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  • Tap water or distilled water in coffee machine?

    Gday everyone I have just ordered a Rancilio Silvia 2009 espresso machine and have had suggestions to use distilled water in the machine instead of tap water to make coffee. I would like to know other coffee brewers experiences with this and if it is an issue to be concerned about or is tap water just as good to make coffee? Followed by regular cleaning and descaling of the espresso machine to maintain great coffee flavor and good working order of my machine.
    Regards
    Andy

  • #2
    Re: Tap water or distilled water in coffee machine?

    Originally posted by 1C322B333F3D356C6F5E0 link=1256465536/0#0 date=1256465536
    Gday everyone I have just ordered a Rancilio Silvia 2009 espresso machine and have had suggestions to use distilled water in the machine instead of tap water to make coffee. I would like to know other coffee brewers experiences with this and if it is an issue to be concerned about or is tap water just as good to make coffee? Followed by regular cleaning and descaling of the espresso machine to maintain great coffee flavor and good working order of my machine.
    Regards
    Andy
    Do a search on CS as to water quality... It has been disscussed in full many times..

    1: Tap water - Depends where you are as to how good / bad it is.

    2: Filtered water is the best - But filtered water is not all teh same.

    3: Distiled water is not recomended for many reasons and should not be use in some machines...

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Tap water or distilled water in coffee machine?

      Grab a filter solution from Bombora, using a Brita Jug will not reduce the effects of scale.

      I just installed one and now have put the Brita jug in the cupboard and all the family drink the filtered water from the new sytem. It is so much simpler and less hassle than using the jub. I consider it a wise investment given the money i invested on my coffee equipment.

      Mal

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Tap water or distilled water in coffee machine?

        Originally posted by 507F7674635C707F7076747C747F65110 link=1256465536/1#1 date=1256465845

        Do a search on CS as to water quality... It has been disscussed in full many times..

        1: Tap water - Depends where you are as to how good / bad it is.

        2: Filtered water is  the best - But filtered water is not all teh same.

        3: Distiled water is not recomended for many reasons and should not be use in some machines...
        Ill just add to what AM said. Distilled water is not necessarily bad, it all depends on your machine. Distilled water cant be any worse than the water it came from - in terms of corrosion/scale - but it does confuse some water level sensors that work off conductivity between probes.
        Distillation will remove calcium, iron and magnesium which are the prime sources of scale.

        Are you intending to buy or distill yourself? If the former I would recommend buying de-ionised water rather than distilled water - you still have the issue of some water sensors not working with de-ionised water

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Tap water or distilled water in coffee machine?

          Hi Andy,

          You wont find too many in the industry recommending distilled water in any coffee machine. Its near enough to untreated RO water and the stuff kills machines unless its remineralised. No ions in the water will influence taste and can leach some machines as well.

          x2 for the suggestion that you would be better off to get a proper coffee filter from Bombora or similar. Note also that drinking water filters are NOT coffee filters as the remove little if anything which will cause scale.

          There is plenty to read on filtration and use of the search button should assist.

          2mcm

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Tap water or distilled water in coffee machine?

            Originally posted by 6C332B3D363D3138383B3B333F305E0 link=1256465536/4#4 date=1256600172
            Hi Andy,

            You wont find too many in the industry recommending distilled water in any coffee machine. Its near enough to untreated RO water and the stuff kills machines unless its remineralised. No ions in the water will influence taste and can leach some machines as well.

            x2 for the suggestion that you would be better off to get a proper coffee filter from Bombora or similar. Note also that drinking water filters are NOT coffee filters as the remove little if anything which will cause scale.

            There is plenty to read on filtration and use of the search button should assist.

            2mcm
            Agree fully 2mcm...

            One should never drink PURE water ie Fully distilled and or de mineralised.. It will leach many of the good irons from your body (equipment) to bring it back to a natural state.

            Even the stuff you get for irons etc from the shop... Will sate NOT FOR DRINKING...

            This has all been covered off in a great CS sticky...

            See here: http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1245022812

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Tap water or distilled water in coffee machine?

              Originally posted by 39667E686368646D6D6E6E666A650B0 link=1256465536/4#4 date=1256600172
              You wont find too many in the industry recommending distilled water in any coffee machine. Its near enough to untreated RO water and the stuff kills machines unless its remineralised. No ions in the water will influence taste and can leach some machines as well.
              Ive seen this stated several times on this site, and Id like to challenge this and challenge it vigorously. Pure water can do nothing to damage a coffee machine. Pure water is as benign a liquid as we can put through a coffee machine with copper, chrome or stainless steel internals. A fact Ill stand behind with the utmost confidence. I can show Pourbaix diagrams and corrosion tables till they bore you to death but thatd be a bit silly IMHO ;D
              Im not trying to be difficult, or contrary Im a practising industrial chemist, specifically Im a hydrometallurgy specialist (I do chemistry with metals in water based solutions ), so this stuff is second nature to me. If there is proof that Im incorrect Id really like to see it - Im sincere about that

              Please note that I have said nothing about flavour. Minerals in water have a large impact on the flavor of beverages, both good and bad - but this wasnt asked in the above post A cop out, I know :

              ps/edit As an industry insider I know the equipment used for demineralisation and distillation - this is why I recommended demin water rather than distilled water for those wishing to purchase pure water

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Tap water or distilled water in coffee machine?

