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Thread: Best water for a home machine

  1. #1
    kbc
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    Best water for a home machine

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi,

    Can anyone recommend the best way to get quality water for a home machine?

    I'm using bottled water and that's inconvenient and expensive.

    Is there a small filter system (similar to Brita) that does a good job? I need a small system, not a plumbed in system.

    Thanks all.
    Paul

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    Senior Member sprezzatura's Avatar
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    I have a little Brita pitcher. It's a little slow to fill. I'd like a under-the-counter one: Aquapure makes a nice unit. I'll take a look at the Aquapure as I'm going to the hardware store today - let you know the price.

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    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Have you had a read of the sticky on brewing water?


    Java "Sticky what?!?" phile
    Toys! I must have new toys!!!

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    If you do struggle your way through the long, sticky thread on brewing water, you'll find a big push for people to buy a quality water filtration system.

    You're in Melbourne and the water there is reputed to be quite good. I'm in Canberra and the water here is not quite as soft as in Melbourne but it's still pretty good. I too am using a Brita jug and I find it hard to believe that it's not adequate in places where the water quality out of the tap is not too bad to start with, provided that I replace the filter a little ahead of time. (There are some places with very hard water and I would probably install an in-line filter if I lived in one of those.)

    Based on that long and sticky thread I expect a negative reaction to this view. I will find out whether I'm right or wrong at the first annual service for my machine.
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    kbc
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    I'm an ex-scientist and used to run equipment using filtered water.

    After the filtration system a deionised resin tank was essential to get rid of the Silica.

    I guess I'm looking for a system similar to Brita with a deionising resin included in the filtration canister. Any ideas on that????

    I'll start my way through that massive thread Java

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    You probably know more than most people here then, and much more than me. So I'd be interested in what you decide, in due course.

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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pauly404 View Post
    I'm an ex-scientist and used to run equipment using filtered water.

    After the filtration system a deionised resin tank was essential to get rid of the Silica.

    I guess I'm looking for a system similar to Brita with a deionising resin included in the filtration canister. Any ideas on that????

    I'll start my way through that massive thread Java
    An ex scientist eh? tell us more.

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    kbc
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    Well.... Only just ex. I moved into project management so now I manage a team of scientists...

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    The Aqua Pro bench top water filter/softener from Bombora can be a good choice. It's small, and has a diverter valve that attaches to your kitchen sink tap so no need to plumb-in.
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    I think the only way to really determine what you need is to measure the TH and TDS of your water and find a suitable filter from there (which may be nothing). I would also recommend checking the specs of any filter offered to you to make sure it will produce water with appropriate TH and TDS and then test the filtered water to make sure the result is as expected. I supplied my water test results to a filter retailer specializing in filtration for coffee machines and purchased the filter they recommended. I tested the filtered water and the TH was still too high. I checked the in-coming water and TH was as expected and close to as reported to the retailer. I checked the filter specs and found it was working correctly but that it could not reduce the TH by the amount required.
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  11. #11
    kbc
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    Thanks Pete

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    A BRITA system may be sufficient for the soft water in most Australian cities, either that or you could hook up an inline water filter (i.e. the type em6910 ships with, or this from talkcoffee). While I've seen people here claim BRITA will do nothing for scale build up, thats not true - basically the cartridges contain activated carbon (to remove chlorine and organic compounds), along with an ion exchange resin which swaps calcium for sodium. That resin is the same as the inline filters which can conveniently be regenerated in salty water. Scientific grade water is very different in that it uses reverse osmosis to remove metal ions completely.

    If you want to know where you stand you would need to do what pete did and actually measure it. The 'flavour' of water (and presumably coffee) will be affected by the ion content - the end goal isn't to remove all of the calcium and magnesium. Also the simple act of filtration would help reduce the amount of insoluble crud sticking to the inside of your machine. If you own a high end machine the investment is definitely worthwhile!

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    TC
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    Yes- as per our post above yours, a brita cheapie from a supermarket might soften water for the first few litres on a new cartridge. It's a drinking water filter, not a coffee filter. FWIW, I don't place massive faith on the inline ones either. In the majority of cases, owners forget to freshen them or don't know/don't care.

    For mine, the bidding starts with http://www.talkcoffee.com.au/shop/aq...ration-system/
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    kbc
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    Thanks Chris. I agree with you there.

