Posted Fri Feb 22, 2013, 5:43pm Subject: duetto and very soft water
purchased a duetto and a 15 litre commercial softener off cc a month ago and am finding the taste of my espresso unexeptable to my tastebuds. This is the first time using a commercial softener so I am somewhat unschooled when it comes to the use,flavor,extraction and the likes.I have read the Insainly long water faq many times since 07 when I purchased my first hx machine. I can't seem to figure out if it's the more mellow shots my duetto produces or the softened water or both. coffee and/or steamed milk taste bitter and dry. I have used ro and filtered tap before this purchase and decided to switch after opening up the boiler and seeing all the copper leaching happening.my tap water was 7 grains (120ppm) to begin with but have seen it as high as 26 grains in the past, and the softener takes it down to 0 grains wich is no good for espresso quality either. I mostly drink 3rd wave espressos (lighter roasted) but taste nasty out of the plumbed in duetto? I have tried several darker roast and does produce slightly better taste but nothing like I'm used to out of the older hx machines. can it be that my softener system is to big for my machines water usage? I did inspect the machines pump inlet and outlet and discovered some white residue that looked like scale but wiped right off, thinking it was sodium or soft scale from the ion exchange. has anyone had this experence with their duetto and or water softener. Here's a pic of the 15 L softener
Posted Sat Feb 23, 2013, 11:20am Subject: Re: duetto and very soft water
already done before it was hooked to machine. I did see one old post think by marshall over on hb that seen a simular issue inside a boiler, but after flushing tasted fine. alot of people have moved on to just using filtered tap and descaling more often. not sure if this will work as well with the db's though.using the descaling chart on the big rick's water faq page I would be descaling evry other month and have to test evry other week or so. I wasnt sure if the size of the resin tank and amount of resin is making the difference in taste and shot performance or if it's the machine it's self. I did try running a litere of descaler(citric acid) thru the boilers to clear any resadue that might be in the boilers and tried some mixed ro for a day,but didnt help taste or shot. It did however make my steam work better. went from dropping to .05 bar steaming 10oz. to just under 1 bar running on 15amp.
Of course when you soften water you get sodium replacing calcium, but if the water is pretty hard to begin with, usually the only reason for softening, the amount of Sodum Carbonate remaining in the water is pretty high (plus you have all the other crap still in the water). Also, the water is soft, but many components that cause gums and residues still remain, it just doesn't scale.
Using RO and then carefully adding back about 50-70 ppm hardness deals with the taste and copper leaching problems.
Posted Sat Feb 23, 2013, 12:39pm Subject: Re: duetto and very soft water
thanks dave. I was hard water mixing before the db was added to the mix and liked the shots it produced with the hx machines. I pulled out the heating element on one of my hx machines and noticed quite a bit of copper corosion so thats why I switched.I think the total alk was varied at times between 6.2 to 6.4 and mixing until it was between 7.2 to 7.5grain. but not too sure how acidic or ph after being heated under pressure. even tried the soda bicarb trick right before I switched 1/2 tsp in 5 gal ro,added bicarb until 7.5 ph was reached,not sure what tds were as I had no meter yet.(1st batch ran thru duetto with this water made horrable tasting shots.)not sure about the calcite filters,I dont think the ammount released from these can be controlled by user. I just made my wife a latte with the duetto, after flushing the steam wand a sec a drop of water from the wand landed in the milk before I turned steam back on, you could see the milk kind of seperate a little.(looked like oil does floating on water) is this because of the ion exchanged water since milk has calcium in it? The milk taste a little bitter instead of sweet and dry instead of creamy after being steamed. does anyone else that uses softened water experence this effect?
germantownrob Senior Member Joined: 2 Dec 2007 Posts: 2,156 Location: Philadelphia Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Duetto 3, A Dead Oscar Grinder: Vario-W, Preciso w/Esatto,... Drip: Brazen Roaster: Diedrich IR-1, HT B
Posted Mon Feb 25, 2013, 2:44pm Subject: Re: duetto and very soft water
This is got me wondering if I really want to add the softening system to my plumb in. I am running at 6 GPG, with my HX I descaled every 6 months and that kept it clean. I was under the impression it would be easier to add the softening system then it would be to descale the Duetto every 6 months but I am happy with my water after a carbon filter. I have never enjoyed soft water for drinking or bathing for that matter, so does sodium softened water really make it 0 hardness and slimy feeling?
Posted Mon Feb 25, 2013, 4:03pm Subject: Re: duetto and very soft water
not slimy but you do get that sweeter soft water taste. I did finally get a few decent shots this morning with a lighter roast espresso and the dry milk taste has faded some but I can tell the difference between using the 2 different kinds of water.The soft water are making shots sweeter and mega crema,versus good crema and get more bitters when it's in the taste profile. running at 6 you'll run at 0 for a while. seems that the bigger softening tank does matter some, I find if I flush or draw out a gallon of water from a tap I put in before my machine before turning on my machine, shots and milk taste closer to what I'm used to with the ro and filtered tap. still reads 0,grain though. when I purchased the big softener tank I wasnt thinking about when my machine was off or idle and the stale water involved. after I had the pump problem and seen the resadue I found, I did run some descaler thru both boilers not a full descale let it sit 1/2hr while on deposits were gone. I was also told by a water pro in the area the only 2 ways to control my water not going to 0 grains was to use potassium instead of sodium when I recharge( aparently takes slightly longer for the ion exchange to happen thus slowing the process some.or to get a aditional calcite filter which seems would defeat the purpose of the softener in the first place. I'm sure as the seasons change the hardness will go up in the water so I dont like the idea of the calcite filter but I'm going to try the recharge with potassium instead of sodium. the reasoning behind the 15L tank was I wouldnt need to recharge for 4 or 5 years.2200 gal or so
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