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water for espresso, again
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Tonyv138
Senior Member


Joined: 16 Jun 2013
Posts: 74
Location: tx
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: V2B
Grinder: Mazzer SJ
Posted Wed Oct 30, 2013, 6:07pm
Subject: water for espresso, again
 

I know this topic has been covered many times, but i thought I'll give it another try as I am confused...

I read http://coffeetimex.wikidot.com/ro-water-copper-corrosion and followed Dave's instructions on my V2B.

Then, I saw Click Here (www.veniacoffee.com) This link has an interesting vid talking about water quality for LaMarzocco machines and even points one to http://lamarzoccousa.com/docs/tb/LMUSA-Water-Spec.pdf with water specs for their machines.

Not even sure i can find all the test kits to test my tap water or RO + bicarb and furtermore what do i need to adjust it if I wanted to - sounds like a whole water treatment plant for nuclear reactor is required.

The result of my read, sort of indicates that there may not be enough of TDS, Calcium, Alcalinity in RO+bicarb solution. Also, calculating LSI index based on what I saw and if I understood the specs properly, for Crystal Geyser, may not be so great for your taste buds and machine

Any explanation in laymans terms and additional pointers would be appreciated.
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Margaretperron
Senior Member


Joined: 31 Oct 2013
Posts: 1
Location: Canada
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu Oct 31, 2013, 4:17am
Subject: Re: water for espresso, again
 

What I've found on 3 Ulka pumps is that they exhibit this behavior after a couple of years when they get hot and the water in the reservoir is quite warm. My office coffee machine http://www.taceesi.com/products/la-marzocco/  only does it late in the day with the steam boiler on and the home machine only on Saturday afternoons. Other than that they are flawless.
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Mort108
Senior Member
Mort108
Joined: 11 Jul 2013
Posts: 21
Location: Saint Louis
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Vetrano 2B, ROK
Grinder: Baratza Forte
Roaster: Local
Posted Thu Oct 31, 2013, 6:32am
Subject: Re: water for espresso, again
 

I did a lot of research....really a lot.  I have RO with a final stage mineral filter added, but have finally decided to go with the Mavea Purity C setup.  Talked to the sales head and he was very helpful...really wanted to help me. Last weekends Barista fest in Vancouver had Mavea do the water.  What I like is the ability to adjust the by-pass flow of 'tap' water to get a mix suited to my water supply.  I think you are correct in wanting good water...often overlooked and very important...
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Tonyv138
Senior Member


Joined: 16 Jun 2013
Posts: 74
Location: tx
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: V2B
Grinder: Mazzer SJ
Posted Thu Oct 31, 2013, 8:09am
Subject: Re: water for espresso, again
 

I suppose i am doing this research. I have RO and trying to figure out what to do to determine how much of tap water i need to add to have "good espresso water" without doing much descaling or damage to the machine. I cant find a definitive set of test to run for that @ home. The 2 that I have so far are TDS and PH (~70 and ~7.6 respectively). The rest is mystery so far.

I'll look at Mavea website to see what test kits they have...

What tests do you run to ensure your water is up to par?

Thanks
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pShoe
Senior Member


Joined: 13 Nov 2012
Posts: 57
Location: Fort Lauderdale
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Nov 1, 2013, 6:35am
Subject: Re: water for espresso, again
 

At first, I was using tap water filtered through a Purr brand charcoal filter that attaches to the sink faucet. This surprisingly reduced the hardness, not by half, but pretty close. This got me to a close ball park figure of "ideal" espresso water. I measured the water at 120-130 ppm TDS (IIRC) and I'm shooting for 100. The problem is that is only one factor of the equation. I did not know the pH level or alkalinity.

I started to use Dave's post treated RO water method. I have a .01 scale, so I weighed .12g of bicarb per liter. I found I needed a little more to match Dave's 78ppm preferred level. I noticed a improvement in taste, and the way the espresso extracted. The noted improvement could have been all biased, only influenced by my knowledge that I changed the water. In any case, it gave me peace of mind.

