Whenever I recommend people brew tea and coffee with filtered water most people respond: but the quality of tap water here is excellent.

That may very well be true, but filtering tap water does something else important: it takes out excessive calcium.

Tap water that comes from ground sources (Berlin, for example) contains a large amount of calcium. This is what makes the water “hard”. This is what causes the chunky calcium build up you see on the exterior of faucets and inside water kettles coffee makers (see previous post).

Simple home water filters (Brita) take out the excessive calcium.

But you MUST replace these filters on a regular basis (usually monthly). With regular usage the filtering materials inside absorb less and less calcium and will no longer be effective. There’s nothing worse than opening someone’s refrigerator and having no idea when the filter was last replaced.

Your tea and coffee experience will improve with filtered the water. The brew will feel different on the tongue and you’ll notice greater range in depth in flavor.

Filter you water. You deserve it.

Limescale (calcium) build up in kettles

Most of the water kettles in Europe I come across have a heavy, unsightly layer at the bottoms of lime scale (top photo). The hardness of the water here (large amounts of calcium/lime) leaves this residue inside the kettles through usage.

But don’t confuse this problem with poor water quality. The quality of water in Germany is excellent. The hardness of the water is simply a side effect since since water here comes from the ground (not the rain water I’m used to in California).

Cleaning your kettles is easy with LEMON JUICE or VINEGAR! Pour in a large amount of either plus water and bring it to a boil. Pour out, repeat, then finally rinse until the residue is gone (bottom photo).

You can do the same with your stove top coffee makers.

Pho, a beer, and a tiny glass of water.

We’re really spoiled in California. You ask for water and you’re given a large glass and unlimited, automatic no-questions-asked refills.

Getting a glass of water in Europe is more complicated. The default is a bottle of mineral water, with or without gas, for a few Euros.

Ask for tap (table) water and you’ll get a funny look and a tiny glass. The cost is zero but don’t expect any automatic refills.