Everything You Need to Know About Third Wave Water’s New Water System

Third Wave Waters Tethys plug-and-play water system is debuting at SCA Expo this weekend—heres what you need to know.


Photos courtesy of Third Wave Water

Third Wave Water has something new brewing. You know these folks as the ones who brought you the clever little packets that you dump into one- and five-gallon distilled water jugs to optimize the mineral content of that water to ensure the best extraction of your coffee. Maybe you’ve seen them in use at the U.S. Coffee Championships. They have had such success with their mineral packets (in case you missed their appearance on the popular TV show Shark Tank) that they are now ready to bring their water profiles to the café with an awesome new product called the Tethys.

Taking its name from the Greek Titaness of fresh water, the Tethys is a reverse osmosis (RO) water filtration system specifically designed with specialty-coffee shops in mind. RO systems work by first removing almost everything but the H’s and O’s from your water and then re-engineering it with a custom mineral additive blend. While the idea of using an RO system behind the bar to create an optimum mineral content in your brewing water is not new, the Tethys takes it to the next level with some really cool features designed for the discerning café owner.

The thing that caught my eye was the aesthetics of the machine. While most RO systems live under a counter or in a closet, the Tethys is beautifully designed to be displayed front and center in order to show your customers how deep your commitment to delicious coffee goes.

The Tethys is an RO system that is meant to both improve a café’s water and be aesthetically pleasing.

Third Wave Water put some extra-special bits into the mechanics of the Tethys as well. The Tethys is designed to produce Third Wave Water’s popular Espresso Profile, which they feel is the perfect blend of magnesium sulfate, calcium citrate, potassium bicarbonate, and alkalinity to ensure your espresso tastes its best and to provide a long, clean life for the innards of your espresso machine. They’ve also included a UV light filter so that not only is your water totally free of minerals and contaminants before their proprietary blend is added, it is also totally disinfected.

Want to monitor your Tethys system? That is easy with the touchscreen controller that shows live system monitoring to ensure everything is working properly all day long. To top it all off, the Tethys is set to be one of the most efficient RO systems on the market, with the potential to produce a 2:1 ratio of RO water to wastewater. “Reverse osmosis can be the most cost-effective form of water filtration, but its delicate challenge is balancing the amount of water wasted while creating enough water to maintain a healthy output for the café,” says Taylor Minor, one of the founders of Third Wave Water.

How does a company that makes mineral packets break into the water filtration market, you might ask? It turns out the Tethys has always been a part of the business trajectory for Third Wave Water. “Shark Tank provided the needed capital to prototype Tethys from the sales jump of the mineral packs and helped acquire key business partnerships,” says Taylor. He founded Third Wave Water with his business partner, Charles Nick, both former coffee professionals, and they understand that equipment costs can be a huge burden to specialty cafés. That’s why they have also made the Tethys affordable by offering a lease program at $250/month with a two-year commitment. This means that coffee shop owners who previously couldn’t afford the $2,000-$6,000 initial cost of an RO system can now offer their customers the best-quality water available for their espresso.

Third Wave Water has already changed the home coffee brewing scene for the better once, with the release of their water packets; now they are set to change the retail coffee industry with the release of the Tethys. Check it out as they release it at the Specialty Coffee Expo in Boston this weekend. You can find them in Booth 160, and tell them Barista Magazine sent you!

Josh Taves
has been working in the coffee industry since 2006 and has worked as a barista, trainer, quality control director, profile roaster, and green buyer. He lives in Colorado and enjoys taking advantage of all the great adventures the Rocky Mountains have to offer. He is also the inventor of the Rattleware Cupping Brewer and a 2017 U.S. Barista Championship finalist, so he knows his way around lots of different coffee gadgets.

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