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    Yeah the decrease in function over time and uncertainty of performance makes the inline filters of limited use... especially in em6910s when they are left untouched for 5 years!

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    Water for your coffee machine,at home.

    Water for your coffee machine,at home.
    Why not try rain water,your will need a means to collect it ie roof area and suitable tank for storage,small ones are available.
    I have a older cimbali basic M27 and it's plumbed to a 2500 litre rainwater tank (first flush filtering).
    Absolutely sparkling water,very soft and clean....no calcium and very little dust residue,means I don't bother descaling anymore (I do check though).
    All my domestic machines use nothing except rainwater as well,terrific ,once set up it's free.
    Obviously some commercial applications will need considering to plumbing to outside storage options.
    Cheers
    Mick

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    kbc
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    Thanks Mick. GREAT idea. I have a rainwater tank for the garden but never thought of using it for the coffee machine before ...

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    TOK
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    yes....beautifully soft with no scale problem but.....dont forget birds crap up there, and you get birds, frogs, lizards and other things occasionally dying up there and also ending up in your tank etc etc etc.

    My rain water is beautiful to drink and use in the coffee machine however....I do filter the part that goes to my drinking water fountain, down to half a micron to get rid of any possibility of other nasties such as giardia, chryptosporidium and anything else to do with the crap up on the roof and in the tank/s...

    So, if you're not conditioning or filtering for one thing, you may still be filtering for something else.

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    Guys, one word of advice...

    Ive read scott rao's book

    "The proffesional barista handbook"

    and his advice on water quality is to not use RO water... he says that you should avoid getting no minerals and should have only sufficient levels of minerals.......

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pauly404 View Post
    Thanks Mick. GREAT idea. I have a rainwater tank for the garden but never thought of using it for the coffee machine before ...
    Hi Pauly404

    I was brought up in country NSW originally, and was taught that filtering rainwater on the way into the tank is essential if you want to drink it.

    For reasons I cannot fathom, West Oz practice is too allow anything into the tank and then hit it with heavy duty filtering on the way out. Dead frogs & birds are very common using that system.

    For my own coffee (and all drinking) use, I actually filter the rainwater on the way in with a fairly standard graduated filtering system (from coarse "remove twigs" to fine enough to trap most dirt) and then "stone candle filter" it on the way out as well. Nothing ever seems to get through to the machine (i.e. no residue after 18+ months of normal use) and the tank lasted from 1986 to about 2011 before it got "whiffy": so I emptied it out and cleaned it from scratch. It had less than 1" of sediment, which I thought was good going.

    Whatever you decide, if you use rainwater I would urge you to filter in & out.

    TampIt

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    TOK
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    I'd be interested to know how water running from the roof during rain and storms is filtered before entering the tanks, unless you mean the sieve and trap collectors we all have at the entry point to our tanks. I would be interested to know how water can be "filtered" when it is running at such volume from the roof...the rate of flow is quite different to that which is filtered in the normal sense when being pumped out for household use.

    I wouldn't call sieves and traps "filters", if that is what you mean.

  23. #23
    kbc
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    I agree. Rainwater (unfiltered) might not be great with all the dust and other bits washing off from the roof...

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    When using rain water it helps if you divert the first water away from your tank. Your roof gets dust, dirt, leaves and bird poo. The first rain effectively washes your roof. If you do not use a first flush diverting device, the first of the rainwater will carry most of the dirt straight into your tank and become part of your drinking water.

    Barry
    Last edited by Barry_Duncan; 24th October 2014 at 09:13 AM.

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    kbc
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    Good idea Barry. I might give that a try.

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    Hey Pauly404

    As gunda mentioned earlier, the water quality in Melbourne is really good. Especially in the eastern regions. I used to work for one of the water companies and I can honestly say the filtration process that the water goes through before it's get's to your house is amazing. Our water quality has been voted as one of the best in the world. I'd be interested to hear what differences you have noticed with boiled water vs tap water if you are in the Melb area?

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    Senior Member noidle22's Avatar
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    I always try to use water that has an oxygen in it and also two hydrogens

  28. #28
    kbc
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    H2O. Not H2no

  29. #29
    kbc
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    Coffee Fever,
    There's no need to boil melbourne water. No one does that....

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    Tank or Rain water for coffee use.

