Our Valued Sponsor
OpinionsConsumer ReviewsGuides and How TosCoffeeGeek ReviewsResourcesForums
Espresso: Questions and Answers
Best water for good espresso and long boiler life
Rancilio Silvia - How to
Step by step guide for easy brewing and steaming with the Rancilio Silvia
www.seattlecoffeegear.com
 
Not Logged in: Log In to Postlog in
New Topics updated topics   New Posts new posts   Unanswered Posts new unanswered  
Search Discussion Board search   Discussion Board FAQ faq   Signup sign up  
Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > Best water for...  
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
showing page 1 of 2 last page next page
Author Messages
coffeebear
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Sep 2009
Posts: 33
Location: houston
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic, naked pf
Grinder: Mazzer Super Jolly, used
Vac Pot: none
Drip: Melitta
Roaster: none
Posted Wed Jun 9, 2010, 9:08am
Subject: Best water for good espresso and long boiler life
 

My Gaggia manual says to use only “purified or bottled” water, so I’ve been using only distilled water, which Wikipedia describes as one kind of “purified water” (the other being deionized water), to help prevent boiler scale. I’ve also run Cleancaf through at intervals. The machine is less than a year old and works fine; the espresso tastes good and has nice crema.
Recently, though, I’ve read posts on this and other coffee-related Web sites that advise against using distilled water in any espresso machine. Several reasons are given: Distilled water doesn’t taste as good as natural water because it lacks the latter’s trace quantities of various minerals and salts, and distilled water doesn’t extract as much flavor from coffee as natural water does.
Some posts also warn specifically against using distilled water in a Gaggia machine because atmospheric CO2 is absorbed into the water, increasing its acidity and corroding the aluminum boiler. Finally, others warn that contact between the Gaggia’s chrome-and-brass grouphead and the aluminum boiler creates galvanic corrosion of the boiler, regardless of what kind of water is used.
On the other side, some posts by Gaggia owners say that they have never experienced boiler problems and that descaling and backflushing (which Gaggia advises against), will keep the machine in good shape.
All of this is confusing, especially so because Gaggia doesn’t mention the problem, if it is one, in their manuals. Also, most of those posting the warnings are not chemists or engineers who specialize in water-metal reactions. This topic has been argued about in so many threads on so many sites, with so little resolution, that I want to cast it in a different form. I’m not looking for a Gaggia-vs-Rancilio debate. I’d just like to know what WATER CHARACTERISTICS are ideal (i.e., make best-tasting espresso and preserve boiler life) for each kind of boiler – aluminum, stainless steel and brass.
One contributor, speaking of espresso machines generally, recommends Volvic or Crystal Spring Natural AIpine water. Brand names are fine, but it would also be good to know the desirable range of pH, hardness, concentrations of various dissolved salts, etc., that are ideal for both good espresso and long boiler life.
If the ideal water is going to be different depending on whether the boiler is aluminum, stainless steel or brass, I’d like to know the proper pH, TDS, etc., for each of these. And if water that’s ideal for a brass or steel boiler can be made safer for an aluminum one by adding a dab of soda, Evian, or some such, that would be good to know too.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
coffeebear
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Sep 2009
Posts: 33
Location: houston
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic, naked pf
Grinder: Mazzer Super Jolly, used
Vac Pot: none
Drip: Melitta
Roaster: none
Posted Wed Jun 9, 2010, 9:14am
Subject: Re: Best water for good espresso and long boiler life
 

Forgot to mention: Some of this may be covered in "Jim Schulman's "Insanely Long Wter FAQ," but I can't call that up on the Big Rick address. Has the document been taken down, and if not, is it posted on another site?
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
c4h5n2o
Senior Member
c4h5n2o
Joined: 19 Jul 2005
Posts: 234
Location: Vancouver
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: LM
Grinder: Bunn/Vario
Drip: Swiss gold
Roaster: No time
Posted Thu Jun 10, 2010, 1:22am
Subject: Re: Best water for good espresso and long boiler life
 

You want some minerals in the water. About 4 grains of calcium hardness is ideal water for espresso in terms of taste. Of course if you have too much mineral content you will develop a lot of scale, which is undesirable mineral deposits in your espresso machine. And completely pure or distilled water could under some conditions leach or corrode some boilers.

The SCAA water recommendations can be found here. And the article by Jim S. that you refer to is also very good and can be easily found with Google.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
coffeebear
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Sep 2009
Posts: 33
Location: houston
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic, naked pf
Grinder: Mazzer Super Jolly, used
Vac Pot: none
Drip: Melitta
Roaster: none
Posted Thu Jun 10, 2010, 11:09pm
Subject: Re: Best water for good espresso and long boiler life
 

Thanks. That SCAA Standard may be all I need.
I see lots of references to the "Insanely Long Water FAQ" but they always link to the big-rick website, and I can't open it.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
sweaner
Senior Member
sweaner
Joined: 16 Nov 2007
Posts: 1,125
Location: Yardley, PA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Vetrano, Arrarex Caravel, La...
Grinder: Mazzer SJ, OE Pharos
Drip: Bunn Trifecta MB
Roaster: Poppery II
Posted Sat Jun 12, 2010, 4:50pm
Subject: Re: Best water for good espresso and long boiler life
 

The Big Rick site does seem to be down.

