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  • Filtration for Espresso Machines- Compulsory Reading

    Hi all,

    Most CSers are aware that filtered, softened water is best when it comes to espresso machines. One thing I have noticed is that many machine users think that filtered water for drinking will be fine. More often than not, scale causing elements are not removed from drinking water.

    This means that your fridge filter but most likely the one under the sink as well are for drinking water only and to your espresso machine, may as well be unfiltered.

    We recently received a great guide from site sponsor Bombora supplies. I have scanned and attached it as I feel it will be a useful resource for all CSers.

    Chris
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Javaphile; 13 July 2013, 06:59 AM. Reason: Fixed link

  • #2
    Re: Water filtration and espresso machines

    Bernard from Bombora has also started a series on water quality and filtration in BeanScene starting from this months edition. Eye-opening!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Water filtration and espresso machines

      Originally posted by 7F75607777786C6A190 link=1245022812/1#1 date=1245023553
      Bernard from Bombora has also started a series on water quality and filtration in BeanScene starting from this months edition. Eye-opening!
      This will be great for all...

      Rather than attempting to explain teh basics... A recommendation to go out an but the mag... :-)

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Water filtration and espresso machines

        Can anybody comment on the effectiveness of a ceramic water filter - ie one that draws water through porous ceramic members? No chemicals, just filtering - but a fine filter at that. I assume that this doesnt have a softening effect, but perhaps in Melbourne thats not such a big deal.

        great BeanScene article! Thanks.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Water filtration and espresso machines

          Originally posted by 292D717372787D656F1C0 link=1245022812/3#3 date=1245847799
          Can anybody comment on the effectiveness of a ceramic water filter - ie one that draws water through porous ceramic members?  No chemicals, just filtering - but a fine filter at that.  I assume that this doesnt have a softening effect, but perhaps in Melbourne thats not such a big deal.

          great BeanScene article!  Thanks.
          Nope- it will make great drinking water but will never remove dissolved substances....


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          • #6
            Re: Water filtration and espresso machines

            Hmm thanks for the info. Sad to hear it. I wonder whether those german Britex setups that you get at the supermarket are any good (carbon filter). I better contact Bombora in the morning and see what the best way is for filtering water for domestic, non-plumbed machines (ECM Giotto P.).

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            • #7
              Re: Water filtration and espresso machines

              If you dont have access to rainwater, then AFAIK most of Australias reticulated water will benefit from softening as well as a good carbon filter.

              I mix rainwater:Adelaide water at approx. 3:1 for the HX and feed the boiler when I can with pure rainwater. Both are filtered through a .5 micron carbon filter.

              Using this formula my La San Marco lasted 25 years without a de-scale, and when the group died wore out, the boiler was almost like new.

              Greg

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              • #8
                Re: Water filtration and espresso machines

                Greg, thanks for the formula. Sounds like the proof is in the pudding there. 25 years sounds reasonable. The Bombora or brita products seem like they may do the trick, seeing it never rains.

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                • #9
                  Re: Water filtration and espresso machines

                  Originally posted by 27237F7D7C76736B61120 link=1245022812/7#7 date=1246010275
                  The Bombora or brita products seem like they may do the trick, seeing it never rains.
                  If I had to choose, Id go for the Bombora--the Brita are made to supply drinking water, not espresso brewing water.

                  As far as the rain goes--that is outside my influence. ;D

                  Greg

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                  • #10
                    Re: Water filtration and espresso machines

                    Originally posted by 516473714179647B777A72160 link=1245022812/8#8 date=1246026467
                    As far as the rain goes--that is outside my influence.
                    But not mine.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Water filtration and espresso machines

                      well to be honest filtered water doesnt make much taste difference to me but it does make a difference to the boilers and scale as previosuly stated. Such machines like Gaggia automatic platinum machines come with a water filter from the factory.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Water filtration and espresso machines

                        Filters do bugger all for scale. Scale is formed by dissolved metals becoming insoluble and a filter will not remove dissolved solids (as 2mcm has said above ). Calcium and magnesium are the biggest offenders for forming scale but iron and aluminium contribute too. To remove dissolved metals you need ion exchange resin or pretreat the water. Pretreating water with chemicals to soften it is not easy and if not done correctly is as bad as not doing anything.
                        Activated carbon is excellent for removing organic chemicals from water but is pretty hopeless at removing metals so you generally see packs of ion-exchange resin followed by carbon to first remove the metals then the residual organics - this is the standard de-ioinsing process used in industry and provides ultra high purity water. The measure used to determine the water purity is resistance, where I work we dont use water with a resistance of less than 18megaohms/cm (pure water has a resistance of 18.2 megaohms/cm) Note, Ive said nothing about filters or filtering. All a filter will do is remove particulates.

                        Im an industrial chemist and my world revolves around pure water - just in case your wondering who this know-it-all-knob is

                        You can buy or rent deionising/demineralising sytems for home and they do work very well, being just miniature versions of what I use at work they make just as pure water but on a smaller volume

                        Edit: Okey dokey, just jumped onto a computer with adobe and read the bombora pdf. For me its a no-brainer Id jump straight to the IX resin cartridge, the scalegard pro. If the water isnt as hard it just doesnt do as much exchange which equals longer resin life. The higher purchase price would be clawed back.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Water filtration and espresso machines

                          Ive been thinking since I posted last night and thought I should explain a bit of my post above.

                          Bombora are offering two options for scale prevention in your machine, inhibition and softening.
                          Inhibition is simple that. You are not removing the offenders just modifying their behaviour to stop them from forming scale. Softening is removing the offenders and replacing them with much nice people (<thats a technical term )

                          All the above is purely technical, now some personal preference comes into play and the following is my personal preference. Adding inhibitors is fine and is more cost effective. If I was putting it in a boiler and reusing the water over and over again for heating, Id go this option. But Im not, Im putting it in water that I want to drink. We are so anal about getting everything else right, why add a chemical that may alter the taste of the coffee? I use ion exchange resins every working day. They are mavellous beasts that only take out what they have to and do no more. Theres no issues of dosing (either under- or over-dosing) and they remove the offenders. And if you know a little chemistry you can monitor and regenerate them - but really its a PITA and I just pay for a new cartridge

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                          • #14
                            Re: Water filtration and espresso machines

                            Ive been using a Bombora Scale Inhibitor system for some time now and am very happy with it. Initially, I tried a resin exchange system and when compared with the inhibitor system, I cant really pick any effect from either, on the palate.

                            Like you though, I opted for the system which was easiest for me to deal with in my circumstances, and chose against the resin exchange. Given that neither system seems to add or subtract anything from the coffee flavour profile (that my son and I could detect), swapping out a cartridge every 12 months or so is a very convenient option for me.

                            Mal.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Water filtration and espresso machines

                              Hi Mal

                              Just wondering if you have kept the resin cartridge that comes with the Diadema connected, or youve found it superfluous due to your kit from Bombora?

                              Cheers!

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