    Dear coffee drinkers.
    Depending where you live in Melbourne with airborne nastie's from near by industry,the water goes through our first flush,a bypass of around sixty litres.
    This represents a good clearing of the majority of roof "yuck",leaving the tank contents pure and perfect for coffee machines.
    Calcium in a dissolved state is present in town drinking water and is responsible for the scale build up in any water heating appliance.
    Filtering will not remove dissolved calcium.
    Descaling your water heating appliance temporally clears the restriction imposed by this calcium (just like cholesterol buildup in our blood vessels).
    Rainwater collected (with a first flush diversion) will be calcium free as well as fluoride,Alum etc ..whatever your local water board chooses to bung in,free also.
    Better flavour together with the only other ingredient,coffee.
    Check out options for your rain water tank like first flush diversion,ours works well all year round.
    See CSIRO report regarding use of rain water from roof catchments.
    Public liability though may play a part in its use for a business,cafe's etc...is it politically correct?
    This is my opinion and I'm sticking to it!
    Cheers
    Mick.

    Quote Originally Posted by mulquemi View Post
    Water for your coffee machine,at home.
    Why not try rain water,your will need a means to collect it ie roof area and suitable tank for storage,small ones are available.
    I have a older cimbali basic M27 and it's plumbed to a 2500 litre rainwater tank (first flush filtering).
    Absolutely sparkling water,very soft and clean....no calcium and very little dust residue,means I don't bother descaling anymore (I do check though).
    All my domestic machines use nothing except rainwater as well,terrific ,once set up it's free.
    Obviously some commercial applications will need considering to plumbing to outside storage options.
    Cheers
    Mick

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    Senior Member Journeyman's Avatar
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    I use Reverse Osmosis for all internal uses. Near as I can see the 'don't use RO' idea has more to do with sensors needing ions than because it doesn't make good coffee - I had it mentioned after one of my posts and couldn't find anything that actually proves pure water isn't good for coffee.

    I had a portable RO unit to begin with - came with an extra membrane and lasted close to 4 years (I was single then) - and my under-sink one has been going great guns since I got it. Last I looked the ROI for the under-sink (which is easily removed and also simple to replace any of the 4 filters) was about 3c/litre. Figured that is a worthwhile investment in my good health.

    And the coffee is superb...

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    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    A word of warning!!! The consumption of pure and/or RO water can lead to the wearing of alu-foil hats whilst standing on soapboxes and/or pedestals
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    I had a tour of an industrial RO facility this week. I've that feeling of being followed ever since...
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    Journeyman, Why?

    RO water has almost no minerals....

    In scott rao's book, he points out that you should avoid having NO minerals and that you should stick to certain amounts...

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    And out come the peanut gallery to cast their aspersion with zero content relating to the thread.

    @TheLudicrousBean - First, 'almost no' is not the same thing as 'no' Also Rao does not explain WHY he thinks it is important to not have 'no minerals' - it's just an offhand comment when he is talking about water quality.
    Reverse osmosis: Removes more than 90% of TDS, hardness and alkalinity. Straight RO water is too pure for espresso, tea or coffee brewing. RO water should always be blended with mineral-rich carbon-filtered water or used in conjunction with a remineralizer
    But he also says that high TDS causes poor tasting coffee...
    To put it simply, the less "stuff" already dissolved in brewing water the more "stuff" the water will dissolve from the grounds. If TDS levels are too high water is a weaker solvent and will not extract enough solubles from the grounds.
    Now I am not sure how he defines 'straight' but the context of the section where he talks about this is that he is implying water that is 100% H2O, something no reasonably priced RO unit will deliver.

    And remineralisers are a common feature on RO systems - I have one on mine. What it means is you get the minerals that are known to be useful for the human body, not crap like chlorine, chloramines and fluoride. Try drinking pure water for a while and the tap water starts to smell and taste off. Anyone wanting to put that in their coffee is welcome to it - I prefer to taste only the coffee. Carbon filters might help with the chlorine but only RO and distilling remove fluoride.

    In spite of the comments implying I'm some kind of fruitcake, I'll stick with putting the best quality resources I can get into my body. Cleaning up the water is just one part of healthy living and at 3c/L it is a cheap way to help your body function optimally. And the coffee tastes GREAT - better than almost every café I have been to - and I'm a Melbourne guy, a city with some of the best coffee available.
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    Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, you have yours and good on you for that.
    I believe tank water is the right way for me to enjoy coffee and treat all my coffee producing appliances (all twenty four of them).
    Always great to have such a selection to choose from!
    Cheers
    Mick.

