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Is filtered water necessary for an espresso mach?

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  • Is filtered water necessary for an espresso mach?

    My new Silvia seems to need a lot of water when I am cleaning, flushing, purging it and of course making espresso. I live in Melbourne...so do I need to use a water filter for the Rancilio? If yes, any recommendations?

  • #2
    Re: Is filtered water necessary for an espresso ma

    maxymaxy1,

    Melbourne water is quite soft - one of the lowest for calcium and magnesium salts in Australia.

    You are probably quite safe using straight tap water. A water softener is always good insurance.... but really not essential in your location.

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    • #3
      Re: Is filtered water necessary for an espresso ma

      Thanks JavaB.

      I appreciate your experienced reply.

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      • #4
        Re: Is filtered water necessary for an espresso ma

        Hmm im glad someone else asked... I have been a little bit shy to enquire due to the "rain water" thread... :-[
        Should i be using filtered water or a softener? Im in Sydney and using sunbeams (EM6910/EM4800C) at home/work :.

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        • #5
          Re: Is filtered water necessary for an espresso ma

          I figure that as the water makes up 98% (dont quote me) of the espresso, the better the water, the better the overall coffee that could be achieved.

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          • #6
            Re: Is filtered water necessary for an espresso ma

            Originally posted by NE14COFFEE link=1191228067/0#3 date=1191290572
            Hmm im glad someone else asked... I have been a little bit shy to enquire due to the "rain water" thread... :-[
            Should i be using filtered water or a softener? Im in Sydney and using sunbeams (EM6910/EM4800C) at home/work :.

            OK firstly Sydney water is relatively soft - but not as good as Melbourne water. Perth (where I live) and Adelaide are both very hard....

            Filtering water is all about improving the look and taste of the water...... If it isnt crystal clear and tasteless.... then filtering will improve that.... and the taste of the resultant coffee..... it "protects" the person!

            Softening removes the Calcium and Magnesium salts - these produce the scale when you heat the resultant "hard" water...... Softening protects the machine.

            There is only one combined filtering and softening solution - and that is a Britta jug. The problem with these cartridge filters is the softening component becomes exhausted well before it ceases to function as a filter (especially if the water is hard).

            Otherwise two seperate devices are required..... say an under sink filter and a water softening cartridge filter (disposable) or an ion exchange filter (rechargeable).

            Sydney water probably doesnt require softening - as long as you do regular descales of your machine (as per the manufacturers instructions).... but a softener reduces the need for this.

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            • #7
              Re: Is filtered water necessary for an espresso ma

              I use the Brita and my Expobar has a softener (ion exchange).

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              • #8
                Re: Is filtered water necessary for an espresso ma

                So whats the conclusion? Since a softener isnt essential... Should i buy a brita or just used filtered bottled water?

                The user manual instructions are for descale every 4-6 months.

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                • #9
                  Re: Is filtered water necessary for an espresso ma

                  NE14COFFEE,

                  Bottled filtered water can be worse that tap water for your machine (but generally not you!!)

                  It depends on how much dissolved calcium and magnesium the particular brand contains...... and both these elements are good - even essential - for the human body...... so they can quite easily be left in the water.... especially waters which are "filtered through ancient rocks" etc.....

                  A friend of mine (a member of the British foreign service) whilst serving in Paris would only drink bottled water (didnt trust the local tap water).

                  He drank quite a bit of water (was a health nut.... no coffee.... alcohol etc) but became quite ill..... The British medical officer attached to the embassy diagnosed his condition as a type of mineral poisoning- due to the vast amounts of minerals he was consuming from the "pure spring water"....

                  He went back to tap water (very reluctantly) and his health returned....

                  Bottled isnt always best (or even better).

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                  • #10
                    Re: Is filtered water necessary for an espresso ma

                    if i was in your situation i would just use the Sydney tap water (or if you really want, use a cask/flagon of spring water) and buy a small ion-exchange water softener which pushes onto the water-feeder tube of your machine and sits in your tank. i bought mine from CosmoreX, site-sponsor, for next to nothing.
                    it re-constitutes with kitchen salt and lasts for years. 8-)

                    as far as your maintenance, keep it simple and apply the "once" rule; backflush  with water once per day, backflush with detergent once per week, descale  & clean grouphead (under shower-screen etc) once per month.

                    cheers,
                    L

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                    • #11
                      Re: Is filtered water necessary for an espresso ma

                      If you want to use filtered, the Brita works out cheaper than bottled.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Is filtered water necessary for an espresso ma

                        Originally posted by NE14COFFEE link=1191228067/0#7 date=1191303036
                        So whats the conclusion? Since a softener isnt essential... Should i buy a brita or just used filtered bottled water?

                        The user manual instructions are for descale every 4-6 months.
                        I would get a brita and/or a softener. Just because I am a little lazy and want that "too lazy to descale" buffer. Its probably time to descale soon

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                        • #13
                          Re: Is filtered water necessary for an espresso ma

                          Well Brita it is. Thanks for all the advice everyone

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                          • #14
                            Re: Is filtered water necessary for an espresso ma

                            As a Melbournian (and a greenie), i wanted to point out a few little things for you.

                            1 - With the current water crisis, Its always a bonus to use pre-filtered water. Filtering water often makes it hydrate better in the metabolism, and decreases the amount you drink per day.

                            2 - Water filters are a very economic and efficient way of monitoring how much water you consume per day. Most of them have a "litres filtered" readout. And with water restrictions, thats an important factor to consider.

                            So with those two points in mind, getting a water filter should be a lifestyle choice, not just a coffee choice.

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