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Another reverse osmosis question
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Joined: 17 Jan 2004
Posts: 138
Location: North Oaks, MN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Isomac Tea, LaSpaziale S1,...
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Posted Thu Jan 22, 2004, 8:45am
Subject: Another reverse osmosis question

The Charlotte area does not have terribly hard water; however, it does have a fairly high calcium content as well as some dissolved iron due to the heavy clay content in the area.  The calcium can be found on shower heads and the steam vents of irons will block after a while.  The tile gout has a tendency to get a slight reddish tinge over time.  The water tastes absolutely fine, however, I am concerned about what the water will do to my Isomac Tea.  I thought the ideal solution was a reverse osmosis system until I read the comments about how crappy it makes the espresso taste.  Is the option of adding minerals back in via a calcite carbon filter really viable?  Will it improve the taste without putting the calcium back into the system that the reverse osmosis system just took out?  Would anyone recommend a different approach (other than bottled water)?  Your comments are appreciated!

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Joined: 15 Jan 2004
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Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: Professional

Vac Pot: Vintage for collecting only
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Posted Thu Jan 22, 2004, 1:01pm
Subject: Re: Another reverse osmosis question

RO water actually pulls metals from the machine to fill the void left in the RO process.  Cuno developed a cartridge for adding essential minerals back into the RO water for Brasilia, but I don't know if they can be had.  They even developed different mineral mixes to approximate spa waters from all over the world.

RO does make the espresso flat--if you are very picky.  A good water softener and carbon based filte should do the trick.  An under counter kit can be put together (like RO kits) with the filters and you should be fine.  

Neat concept without a market.

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Senior Member

Joined: 5 Sep 2003
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Posted Fri Jan 23, 2004, 12:17am
Subject: Re: Another reverse osmosis question

Chris Coffee has a variety of cartridge type softeners, filters, and kits.

1st Line sells the big (5 liter?) stainless commercial model softeners that recharge w/ salt.

If your water has enough minerals in it to crust up shower heads, you have enough to do the same thing to the boiler.  I installed a cartridge filter and stainless softener in August and have been happy with the results. The innards of the boiler are clean, and not pickled like they would be if the water was eating away the metal.

In our case (we have 2 kitchen sinks, one by the stove & espresso machine), I diverted the cold water through the filter and softener and then back to the cold water faucet using ordinary stainless braid faucet tubing. Very convenient, but probably not the thing for the only source of water in the kitchen. It would be simple enough to add a tap through a counter top, or even install a little faucet under the sink if that wasn't an option.

Our water is pretty good, but does have calcium, iron and manganese in it. The filter gets the iron and manganese particles, but not the dissolved metals. I found out recently that the very light color from the boiler water was the result of the dissolved iron or manganese precipitating after being softened. In our case, water directly from the softener is colorless, and develops a slight tint after sitting for an hour or two. Taste is fine, but it would be nice to figure a way to filter the tint away as well.

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Joined: 17 Nov 2012
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Location: South of tundra
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Posted Mon Sep 16, 2013, 10:33am
Subject: Re: Another reverse osmosis question

Not sure if i'll get yelled at for reviving an 9year old thread, but here it goes........

My situation requires that I use a RO system and a system that will add mineral hardness to achieve a 5-7 hardness level. My question is, if I'm ADDING hardness, what is the best way?
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Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Mon Sep 16, 2013, 11:57am
Subject: Re: Another reverse osmosis question

Hi, it may have been better to start a new thread but this one is pretty short.
You don't say exactly what the situation is. Is it a whole house filter and only RO is available to you in the home? Is your machine plumb in or is it a pour over with a tank you need to fill?

If it is plumb in, most auto fill systems have a very hard time with RO water, they depend on conduciting current through the water to detect if the machine needs to fill the boiler. If RO is used, nearly always, it is TOO PURE and it will not conduct current. To that, there is the flat taste that everyone mentions.

There are systems I have heard about but never have seen that do add back minerals to the water. If you have a pour over machine, just mix a little "tap" water with the RO water and it should work. You may need to play with ratios to get the best taste though.

Thanks for SEEING it was a 9 year old thread, I can't count how many times people add to a thread they have found on a search, not seeing the age or not realizing that the people who made the thread, may not be participating any more, it happens more often than you would think!

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Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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