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    Tank water is (mostly) a great alternative. Unfortunately many people live in environments where tank water collection is closer to a concentration system for the various noxious chemicals released into our environment than it is to a source of pure water. If you're one of the lucky ones, good for you. But there are many who rely on blind faith in the media as arbiter for their opinions and who have little idea of the process of Science and so quote Authority as if it is the be-all and end-all of knowledge.

    You can tell them by their posts that target a poster instead of the subject. And they tend to run in packs, so you see the same culprits lining up to have a go one after another. Mob mentality? Or maybe fear of standing by themselves? Maybe it's just their belief that if lots of people say the same thing it must be right?

    Not sure, but it's common on forums.
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  38. #38
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Comments from the uneducated of any specific subject speciality, are just opinions. If you want to know exactly and factually what you should be doing, talk to a professional...

    Mal.
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    Generalising comments that put down others are less than useful, in spite of like-minded types 'Liking' them. Specifics would help make such comments more in keeping with the expressed wishes of the site owner. Comments failing to talk on the post subject and clearly aimed at a poster are hostile.

    Professionals are often simply regurgitators of the dogma attached to their learning and many, if not most, advances come from those who specifically go against the orthodox views. As an example one might look at the expressed knowledge of the experts regarding Climate; only the most fanatical still claim the Earth is warming. The rest of the Scientific world involved in such is trying to find explanations for why it stopped warming right about the time all the doom&gloomers were telling us how bad things were getting.

    So going to 'professionals' can often be less than useful, particularly in a field like coffee where not only are the results so personally variable, the field itself is still undergoing changes that often radically alter the accepted 'reality' of the professionals.

    Also, one might perhaps ascertain the level of understanding, research and practical knowledge of anyone one wishes to denigrate posters before labelling them uneducated.

    One might also either contribute to the subject or go find another thread.

    Personally I prefer to make sure that what I put in my body does the least amount of harm - I don't go around making fun of those who blindly follow the mainstream and believe whatever they are told in the media, I just present my views, mostly with backup. I'd ask for sources but the 3 offensive posts have not actually contributed anything other than ridicule so clearly there will be none forthcoming.

    It takes very little research at all to start finding the problems with fluoride, and only a little thought on the subject will have one realising that even if there is a justification for topical use, there is no such evidence for ingesting such a poison. And with just a bit more research one can easily find out that even if there IS topical usefulness, it cannot possibly have any effect that continues past the age of around 11 or 12. That's the SCIENCE behind the scenes rather than the mantra proclaimed by the mainstream and media types.

    Anything short of a reverse osmosis system will not remove fluoride and it takes activated carbon to deal with the chloramines, added to water supplies because chlorine breaks down fairly quickly with sunlight or aeration - chloramines are added specifically to ensure the chemicals are still active when they reach your tap.

    Those ridiculing my position may not care that they are ingesting such substances and allowing their family to do so - I do. I fail to see why that brings such content-free posts.

    The one post that DID address my post sensibly I responded to with information taken from the same source quoted.
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    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Now... was that a soapbox or a pedestal?
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  41. #41
    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    And... your new comments on global warming don't do your credibility any favours.
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    I don’t take water for the chemicals in it but to quench my thirst and make my coffee and also to wash in.

    I would rather drink water with the remnants of chlorine in it than to suffer from cholera, typhoid fever, dysentery or other water spread diseases. We are lucky in Australia where most of us have access to clean and healthy water and where the use of bottled water is not necessary.

    I drink water straight from the tap. However I treat my coffee water to reduce the formation of scale.

    Barry
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  43. #43
    TOK
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    I know from personal experience that when I have taken my roasted beans from one locality to another, it has taken on a different character according to the quality of the water.....or so I think....

    I think the answer to the original question is simple enough:

    What is the "best" water for coffee: Answer: any potable water.

    Because after that it just comes down to personal preference as to what anyone thinks they are tasting in their coffee, and that they think is significant enough that they may want to eliminate (or not).

