DaveN_OrlFL Senior Member Joined: 2 Mar 2014 Posts: 6 Location: Orlando, FL Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Vibiemme Domobar Junior HX
Posted Sun Mar 2, 2014, 2:53pm Subject: Question - When to descale and ideal water parameters?
Newbie to prosumer espresso machines and new to this forum.
I am looking for some advice on when to descale, I have not done a descale yet and my Vibiemme has been in use since 9/6/2013, my typical Mon-Fri routine is 1 cappuccino daily (extract hot water from hot water wand into the cup for heating the cup, brew head cooling flush, pull a double shot, steam milk, run steam to clear the steam wand, open brew lever to run hot water to clear the brew head), typical Sat–Sun routine is 2-3 cappuccino’s daily. Every now and then I extract about 1/2 - 3/4 cup of hot water from the hot water wand to reduce the mineral buildup in the boiler.
Initially I was using the intank water softener (recharging monthly) but after a couple months switched to using a Britta pitcher.
My water parameters are:
Tap: TDS 166 ppm - AL 175 ppm Britta Pitcher new cartridge: TDS 96 ppm – AL 51 ppm – KH 71 ppm Britta Pitcher 6 weeks approx (at this point I replace the cartridge): TDS 120 ppm – AL 80 ppm – KH 107 ppm
Attached is a picture of the mushroom – how would you rate the scaling (low – medium –high)? Should I have descaled sooner or is now the time or should I wait longer? Also looking at the Britta stats and the picture should I stay with the Britta pitcher or switch to another type of filter? I see in some internet forums they use Volvic Natural Mineral Water indicating its boiler safe – would this be a valid option rather than filtering tap water? I know there is a balance between water with low minerals for low scaling and higher minerals for better espresso taste and am trying to find that middle ground.
Ryebread119 Senior Member Joined: 30 Jul 2013 Posts: 21 Location: Maine Expertise: Pro Barista
Espresso: Elektra Sixties Grinder: Mazzer Mini Drip: Chemex
Posted Sun Mar 2, 2014, 8:08pm Subject: Re: When to descale and ideal water parameters
I'm going to leave it to someone else to comment on the scale amount and water parameters, but I did want to comment on the Brita. Scale is caused by hard water. The Brita filters the water, but does not soften it. Filter your water through the Brita, but don't by pass the importance of the softener.
Listen to the steam, the sign of a good drink is in it's acoustics.
brianl Senior Member Joined: 1 Dec 2012 Posts: 442 Location: Chicago IL Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Gaggia Classic (w/PID) Grinder: Baratza Vario Drip: chemex
Posted Mon Mar 3, 2014, 1:07pm Subject: Re: When to descale and ideal water parameters
When it comes to descale, and water parameters, I only really have one piece of advice...When the water out tastes bad. By this I mean run a shot with no coffee and then try the water. I can tell you everything I like, but that doesn't mean anything to you. However, I believe the SCAA has parameters that you can check out.
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