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  • Best soft water source

    Hey,

    Just wondering what exactly defines soft water...and how to make/get it. I have a Nikken Pimag water filter that filters out the nastys but also adds minerals back into the water...Its great to drink but Im not sure about using it in the coffee machine? I also definately dont want to use tap water..

    Any advice would be very appreciated..

    Thanks
    Ed

  • #2
    Re: Best soft water source

    I will be kind about the filter system you already have, if you like the taste keep drinking it .

    Minerals are a bad thing as they create scale in particular when you raise the temperature so a good simple Carbon Brita type filter jug will do the job if you have a tank type of machine. The prefilter will take most of the big stuff out and the carbon will take care of most others like Chlorine etc. including a large percentage of the minerals. You can also buy similar plumbed in systems for non tank machines for $2-300

    If you want to go another step up you could look at simple R/O systems which run from $3-500 but unless your water supply is bad I wouldnt spend the $$. Or you can add the R/O membrene on later if you have a plumbed system like above.

    Just dont get suckered in to magnetic field rubbish IT DOESNT WORK. Water left in a jug will absorb as much oxygen as it needs for a given temperature so re oxygenating water is also bunkem unless you use it imediately as the oxygen dissapates until it arrives at a natural state of equlibrium.

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    • #3
      Re: Best soft water source

      Originally posted by beanflying link=1220528020/0#1 date=1220529497

      If you want to go another step up you could look at simple R/O systems which run from $3-500 but unless your water supply is bad I wouldnt spend the $$. Or you can add the R/O membrene on later if you have a plumbed system like above.
      Plenty of other threads on this...RO is a BIG MISTAKE and kills machines unless its remineralised = $$$$

      Filtered softened will be fine anywhere but dont expect a brita jug to do the job in Adelaide

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Best soft water source

        Ed, soft water contains little calcium and magnesium - two of the main culprits that build up and can clog the arteries of your coffee maker, plus other bits too. These can generally be taken care of with regular descaling with the correct products.

        A small amount of minerals in the water used for your machine is not necessarily bad at all, and in fact RO systems will leave your machine dead if not remineralised.

        See http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1209725970 for a discussion on RO.

        If youre concerned, give Bombora (Site Sponsors) a call.

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        • #5
          Re: Best soft water source

          Hi guys,

          a $3-500 R/O membrene system will still have "some" minerals in the water. An R/O membrene does not entirely demileralise the water. If you have a true pressurised Hospital quality R/O plant on decent water to start with then yes you may get a problem but 99% of the world doesnt have that.

          Aluminium thermablock machines will be a nono on any more pure water but even tap water corrodes aluminium.

          Demin water is NOT R/O water!

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          • #6
            Re: Best soft water source

            Originally posted by beanflying link=1220528020/0#4 date=1220532446
            Hi guys,

            a $3-500 R/O membrene system will still have "some" minerals in the water. An R/O membrene does not entirely demileralise the water. If you have a true pressurised Hospital quality R/O plant on decent water to start with then yes you may get a problem but 99% of the world doesnt have that.

            Aluminium thermablock machines will be a nono on any more pure water but even tap water corrodes aluminium.

            Demin water is NOT R/O water!
            BF,

            Coffee companies (talk to some in WA or SA for example) have experience with clients using RO against manufacturer recommendations...It damages machines as the ion content is insufficient to gain signals from water level probes. In addition it pits boilers by leaching metal ions from them. It will also void your warranty. I repeat, it is NOT SUITABLE for espresso machines unless its remineralised.

            Nevertheless, if you feel that you know more than the collective experience of all of those companies, go for it. Id suggest that you budget for a new machine as well. :

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Best soft water source

              Thanks alot for the info guys...

              I should have mentioned the machine I have is a 1 day old Rancilio Silvia (very very attached)

              I used to have aquariums and I know you can get cheap aquarium testing kits to test the PH...

              What would be clarified as soft and ok for a coffee machine....?
              Thanks
              Ed

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              • #8
                Re: Best soft water source

                Hi Shimmy

                The pH is the concentration of H+ or OH- in the water. if you can drink the water it will be fine for your Silvia. The Silvia is more forgiving of pHs away from 7.0 than a small tropical fish :-) The concentration of things like Mg2+ and Ca2+ wont be indicated by a pH meter.

                Mike

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                • #9
                  Re: Best soft water source

                  ahh...

                  thanks for that

                  any idea where I could get my water tested for the relevent specs?

                  thanks...

