Water is the main ingredient in coffee. So what’s a coffee shop to do with the latest news that Phoenix water flunks out? Men’s Health Magazine ranks Phoenix water last (out of 100 cities). Phoenix officials say that it is a mistake and that their is a problem with one of the decimal points. But Phoenix citizens have always known the water was bad.

What are some things coffee shops can do to make their water better? Should bottled water be used? Can tap water be used with a purification system? Any advice? What does your shop do?

More background info is in this article from The Arizona Republic.

Phoenix officials say that the Valley’s water is safe to drink despite an “F” rating and a last-place ranking in Men’s Health magazine.

The article, which appears in the magazine’s March issue, puts Phoenix in 100th place out of 100 U.S. cities that were tested for levels of arsenic, lead, coliform, bacteria, and haloacetic acids and trihalomethanes, which are byproducts of disinfection. In addition, the magazine tabulated and compared the number of system violations at water facilities from 1995 to 2005.

“Phoenix water is safe to drink, and folks shouldn’t be alarmed,” said Cortland Coleman, communications director for the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. “Phoenix water is required to meet strict, safe drinking water standards.”

Arizona Coffee

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  1. Pingback: Phoenix | Flunked: Phoenix Water

  2. MikeFTrevino

    There are a few water purification systems out there that do the job and do it well. Off hand the Cirqua system is one of them.

  3. Hey Mike, I was going to write and say that same thing! Your coffee and espresso preperation is only as good as the water you start with.

  4. So, do most coffee shops do any purification? R/O systems are probably the norm.

  5. We use a Cirqua water system here at Rocket Coffee Roasters in our espresso lab. It is a state of the art system that uses a low pressure (Lp) Reverse Osmosis system to provide water using custom designed and compact square reservoir tanks. Encapsulated cartridges of activated carbon are used to remove chlorine and help protect the RO membranes in the other cartridges. Post-filters provide finish. Separate ports provided for ice machine, brewer, espresso machine and water tower points of use. This is extremely critical where the TDS output mix is to be controlled at a specified level between 25 and 150 TDS (total dissolved solids). Basically it is “cleaning” the water completely to zero levels of hardness and of TDS, then a series of post filters are adding the customized levels of minerals back to the water. It then routes the water through ports to our espresso machines and brewing equipment. We have our Cirqua system configured to SCAA Cup of Gold standards for water at 40mg Hardness and 140mg TDS.

    If anyone would like info on the Cirqua system please call or email Rocket Coffee Roasters.

    here is some in-depth H2O info as it relates to espresso and coffee…

  6. When our cafe was acutally going to open, we too were going to be using the Cirqua water system.

    I encourage any interested to get in touch with Larry or Cirque about it.

    Also, Congrates Larry on the article in Barista Mag!

    ..be bold

  7. To answer your question Chris, it’s hard to generalize what most shops do. However a R/O system on its own is a very bad idea as they generally strip the water to very low levels of hardness and TDS, often to zero. This will leave the coffee/espresso tasting weak, flat and anemic as coffee/espresso needs some amount of mineral content. One often finds a “chargable” water softener or filtration unit and hopefully a combination of both. Ironically, one of the things that Starbucks does right is water as they have installed Cirqua systems in the majority of their N. American locations.

  8. Thank you Jason!

    The plans for the next Arizona Barista Jam ’07-’08 are already underway!

    !New and improved! !Bigger – better – stronger!
    “Their Guts are as hard as the Steel of their Engines!!!”