You’re standing outside your RV early in the morning. There’s a slight chill in the air, but the sun is starting to slowly warm things up. Nestled in your hands is a steaming hot cup of coffee, the smell rising up into your nose, the taste satisfying your palate.
Few things in life are quite as enjoyable as that first cup of coffee each morning on an RV trip. So, you want to ensure that you’ve got all the ingredients and the tools to make the perfect cup.
The type of coffee maker you use makes a difference. And obviously, the coffee itself plays a huge part in whether or not that cup of Joe is going to pass the test. But let’s not forget about what is, arguably, the most important but often overlooked ingredient: the water.
Why does the water matter so much? Well, considering the fact that coffee is 98 percent water, it stands to reason that the type of water you use to brew your java will have a significant impact on the overall quality of the finished product.
As most RVers know, campgrounds are notorious for their low-quality water. It’s often filled with impurities, contaminants, and other particulates that can not only present potential health problems, but they can also make the water taste and smell…bad. The water typically comes from the municipal water supply; in other words, it’s the same water that is coming through the tap in most of the homes in the area. And depending on where you’re camping, the contaminants, pollutants or particulates can vary greatly.
For example, in the western region of the United States, tap water often comes from brackish groundwater, which can result in a salty taste. This can carry over to your coffee if you are using the same water supply to brew it. In Florida, where the tap water is notorious for smelling like rotten eggs, the campground water can impart a sulfur-like taste to your coffee that you probably don’t want to taste first thing in the morning – or any time, for that matter.
If you come from the Northeast or the Midwest, there may be high levels of phosphates in your water. Water can also be affected by nitrate runoff due to fertilizer use in areas where agricultural activity is prevalent. This will not only affect the taste of your water, but it can also actually be hazardous to your health.
No matter where you camp, there’s a decent chance that the water contains traces of aluminum, copper, and manganese, among many other compounds, which could impart a slightly acidic or metallic taste to your water. Needless to say, this will negatively affect the taste of your coffee.
Add to this the fact that the pipes feeding the municipal water to the campground are frequently old and may contain high levels of rust, you may well be playing a game of drinking-water Russian roulette. And though the water may be considered 100% safe by local health standards, it still may have a smell and a taste that are unpalatable, to put it mildly.
Thankfully, there is an easy solution to this dilemma: filtered water. Because taste is subjective, there's no scientific evidence to prove that coffee made with filtered water tastes better. Still, the National Coffee Association recommends using filtered water when you brew your coffee if your tap or campground water has any unpleasant taste or odor.
You can achieve the purity you want for your coffee water in two ways that are both effective and inexpensive:
Filtered Pitchers. There are plenty of filtration pitchers that do a good job at removing contaminants and pollutants. However, many water filter pitchers rely on granulated carbon as a primary filtering agent. CLEAR2O offers two water filtration pitchers designed with superior solid carbon block technology, which filters far more efficiently than loose, granular carbon, reducing bad taste and odor. (The Advanced Water Filtration Pitcher - CWS100 filters at the 1-micron level; the Gravity Water Filter Pitcher – GRP200 filters even lower, at less than 1 micron. The lower the micron level, the better the filtration.)
Inline Filters. While the pitchers perform their jobs at the sink, the inline filters do their thing right at the campground spigot before the water ever gets into your freshwater tank. As with the water filtration pitchers, the use of solid-block carbon technology is preferable, as it will filter out far more contaminants, also at the 1-micron level. The CLEAR2O RV and Marine Inline Filter - CRV2006 eliminates the sulfur taste and odor from campground water that make it unpleasant to drink, as well as ruining that cup of morning coffee you look forward to each day of your RV trip.
There are other filtration products that will provide clean water for coffee-making: single- and double-filtration systems, reverse osmosis, etc. But these two are by far the least expensive that will help produce a cup of coffee that’s worth getting out of bed for. A few additional tips to optimize your coffee-making process:
Buy the Best Beans. You’ll want to purchase the highest-quality, freshest beans you can find. And always store opened coffee beans in an airtight container (storage containers with rubber-gasket seals are good choices. Never refrigerate the beans, as roasted beans are porous and readily take up moisture and food odors. Instead, keep them at room temperature for maximum flavor.
The Daily Grind. Grind your coffee immediately before brewing for maximum flavor. True coffee connoisseurs will tell you that nothing grinds coffee beans better than a good burr model. These crush the beans rather than cutting them into pieces, producing a more consistent grind and thereby releasing more flavor.
More Magnesium = More Flavor. Your beans are at their best when they are brewed with water that has added magnesium, which enhances the flavor of your morning brew because it sticks to the compounds that give coffee its flavor. Many products, like the CLEAR2O pitchers, filter out harmful contaminants like VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) but leave the “good” minerals like magnesium behind.
In addition to filtration, water should be heated to the right temperature, between 195 -205 degrees Fahrenheit. Water that isn’t hot enough simply doesn’t extract the full flavor from the beans. And water that is too hot scalds them, giving them a burnt taste.
The coffee you enjoy on an RV trip is one of those simple pleasures in life that can really start your day off right. When you use all of the tools at your disposal - including fresh, clean filtered water – you’ve got a good chance of making a great day even better.