                  Ed

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                  • #10
                    Re: Best soft water source

                    Originally posted by Shimmy link=1220528020/0#8 date=1220603309
                    ahh...

                    thanks for that

                    any idea where I could get my water tested for the relevent specs?

                    thanks...

                    Ed
                    A pool shop.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Best soft water source

                      In the freshwater aquarium hardness is tested with the GH and KH test kits (general hardness and carbonate hardness). They are fairly easy to use and cost around $10 - $15 or so. The kit will allow many tests (several dozen). I use the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals (API) and find it to be easy and reliable. You could use this to test the hardness of your tap water.

                      Google (or PM me) if you need a link to an online shop, otherwise any local tropical fish shop should stock this or a similar product. Some fish shops will also test water for you.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Best soft water source

                        Unreal Its coming back to me now....I used to be addicted to fish tanks before my Coffee making addiction came along....

                        I know a fish thatll test the water for me no probs....

                        Thanks
                        Ed

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                        • #13
                          Re: Best soft water source

                          ok now that you blokes and gals have been around the world so to speak discussing all matters technical...............

                          My suggestion is NOT to worry about all matters technical, not to go trying to measure whatever is in or not in, in concentration or no concentration etc etc etc......in your water, but to relax, and fit a simple, rechargeable, depurator to the inlet end of the flexible silicon hose in your water tank.

                          Its a rechargeable water softener / particle filter. You recharge it say.....every three weeks.....or whenever you like depending on how bad you think your water is, and it will soften the water before it enters your boiler or thermoblock. IE, it is shall we say "descaling" the water before it enters the system. Of course this is not strictly correct because it isnt scale until it comes out of solution in your boiler, but it is a general enough way of describing the course of events.  More correctly, it removes the elements from the water that would have turned into scale in your boiler.

                          In known hard water areas, you would recharge more often......and if you want to be atleast a little technical about it and are able to measure the amount of water you use in your machine over time, you could make your interval to recharge the depurator dependent on a set number of litres of water used.......eg recharge every 30 litres or whatever.....

                          The reason for "recharging" is because the organic resins in the depurator become saturated with the scale forming elements and then stop doing their job, so they have to be recharged from time to time to remove those elements so they can continue doing their job.

                          I specified these miniature depurators to be fitted as standard equipment to my range of Diadema Junior & Unico Splendor semi commercial machines and we have been selling them equipped this way for years, but we will of course sell them to anyone that wants one as a "spare part" as they are suitable to push fit straight onto the end of almost any silicon water inlet line used in domestic machines.

                          Its a simple idea, but it has been used on commercial espresso machines for years and it works. All it costs you over time after the initial purchase is your time to do the "regeneration".

                          In view of your question, I dont know if this the "best" way of softening water, but it certainly is simple and probably convenient for home use and has been around for a long time. (It is also way cheaper than buying a complete water treatment system for your kitchen......).

                          If you are interested please contact me off line.


                          Regardz,
                          Attilio.


                          PS
                          Of course the alternative way is to fit / buy some kind of water treatment / filtration system for your kitchen as some of you have done....but you must specifiy (if that is what you want) that it has to have an ANTI SCALING function, otherwise you are buying a water filtration system that will usually not have any anti scaling or water softening properties. Particle filtration of course, is not anti scaling or water softening, it is just *particle filtration*, and the elements that come out of solution to form scale, are *in solution* and will pass straight through a particle filter.......because they are not particles!



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                          • #14
                            Re: Best soft water source

                            Thanks for the feedback guys..

                            Fresh_coffee: That sounds like a great idea.....Im guessing the filter would have a fast flow as not to strain the pump sucking in from the intakes?

                            Ill pm you to get some prices etc..

                            Thanks
                            Ed

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Best soft water source

                              Originally posted by Shimmy link=1220528020/0#0 date=1220528020
                              Hey,

                              Just wondering what exactly defines soft water...and how to make/get it. I have a Nikken Pimag water filter that filters out the nastys but also adds minerals back into the water...Its great to drink but Im not sure about using it in the coffee machine? I also definately dont want to use tap water..

                              Any advice would be very appreciated..

                              Thanks
                              Ed
                              Hi Ed,

                              I use 90% rainwater and 10% tap water (both charcoal .5 micron filtered) to get the recommended 40 ppm of minerals.

                              Greg

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