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Who understands water?
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jpender
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Posted Wed Feb 27, 2013, 7:50am
Subject: Who understands water?
 

Our water is quite good, very clean and straight from the Sierra Nevada mountains. They don't even have to filter it, just treat with UV and a touch of chlorine. It tastes great, but is it ideal for coffee? Can anybody tell me?

Total Dissolved Solids: 132 ppm
Alkalinity (as CaCO3): 49 ppm
Calcium (as Ca): 13 ppm
Hardness (as CaCO3): 57 ppm
Magnesium: 4.9 ppm
pH: 8.6

These are the average values for 2011 published by the utility; they were not measured at my tap.

jpender: water2011.jpg
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Lee_M
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Posted Wed Feb 27, 2013, 9:20am
Subject: Re: Who understands water?
 

The limited information I've been able to find suggests that your water is nearly optimal for coffee. Cirqua (now Global Customized Water) recommends the following:

TDS: 150ppm
Hardness: 60 - 80ppm
Alkalinity: 40 - 80ppm
pH: 6-8

Based on your numbers, the only adjustments you might consider are a small addition of calcium chloride or calcium sulfate to raise hardness and TDS slightly, and possibly a small addition of lactic or phosphoric acid to lower your pH. It's probably worth buying some test strips and double checking the pH of your water. You can use a brewing water calculator (such as: Click Here (www.brewersfriend.com)) to calculate your water adjustments.

As for the flavor impact of specific ions (e.g., chloride, sulfate), I have not found any information. If anyone has access to this article, I imagine they'd find some useful stuff.

Click Here (www.sciencedirect.com)

(If you do have access, I'd very much appreciate a copy: morganlee.r@gmail.com)
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jpender
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jpender
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Posted Wed Feb 27, 2013, 1:41pm
Subject: Re: Who understands water?
 

Thanks, Lee. I'm not certain whether or not I can get that paper, but it appears that you can rent a read-only copy for 99, as if it were DVD from Netflix.
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Netphilosopher
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Posted Thu Feb 28, 2013, 11:40am
Subject: ...
 

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Netphilosopher
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Posted Thu Feb 28, 2013, 11:41am
Subject: ...
 

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Netphilosopher
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Posted Thu Feb 28, 2013, 11:45am
Subject: ...
 

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tdifraia
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Posted Fri Mar 1, 2013, 12:46am
Subject: Re: Who understands water?
 

You water is very good for drinking. It is slightly alkaline and has a lot of minerals. It is very healthy and I would drink lots of it if I were you. As far as for making coffee, thats another story.  Certain minerals such as calcium and magnesium under high temperatures will precipitate out of the water and become solids (scale). The alkalinity (49ppm) will help prevent any corrosion, and gives you an indication of what portion of the calcium in your water is calcium carbonate or temporary scale, also called limescale. This scale is the better scale because it is soft and can be cleaned off easily. The other scale (Ca 13ppm and Mg 4.9ppm) is permanent scale and will stick to metal and act as an insulator. This scale is very hard to clean. Acid cleaning is somewhat effective but can cause more problems than do good, and is alot of work. Hard scale also acts as a very effective insulator and effects heat transfer considerably. People use RO's and water softeners to remove these minerals. Which is great for espresso and coffee machines. With RO and softened water your machine will not scale up. RO and softened water does have other drawbacks. What gives water its taste is the minerals. When we drink water we are consuming the minerals in it. Not only does it give us its taste, it supplies our bodies with trace minerals necessary to survive. So RO and softened water is great for washing machines, swimming pools, boilers etc... But not really healthy for drinking. It will not hurt you, but it will not be a healthy choice and may taste flat because of the lack of minerals. When you are using RO or soft water for coffee, I do not think it will effect the taste noticibly because there are so many flavors extracted from the coffee. Your waters total hardness is a little high 57 ppm is equal to approx. 3.5 grains per gallon. I would use a Brita water filter, which helps remove some of the hardness and you should be fine. Generally you want to be 3 grains or less to prevent scale build up. The greater the hardness the greater the scale build up. I definately would NOT add any hardness to it like someone suggested. Your water is fine for coffee. Invest in a Brita water filter and check your waters hardness once in a while. I hope this helps.

jpender Said:

Our water is quite good, very clean and straight from the Sierra Nevada mountains. They don't even have to filter it, just treat with UV and a touch of chlorine. It tastes great, but is it ideal for coffee? Can anybody tell me?

Total Dissolved Solids: 132 ppm
Alkalinity (as CaCO3): 49 ppm
Calcium (as Ca): 13 ppm
Hardness (as CaCO3): 57 ppm
Magnesium: 4.9 ppm
pH: 8.6

These are the average values for 2011 published by the utility; they were not measured at my tap.

Posted February 27, 2013 link

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jpender
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jpender
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Posted Fri Mar 1, 2013, 10:23am
Subject: Re: Who understands water?
 

All very interesting. So should I treat my water for the coffee or just leave it as is?

There isn't any noticeable scale in any of our cookware, the bottom of my moka pot, or the tea pot which is used to boil water regularly and sits with some water in it 365 days a year (we never clean the inside of it). So I don't believe we need to purify the water. I was wondering if it might benefit from some small additions, as Lee suggested.
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Netphilosopher
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Posted Fri Mar 1, 2013, 11:16am
Subject: ...
 

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jpender
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jpender
Joined: 11 Jul 2011
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Location: California
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Posted Fri Mar 1, 2013, 11:44am
Subject: Re: Who understands water?
 

Netphilosopher Said:

Personally, I wouldn't treat the water.

Posted March 1, 2013 link

Okay, thanks.

Netphilosopher Said:

Have you tried brewing coffee with distilled water as a baseline?  I'm certain you could taste the difference.

Posted March 1, 2013 link

No I haven't. I'm sure it would be interesting but wouldn't it be moving in the wrong direction? I haven't tried brewing with ethanol either. :o)
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