresso Water?

Before you can make your own espresso water, there are a few things you’ll need to understand. Throwing ingredients in a pot might be enough for your average chef or baker, but a true enthusiast knows and understands the importance and role of each and every ingredient. Brewers of espresso water are no exception.

To make your own espresso water, you need to understand how good espresso water is made and the factors that influence it. Quality espresso water depends on PH Value, the water’s hardness or softness, the quality of your machine, and the water’s mineral content.

pH Value

Your pH value refers to acidic or how alkaline your water quality is. The higher the pH value, the more acidic the water is and the more sour it tastes. The lower the pH value, the more alkaline, or basic, it is, and the more soapy it tastes. Falling across a scale of 0 to 14, a pH value of 7 is considered ideal for water. According to the Speciality Coffee Association, using water with a pH value of between 6.0 and 7.0 is ideal.

You can measure the pH value of your water using specialised strips. These are available online or from most local pharmacies.

Water Hardness and Softness

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The mineral content of the water is referred to as water hardness, and water can be classified as either hard or soft in this manner. Hard water leads to darker coffees, while soft water makes it lighter. Either way, a coffee with an imbalanced taste is the result.

Hard water can enhance the body of espresso, giving it a more robust and thick mouthfeel, making it brighter and tangier, and altering the taste slightly depending on the included minerals. Using soft water on the other hand leads to a milder and less pronounced acidity profile, and enhanced sweetness. For the best espresso you want to use soft water, but more on that later.

Tools that can help you measure the hardness or softness of the water you have on hand are available at most hardware stores.

The Quality of Your Espresso Machine vs Limescale

One reason it’s preferred to use soft water when making espresso water is because hard water contains more minerals. More minerals lead to a greater build-up of limescale, which can damage your coffee machine. When limescale is discovered, it’s a likely sign that the connected pipes and components of your coffee machine are also affected.

Regular cleaning in line with what is suggested in your coffee machine’s instruction manual is key to preventing limescale buildup and keeping your espresso water soft. You can also try using a specialised water filter to increase the time between descaling maintenance, and in some circumstances, a good filter can make descaling completely unnecessary.


Adding minerals to soft or reverse osmosis water is the best way to ensure you get the perfect balance. There are plenty of water treatment products available, and adding these guarantees the water won’t harm your coffee maker. There are also some products you can find around the house to achieve the perfect balance, we’ll get to that in the next section where we go over our espresso water recipe.

Which minerals you need to add and how much of them will be determined by the purity of your water and any water treatment product you’re using. In total, the minerals should add up to around 75-250 of total dissolved solids (TDS), with an ideal balance of 150 mg/L.

Making Your Espresso Water


  • Baking soda
  • Magnesium sulphate (commonly found in Epsom Salt)
  • Distilled water, filtered water, or ultra-pure water

You’ll also need a container, such as a glass jar, to make your coffee brewing water in.


  • First, measure how much distilled water you have.
  • If at all possible, test your distilled water’s pH level and hardness. The amount of each ingredient you need to add can vary greatly, and as such measuring your distilled water’s existing comment can help you determine how much of each ingredient to add.
    • Starting by adding a small amount of each ingredient call also help you determine how much to add of each. This also allows you to experiment.
  • Add between 50 and 175 mg/L of food-grade magnesium sulphate into the water.
  • Add between 40 and 60 mg/L of food-grade baking soda to the water. 
  • Stir the water gently to dissolve the magnesium sulphate and baking soda completely.

See? Easy! Now you have the perfect water ready to brew the perfect coffee!



Espresso Water is Just the First Step!

If you’re truly passionate about unlocking the full potential of your coffee, making your own espresso water is only the beginning. With a barista training course at Skills Training College, it doesn’t matter if you’re new to coffee making or an old hand. Our comprehensive courses dive deep into the art and science of espresso-making, from perfecting your technique to understanding the intricacies of flavour extraction. 

With hands-on practice under the guidance of industry experts, you’ll gain the knowledge and confidence to create exceptional coffee every time. Take the first step towards coffee mastery by enrolling in our barista training course today and watch your espresso skills soar to new heights!