The only negative difference I noticed was the milk steaming capability of the machine seemed to diminish significantly. I actually posted a thread about it. I am almost positive the problem was the milk itself. My water change coincided with a new milk purchase. It was the same brand, fat percentage I have always used, but I got a gallon size. For some reason Publix's expiration date on their organic milk is much shorter for their gallon size. The expiration date for their 1/2 gallon is normally over a month away, but the gallon was within a week. By the time I got a new 1/2 gallon milk, I had switched to Crystal Geyser Natural Alpine and my boilers were full with it. Microfoam quality was great again. Unfortunately, I don't know for sure if it was the milk or post treated RO water because the switched happened at the same time. The more I think of it the more I feel it was the milk. I'm sure at some point in the future I'll try post treated RO water again and know for sure.

Anyway, I am happy with Crystal Geyser Natural Alpine. The source makes a difference though. My water is sourced at Salem, SC and is on the soft side for perfect espresso. It seems Norman, AR or Olancha Peak, CA are more ideal. I was doing quite a bit of research myself and made the chart below for Crystal's water sources/plants. In the near future I'm going to contact Crystal and see how easy it will be for me to source water from one of the two "green" locations. If it turns out to be difficult due to my geographical location, I'll go back to post treated RO water.

My water decision is to achieve good tasting espresso, but with a priority to preventing scale build up. Dave's method is very good for that, and Jim Schulman's Insanely Long Water FAQ states, "Use Volvic or Crystal Geyser Natural Alpine water in your home espresso machine. They have
formulations that won't scale, but which still taste OK for coffee." Either choice seems to achieve my goal. If I ever decide to go plumbed it I will definitely go with a Mavea setup.
 
Test strips are garbage, so I bought a cheap TDS meter. I could be wrong, but this seems to be how Dave suggests people to determine what proporation of bicarb they need to add to their RO water. If our TDS matches his TDS, then theoretically we should be around the same pH level.

pShoe: water.JPG
(Click for larger image)
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Tonyv138
Senior Member


Joined: 16 Jun 2013
Posts: 74
Location: tx
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: V2B
Grinder: Mazzer SJ
Posted Fri Nov 1, 2013, 7:46am
Subject: Re: water for espresso, again
 

I got my TDS meter yesterday. Discovered that my TDS (RO+bicarb mix) was @35. Brought it up to ~70 with bicarb today. PH is ~7.6 using API PH test. Will see next few days. Did not notice any change in microfoam production so far. RO only water is @6 and tap water is 230

pShoe,
Curious, what is the reason you want Alpine water, not RO + bicarb? Do you see a difference in taste? BTW, if did you try to calc LSI for Alpine per vide recommendation? I have Norman sourced Alpine delivered to stores here in TX. Have not played with it yet.
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pShoe
Senior Member


Joined: 13 Nov 2012
Posts: 57
Location: Fort Lauderdale
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Nov 1, 2013, 8:39am
Subject: Re: water for espresso, again
 

At the time, I thought the RO water was causing bad microfoam. I decided to try something else, and choose Crystal Alpine due to Jim Schulman's nod of approval for this brand. At this point, I'm certain the bad microfoam was caused by the milk rather than the RO water. Yet, by the time I realized that I had already purchased a good amount of Crystal. I did not notice any difference in taste. Buying Crystal water is less work than treating RO water and the same price, so if I can source Norman, AR's Crystal water I'll go that route. If not, then it will be RO water. Either way I'm happy.
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Mort108
Senior Member
Mort108
Joined: 11 Jul 2013
Posts: 21
Location: Saint Louis
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Vetrano 2B, ROK
Grinder: Baratza Forte
Roaster: Local
Posted Fri Nov 1, 2013, 9:56am
Subject: Re: water for espresso, again
 

I started out by going on line and getting the water report from the city...very detailed, more info than you need, but is a really good starting point for knowing your water.  I have 4 different type of strips to get an average reading and find that also gives me a good idea of where I am at.  Also have a TDS meter and the Mavea system has a liquid hardness testing kit supplied with the filter.  Ideal TDS is 135-150 and PH 7.  Hardness around 3-4 gpg. The link below is for the SCAA's water quality targets for coffee..

Click Here (www.scaa.org)
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GVDub
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 862
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Londinium I, Arrarex...
Grinder: Gaggia MD85, Dienes Mokka,...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Abid Clever
Roaster: Behmor 1600+
Posted Fri Nov 1, 2013, 10:52am
Subject: Re: water for espresso, again
 

The Olancha Peak Crystal Geyser is what I almost always see in the supermarkets here around Los Angeles.
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