 
-Scott
“Coffee - the favorite drink of the civilized world.”
Thomas Jefferson
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
secondo
Senior Member


Joined: 6 Sep 2008
Posts: 101
Location: NC
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Jun 12, 2010, 6:08pm
Subject: Re: Best water for good espresso and long boiler life
 

Here is google's cache of the ILW FAQ so you can read it even if the website is currently down...

Click Here (webcache.googleusercontent.com)
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
nickolas23
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Aug 2010
Posts: 4
Location: M
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu Sep 9, 2010, 2:17pm
Subject: Re: Best water for good espresso and long boiler life
 

I can understand that distilled water doesn't taste as good straight up, but can people really tell when coffee/espresso is made using distilled vs. tap vs. bottled?

I'm using half tap, half distilled just to play it safe.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
wbaguhn
Senior Member
wbaguhn
Joined: 16 Feb 2009
Posts: 980
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Ponte Vecchio Lusso
Grinder: Cunill Tranquilo, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Cory DR
Drip: Vietnamese gadget, AeroPress
Roaster: Behmor
Posted Thu Sep 9, 2010, 2:41pm
Subject: Re: Best water for good espresso and long boiler life
 

nickolas23 Said:

can people really tell when coffee/espresso is made using distilled vs. tap vs. bottled?

Posted September 9, 2010 link

Yes.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
JonR10
Senior Member
JonR10
Joined: 26 Apr 2004
Posts: 10,376
Location: Houston, Texas
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: E61 Legend, Livietta,...
Grinder: Robur, B-Vario-W
Vac Pot: Hario Tabletop, Yama...
Drip: Technivorm
Roaster: 1-lb US Roaster, Behmor 1600
Posted Sun Sep 12, 2010, 5:02pm
Subject: Re: Best water for good espresso and long boiler life
 

thread moved to espresso Q&A

 
Jon Rosenthal
Houston, TX
back to top
 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
Killovicz
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Sep 2010
Posts: 29
Location: Copenhagen
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia :)
Grinder: Vario Home
Vac Pot: Moka Pot
Drip: AeroPress Sucks
Roaster: Custom Made Roster
Posted Sun Sep 12, 2010, 6:00pm
Subject: Re: Best water for good espresso and long boiler life
 

@c4h5n2o

WOW!

This article is the most WOW thing I have ever seen! (regarding the matter)

Thanks a lot dude :D

@coffeebear

My advice to is use the SCAA standards! Add all the elements (to your distilled water) and let it rest for a while to absorb CO2 from the air (Total Alkalinity 40 mg/L, If I've understood this right). If your boiler dies because of this solution (which I highly doubt), then buy another machine, the one that has proven to be able to manage it.

You might wanna buy one of thise at some point, to test pH/TDS of your solution ;), lol
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
showing page 1 of 2 last page next page
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > Best water for...  
New Topics updated topics   New Posts new posts   Unanswered Posts new unanswered     Search Discussion Board search   Discussion Board FAQ faq   Signup sign up  
Not Logged in: Log In to Postlog in
Discussions Quick Jump:
Symbols: New Posts= New Posts since your last visit      No New Posts= No New Posts since last visit     Go to most recent post= Newest post
Forum Rules:
No profanity, illegal acts or personal attacks will be tolerated in these discussion boards.
No commercial posting of any nature will be tolerated; only private sales by private individuals, in the "Buy and Sell" forum.
No SEO style postings will be tolerated. SEO related posts will result in immediate ban from CoffeeGeek.
No cross posting allowed - do not post your topic to more than one forum, nor repost a topic to the same forum.
Who Can Read The Forum? Anyone can read posts in these discussion boards.
Who Can Post New Topics? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post new topics.
Who Can Post Replies? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post replies.
Can Photos be posted? Anyone can post photos in their new topics or replies.
Who can change or delete posts? Any CoffeeGeek member can edit their own posts. Only moderators can delete posts.
Probationary Period: If you are a new signup for CoffeeGeek, you cannot promote, endorse, criticise or otherwise post an unsolicited endorsement for any company, product or service in your first five postings.
Rocket R58 Double Boiler
Rocket Espresso R58 Double Boiler -  Everything you need for the perfect shot!
www.seattlecoffeegear.com
Home | Opinions | Consumer Reviews | Guides & How Tos | CoffeeGeek Reviews | Resources | Forums | Contact Us
CoffeeGeek.com, CoffeeGeek, and Coffee Geek, along with all associated content & images are copyright ©2000-2014 by Mark Prince, all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Content, code, and images may not be reused without permission. Usage of this website signifies agreement with our Terms and Conditions. (0.298453092575)
Privacy Policy | Copyright Info | Terms and Conditions | CoffeeGeek Advertisers | RSS | Find us on Google+