    There are really only 2 principle reasons for *conditioning* water before it goes in the coffee machine. One is to circumvent the formation of scale in the machine, and the other is so that particles dont enter the machine and cause a blockage somewhere, that will then require an intervention to clear. That is *for the machine*.

    The other reasons for filtering so that flavours or odours dont assault our delicate sensitivities, are not to do with the machine byt for ourselves. Some people are more sensitive (or more likely to take notice) than others, and plain and simple, there are plenty of people for which all this stuff will go straight over their heads and who didnt notice, and dont care one way or another.

    Going back then to the original question, if Pauly is in an area where there is a scale problem, he should be looking for something that either softens the water on the way into the machines reservoir, or a so called 'anti scaling" filter. these are two different approaches to the same end....no (or lessened) scale formation in machine. If the water is "good" on the scale front, it only copmes down to particle filtration OR, if Pauly is picky about odours and flavours from chlorine etc, then to look for some form of filtration that will take care of that.

    Otherwise may I simply say in terms of a budget that will be low key (cost effective, cost convenient, whatever):
    a) that the simple britta thing may be all that is needed (subject to Pauly individual needs/wants)
    b) clean rainwater probably the very cheapest option or
    c) whatever pauly wants to budget for himself.

    For the rest of it, 1) Many people here resent being lectured by other anonymous people they never met in internet forums....waste of time and energy and 2) There is a facilty in this forum to "like" posts, and I believe they offer a convenient and "post efficient" way of agreeing with someoines idea which has already been posted, without having a litany of posts from different people all saying the same thing. Its there, its convenient, deal with it. Is this a coffee forum or a lecture forum? And that is the end of my lecture.
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  44. #44
    kbc
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    Wow. This thread is spiralling a bit !! I'll let you know what I decide on. Cheers everyone.

  45. #45
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pauly404 View Post
    Hi,

    Can anyone recommend the best way to get quality water for a home machine?

    I'm using bottled water and that's inconvenient and expensive.

    Is there a small filter system (similar to Brita) that does a good job? I need a small system, not a plumbed in system.

    Thanks all.
    Paul
    Any thread that mentions water has the potential to go into orbit, everyone is either an expert or has something to sell.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinitasse View Post
    And... your new comments on global warming don't do your credibility any favours.
    You must be one of the so called 'Professionals' yea?

  47. #47
    Senior Member noonar's Avatar
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    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-eq...tml#post543697

    As far as I can tell, THE minimum requirement for conditioning water for espresso machines is the prevention of limescale to protect investments… All other numerous water treatment options appear to be either personal preference or are required due to specific local conditions. Needless to say, limescale prevention is a far more favourable option than the machine repair alternative – as illustrated above. I use Everpure Claris supplied by and recommended by a CS sponsor after consideration of my local water conditions (very hard water). I run a water line from a tee at my washing machine connection in the laundry through the Claris system and jug the conditioned water to my tanked espresso machine daily. I water test fortnightly, Inspect the mushroom bianually and have been very satisfied with the results.

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    As a retired professional, not in coffee but in soil, my research through CoffeeSnobs and elsewhere on the internet shows that the desirable method of water treatment to reduce scale formation in our coffee machines is to pass water through ion-exchange resin to remove magnesium and calcium which is not removed by the common carbon filters.

    There is plenty of discussion on water treatment elsewhere on this site.

    Barry

  49. #49
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry_Duncan View Post
    As a retired professional, not in coffee but in soil, my research through CoffeeSnobs and elsewhere on the internet shows that the desirable method of water treatment to reduce scale formation in our coffee machines is to pass water through ion-exchange resin to remove magnesium and calcium which is not removed by the common carbon filters.
    To each their own I guess
    Vinitasse, TOK, mulquemi and 1 others like this.

  50. #50
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Oct 2004
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by Journeyman View Post
    Generalising comments that put down others are less than useful, in spite of like-minded types 'Liking' them. Specifics would help make such comments more in keeping with the expressed wishes of the site owner. Comments failing to talk on the post subject and clearly aimed at a poster are hostile.
    My post probably came over a bit more brusque than I intended ('twas becoming ever more painful to sit at my desk and type) but was not aimed at you JM, if that is your allusion. Aimed more at the fact that there are so many differing "opinions" about the subject when in the interests of serving the OP's best interests, I think time spent talking with a professional will sort out all and any queries that the OP may have.

    Mal.



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