This Dublin Coffee Shop Offers a ‘Water Tasting Menu’

A tasting of four different kinds of water runs just under four dollars at 3fe in Dublin
This Dublin Coffee Shop Offers a ‘Water Tasting Menu’

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A coffee shop in Dublin is offering a water tasting menu to help customers better understand the role of water in coffee brewing.

A coffee shop in Dublin called 3fe is offering what is arguably the least compelling tasting menu of all time — featuring water. To be fair, it’s not your average coffee shop, and the menu isn’t for the average water drinker.

The goal of the tasting menu, owner Colin Harmon told the Independent, is to help customers get better acquainted with their coffee and encourage them to consider how water quality can directly impact coffee quality.

“If you’ve a cup of coffee in most places around the city, what you’re drinking is 85 percent water,” Harmon said. “And water has a huge impact on how coffee is extracted, and how it tastes.

“When you grind coffee and mix it with water, lots of different things in the water — calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate — have a huge influence on how the coffee is extracted.”

Harmon was motivated, in part, by customers who would buy a bag of coffee from 3fe and then complain that it tasted different than it had in the shop. “They’ll come back and say it brews really, really badly, and they might blame us. But they might not realize it’s the water.”

The water taste test, which is offered to customers at 3.50 euros, or $3.70 USD — the same price as a cappuccino or espresso at 3fe — is meant to show customers that water can have a significant impact on the overall flavor of coffee. At least “90 percent of people will see that the four glasses actually taste completely different,” Harmon said after a week of initial testing.

The café does, by the way, offer free, filtered water to its customers.