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  • Rubbery taste in steam and hot water

    Gday CSers, this is my first post although Ive been reading with interest for a few weeks. Awesome site.  I can see me spending many hours here.

    For many years, almost whenever Ive ordered a pot of tea in a cafe or restaurant, both in and outside Australia, there has been a rubbery taste to the water. This seems worst when an espresso machine provides the boiled water. Sometimes it has been totally undrinkable and Ive asked the staff if their equipment is connected by old rubber hose.
    At my current home (municipally chlorinated bore water, leaves no scale) I can achieve this taste in a clean, even brand new, stainless kettle by reboiling after a period of say 2 hours standing. The initial boil tastes fine. Prior to the recent upgrade of our water treatment plant, this taste was never apparent at home. I can imagine in a big old cafe espresso machine, the boiler water sits all day or all week waiting to be used for hot water and steam hence the sometimes intense rubber flavour.
    Recently I fired up a restored 3 group Rancilio Z11 in a cafe we intend to open soon using the same town water supply but with carbon filter in-line to the Z11.  First coffee tasted good and I havent made a tea yet but when I tasted some steamed milk guess what? Faintly rubbery. Since the Z11 contains heat exchangers to the group head feeds, the coffee water is quite fresh and changes regularly unlike the large fairly static volume of boiler water which feeds the hot water and steam outlets.
    Im sure this taste has to do with the treatment chemicals and is in my experience a major problem. Has anyone else experienced this? What can we do except change the boiler water several times a day to minimise the problem?

    Regards,  Neil Sandison

  • #2
    Re: Rubbery taste in steam and hot water

    Hi Neil and welcome to CS!

    From your description, I have 2 suggestions...

    1. Contact Bernard from Bombora (sposnor on the left) for advice regarding water and filtration systems, and,
    2. As this experience seems to follow you wherever you go/try, perhaps it has something to do with your sense of taste, and perhaps you might consider checking with a GP?

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Rubbery taste in steam and hot water

      Welcome to Coffee Snobs Neil.

      If you suspect its the water why dont you talk to the sponsor "Bombora" (see link on the left).
      They specialise in filters, so Id guess if anyone has come across this problem before it will be them.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Rubbery taste in steam and hot water

        Originally posted by cuppacoffee link=1226497545/0#1 date=1226530175
        Hi Neil and welcome to CS!

        From your description, I have 2 suggestions...

        1.  Contact Bernard from Bombora (sposnor on the left) for advice regarding water and filtration systems, and,
        2.  As this experience seems to follow you wherever you go/try, perhaps it has something to do with your sense of taste, and perhaps you might consider checking with a GP?
        While one may first think it is a product problem - Water, I tend to lean towards item 2: as a worth while course of action.

        It only appears to happen after the water has been re boiled ?? Or where you might know or believe that it has been re boiled.

        Do others do not notice it as well ?

        For many years, almost whenever Ive ordered a pot of tea in a cafe or restaurant, both in and outside Australia, there has been a rubbery taste to the water.

        At my current home (municipally chlorinated bore water, leaves no scale) I can achieve this taste in a clean, even brand new, stainless kettle by reboiling after a period of say 2 hours standing. The initial boil tastes fine. Prior to the recent upgrade of our water treatment plant, this taste was never apparent at home.
        Doubt that is the treatment plant as you also state that you notice this else where and many places have their own filters and or very different water supply.


        First coffee tasted good and I havent made a tea yet but when I tasted some steamed milk guess what? Faintly rubbery.
        If the water is tainted so bad that it flavours the milk ( reasonable short time of contact) then I would be expecting the water to be that bad it would be able to get up an walk out on its own. It would also suggest that there would be some smell on the air... Further more, others should be able to also pick it up...

        Thus, is there a trigger (real or otherwise) that is tricking your sense of smell or is it that your like a super taster and can pick up very slight changes etc or is there another reason?

        Once again, if your the only one who appears to be picking up the biggest changes and even in the process of re boiling your own kettle...

        Then is strong possibility that it might be just you...

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Rubbery taste in steam and hot water

          Definitely not me - my wife notices exactly the same thing and other people have told me that they too have experienced this undrinkable tea problem. Im actually very surprised that no-one else replying so far has experienced this in a cafe or even home kettle as I (wrongly)assumed it would be a known problem.

          My wife and I never noticed this effect in our own home until the last few years since the local water treatment plant was upgraded. It is noticeable even in our brand new Russell Hobbs stainless kettle bought a fortnight ago.

          Ill be running trials round at the cafe this weekend and well line up volunteers for tea, milk and coffee tasting. Ill keep you posted with developments. I will also contact Bombora as suggested.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Rubbery taste in steam and hot water

            I agree with you the ketlle in my caravan did that, then i brought a new one same thing, sometimes you can make a brew with it and its fine, then re fill it and boil its crap. It happens all over the place, but it doesnt happen at home. weird. Never tasted it at a cafe, but have in hotels.


            PS I dont use the caravan tank for drinking water.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Rubbery taste in steam and hot water

              Ive had to drink water from some very ordinary sources over the years but Ive never struck a persistent rubbery taint, and that includes some bore water over in very remote areas of the N.W. of Oz that was barely fit for human consumption.

              I think someones got it in for you mate.... [smiley=evil.gif]

              Mal.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Rubbery taste in steam and hot water

                Thanks for that lizard1972. I was beginning to think no one else on the www had ever come across this problem. Google brings up nothing on the rubbery topic and not even anything relevant on taste/odour. So are you talking various water supplies in caravan parks? And the same kettle is OK on your home supply?

                Neil S

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Rubbery taste in steam and hot water

                  At work we use a Reverse Osmosis system, remineralised so it is safe for equipment and consumption, and the amount this affects the flavour (in a positive way) of the coffee and other beverages is much more than you think. Not only this it can give us complete control of what is in our water.

                  It is possible that reboiling/ extended boiling of your local water emphasizes the particular chemical compounds that taste rubbery. It would appear that an excellent filtration unit (contact a professional) is in order.

                  Jered M

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Rubbery taste in steam and hot water

                    Never tried the same kettle at home before, but have noticed it in different kettles in hotels. I thought it might have been bad milk but it wasnt and like i said its been happening for years. Just the normal potable water taps in caravan parks, like i said never out of the tank.

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