In beverage brewing, the end product is only as good as the ingredients you put into it. Unlike most other beverages such as beer and liquor which rely on fine hops or barley, coffee’s main attraction is coffee beans, which only accounts for about 2% of the coffee. The other 98% is water. Being such a key ingredient, quality water is clearly a crucial component to good coffee. Third Wave Water in Cedarville, Ohio, developed a mineral supplement for water to help you brew the perfect cup.
“Cafes have expensive, elaborate water filtration systems that lead to standardized, quality coffee. But nobody’s going to install one in their homes, it’s just not practical,” said Taylor Minor, coffee shop owner and co-founder of Third Wave Water. “We recognized water’s importance in coffee brewing, as well as the huge variations in tap water quality around the world and started looking for ways to improve the process. We don’t want the same water we flush our toilets with to brew our coffee.”
According to these aficionados and the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) guidelines for optimum brewing water, Third Wave Water’s blend contains a proprietary mix of calcium, magnesium, and sodium that turns a gallon of demineralized water into the best water for your favorite coffee beans. The key is in the calcium citrate that acts as an anti-caking agent which prevents clumping. This leads to a homogenous mixture that can be free flowing and packaged for sale.
Minor had built his own custom water filtration system in his coffee shop, Telemetry Coffee Roasters. It produced coffee so good his friend and coffee distributor, Charles Nick, joked that he wished he could make a concentrate of Minor’s perfected water blend to distribute through his own business, The Wright Cup. The two, with an affinity for experiments and backgrounds in chemical and mechanical engineering, realized the idea wasn’t so crazy after all, and got to work.
The partners launched the company in October 2016 and have not looked back, building a name for themselves in the industry through word-of-mouth marketing, and then a successful appearance on Shark Tank where they received a $100,000 deal from Barbara Corcoran.
“Our product really works. In national brewing competitions, baristas using our water placed first and second. We came in first and second in Poland, first in Romania, and fourth in the world. Then, we went on Shark Tank and got a deal,” said Minor. “In 12 months, we’ve shipped to 53 different countries and are growing fast. Within a year, things kind of went bananas, but in the best way possible.”
Nick and Minor are growing with the support of The Entrepreneurs Center (TEC) in Dayton, a southwest regional partner of Ohio Third Frontier. They received a grant through TEC, as well as assistance through mentorship business planning, and pitching their concept to investors. As new entrepreneurs, they’re happy to find resources like TEC available to guide them.
“First of all, we want to reiterate that we are just a couple of nerds who wanted to have fun and solve a problem around a passion. Our success is a passion-driven team effort. When we realized we had a viable product on our hands, we turned to others to help us move forward and the response has been huge,” said Nick. “Whether it was our Kickstarter campaign, the response to our Shark Tank appearance or The Entrepreneurs Center, we’ve looked for support and found it repeatedly.”