                Originally posted by 4676617369656A040 link=1256465536/6#6 date=1256640930
                Im a hydrometallurgy specialist (I do chemistry with metals in water based solutions Wink), so this stuff is second nature to me. If there is proof that Im incorrect Id really like to see it - Im sincere about that Smiley
                With respect, I wonder if your experience includes the effects of metals and minerals in espresso machine boilers and associated piping? Rather than asking for proof that you may be incorrect (and I dont have any at hand to offer) I for one would be very interested to read proof that you are correct. After all, isnt that what good science does?

                Cheers!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Tap water or distilled water in coffee machine?

                  The laws of physics only work up to, but not including espresso machines (a well known fact, every body knows it).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Tap water or distilled water in coffee machine?

                    Originally posted by 01202B2B2C36450 link=1256465536/7#7 date=1256642606
                    Originally posted by 4676617369656A040 link=1256465536/6#6 date=1256640930
                    Im a hydrometallurgy specialist (I do chemistry with metals in water based solutions Wink), so this stuff is second nature to me. If there is proof that Im incorrect Id really like to see it - Im sincere about that Smiley
                    With respect, I wonder if your experience includes the effects of metals and minerals in espresso machine boilers and associated piping?
                    No offense taken
                    Short answer, I work at a facility where all heating is performed with steam. Corrosion, scale and the selection of appropriate materials is a major issue for us because the consequences of a failure can be disastrous, in so many ways. Our boiler operates just like the one in a coffee machine, its just bigger.

                    Minerals enhance the corrosive-ness (thats a technical word ;D) of a solution by increasing the ionic strength of the solution, sometimes they can corrode when theory says they shouldnt eg. localised (pinhole) corrosion on 304L stainless in the presence of moderate chloride concentrations. The less ions (dissolved minerals) the less corrosive water based solutions become. By axiom, pure water is the least corrosive water solution

                    Originally posted by 01202B2B2C36450 link=1256465536/7#7 date=1256642606
                    Rather than asking for proof that you may be incorrect (and I dont have any at hand to offer) I for one would be very interested to read proof that you are correct.  After all, isnt that what good science does?

                    Cheers!
                    Exactly! Good science should be debated and proven
                    Please dont think I was being aggressive above, just the opposite, rather than going on the attack I was trying to share some of what I know.

                    I can/will present the data ASAP. The easiest to present and understand is corrosion tables. Pourbaix diagrams are difficult to explain to most chemists let alone people without a technical background :-? so they can be left out for the moment.

                    Scale is a separate issue to corrosion but you cant form scale if you have pure water so again it is benign in your boiler. Scale forms from the precipitation of calcium and magnesium carbonate when you heat water. equation below

                    Ca2+ + CO32- --> CaCO3
                    and
                    Mg2+ + CO32- --> MgCO3

                    Carbonate is present in water from dissolved carbon dioxide, you cant do much about that. But remove the calcium and magnesium and scale cannot form

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Tap water or distilled water in coffee machine?

                      Originally posted by 0737203228242B450 link=1256465536/6#6 date=1256640930
                      Originally posted by 39667E686368646D6D6E6E666A650B0 link=1256465536/4#4 date=1256600172
                      You wont find too many in the industry recommending distilled water in any coffee machine. Its near enough to untreated RO water and the stuff kills machines unless its remineralised. No ions in the water will influence taste and can leach some machines as well.
                      Ive seen this stated several times on this site, and Id like to challenge this and challenge it vigorously. Pure water can do nothing to damage a coffee machine. Pure water is as benign a liquid as we can put through a coffee machine with copper, chrome or stainless steel internals. A fact Ill stand behind with the utmost confidence. I can show Pourbaix diagrams and corrosion tables till they bore you to death but thatd be a bit silly IMHO ;D
                      Im not trying to be difficult, or contrary Im a practising industrial chemist, specifically Im a hydrometallurgy specialist (I do chemistry with metals in water based solutions ), so this stuff is second nature to me. If there is proof that Im incorrect Id really like to see it - Im sincere about that

                      Please note that I have said nothing about flavour. Minerals in water have a large impact on the flavor of beverages, both good and bad - but this wasnt asked in the above post A cop out, I know :

                      ps/edit As an industry insider I know the equipment used for demineralisation and distillation - this is why I recommended demin water rather than distilled water for those wishing to purchase pure water
                      OSMOSIS -  That is why people with kidney problems who under go treatment have de mineralised / ro water passed over a membrain that has their blood on the other side...  The pure water SUCKS all the minerals and other stuff out of their blood...  WHY because the water wants to return to its NATURAL state...


                      If that is benign... Then your stats and info is missing some very important context...  No manufacturer would recomend it - other than where they then sell an additive to add to the said water...

                      Get ya bloods done, then spend a day drinking RO water and get ya bloods done again...  You will cause the lab to have a fit...  Unless you manipulate the test and have other fluids and take suplements to replentish what the RO  / De miniralised takes out..

                      Oh and if ya keep drinking just RO water.. Expect to end up in hospital...  Read the fine print...  Many sports drinks talk about RO / Distilled / de menerailised water as a base... Then they add back all the stuff they took out and charge ya double...  Want some elephant coffee...  Cheep only $250 for 250g... Top stuff and is the next hot bean... Tust me...  Oh... Ya dont need a bridge as well ?

                      As to corrousion / scale etc etc then while pure water may not have the extra crap in it... Via OSMOSIS it will leach the said missing components from where ever it can... End result is that it is not ideal.. Better to have filtered water with a softner...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Tap water or distilled water in coffee machine?

                        Hi Bm...

                        I think the origin of concerns regarding the use of distilled or RO water in espresso machines, stems from the fact that this water very quickly takes on CO2 resulting in the water becoming acidic. This then promotes galvanic corrosion between the dissimilar metals that exist within the hydraulic circuits of the machine resulting in surface pitting. Ive read that this occurs, in several independent sources, so Ill attempt to dig these up and post them up here....

                        All the best,
                        Mal.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Tap water or distilled water in coffee machine?

                          [QUOTE=735C5557407F535C5355575F575C46320 link=1256465536/10#10 date=1256646326]
                          Originally posted by 0737203228242B450 link=1256465536/6#6 date=1256640930
                          OSMOSIS -  That is why people with kidney problems who under go treatment have de mineralised / ro water passed over a membrain that has their blood on the other side...  The pure water SUCKS all the minerals and other stuff out of their blood...  WHY because the water wants to return to its NATURAL state...


                          If that is benign... Then your stats and info is missing some very important context...  No manufacturer would recomend it - other than where they then sell an additive to add to the said water...

                          Get ya bloods done, then spend a day drinking RO water and get ya bloods done again...  You will cause the lab to have a fit...  Unless you manipulate the test and have other fluids and take suplements to replentish what the RO  / De miniralised takes out..
                          All correct, AFAIK Youll notice Ive gingerly stepped around effects of pure water on the body. That is a totally different phenomenon to the chemical effects inside a coffee machine. What I would like to see is the difference in mineral content of coffee using DI water and tap water -that would be very interesting and put this debate to bed one way or the other If anyone is interested, I have access to the appropriate resources (my wife works at a commercial laboratory ) and I can carry this out.

                          [QUOTE=735C5557407F535C5355575F575C46320 link=1256465536/10#10 date=1256646326]
                          Originally posted by 0737203228242B450 link=1256465536/6#6 date=1256640930
                          As to corrousion / scale etc etc then while pure water may not have the extra crap in it...  Via OSMOSIS it will leach the said missing components from where ever it can...  End result is that it is not ideal..  Better to have filtered water with a softner...
                          This is two different concepts. Osmosis is transfer across a membrane, leaching is direct chemistry. My knowledge of the first is passing but, without being immodest, my knowledge of the second is strong.

                          [QUOTE=735C5557407F535C5355575F575C46320 link=1256465536/10#10 date=1256646326]
                          Originally posted by 0737203228242B450 link=1256465536/6#6 date=1256640930
                          Better to have filtered water with a softner...
                          I agree wholeheartedly, but I can understand the desire to look after your machine to the utmost of your ability which is where DI water comes into its own

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Tap water or distilled water in coffee machine?

                            Originally posted by 5C71757974180 link=1256465536/11#11 date=1256660533
                            Hi Bm...

                            I think the origin of concerns regarding the use of distilled or RO water in espresso machines, stems from the fact that this water very quickly takes on CO2 resulting in the water becoming acidic. This then promotes galvanic corrosion between the dissimilar metals that exist within the hydraulic circuits of the machine resulting in surface pitting. Ive read that this occurs, in several independent sources, so Ill attempt to dig these up and post them up here....

                            All the best,
                            Mal.
                            Thanks Mal Id appreciate that.

                            Without pre-empting the results Ill offer the following. :-?
                            Absorption of CO2, to form carbonic acid occurs in any water. Fortunately it only pushes the pH down a small amount (it takes several days for absorption of CO2 to push the pH down from 8 - towns water controlled level- to 6.5 - the natural carbonic acid pH). Most metal carbonates are insoluble and form a protective layer.
                            Galvanic corrosion occurs wherever you have two different metals in contact with each other - the degree of corrosion is dependent on the metals - and is accelerated by water with dissolved minerals as they aid the electron transfer.

                            Cheers
                            Dan

                            ps copper is the most susceptible metal to any nastyness, so anything that is safe for the copper is safe for chrome plating and stainless - another useless piece of trivia

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Tap water or distilled water in coffee machine?

                              I ran 20 litres of RO water through my Diadema as part of a problem-solving strategy, and while everything worked well in the short time the practice was in place, it did make the most ordinary, flat, uninteresting coffee you would never want to have.

                              I now run a system from Bombora with a ion-exchange softener and a 1 micron carbon filter that produces water very close to the ideal for coffee and the taste is much better.

                              If I had a choice of tap or distilled, Id be using a mixture of both to get the dissolved minerals in the 50 ppm range.

                              Greg

                              Comment

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