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Thread: Reverse Osmosis Water

  1. #1
    Senior Member DavidW1960's Avatar
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    Reverse Osmosis Water

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I have read a little here about water and it is said that RO water is bad for taste? Can it also damage my machine?

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    Re: Reverse Osmosis Water

    Yep.

    it causes the boiler to oxidise faster on the inside, This shows up as scale deposits and various Oxide compounds in the nooks and crannies of your boiler and group head.

    Put simply, unless youre planning to do a full descale your machine once a month. Dont put Demineralised or Reverse Osmosis treated water through it.

    Cos well, Water is just that good a solvent.

  3. #3
    TC
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    Re: Reverse Osmosis Water

    Hi David,

    A quick search >>>^^^ on "reverse osmosis" or "RO water" will provide you with plenty to read. In a nutshell, its a no go unless its remineralised post RO treatment.

    Chris

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    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: Reverse Osmosis Water

    All the damage is really secondary. :P

    Primarily it just makes coffee **DULL**. >:(

    Greg

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    Senior Member DavidW1960's Avatar
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    Re: Reverse Osmosis Water

    Thanks all..

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    Re: Reverse Osmosis Water

    Can reverse osmosis cause climate change?

    The Sydney desalination plant, like others around Australia, uses reverse osmosis to make sea water drinkable.

    The plant at Kurnell on Botany Bay was turned on in January 2010 and it has hardly stopped raining on Sydney since. The water storage dams have risen from half full to over 80% full now due to the rain.

    When working full bore, the desal unit can daily supply about 15% of Sydney’s water needs. Mixed with dam water it shouldn’t effect the flavour of our coffee.

    Happy Valentines Day.

    Barry.


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    TC
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    Re: Reverse Osmosis Water

    It does need to be mixed as well.

    Testing has shown that desal water actually exceeds WHO standards on Cobalt levels so it needs to be shandied down. Operators of desal plants are fighting to get the WHO maximum Cobalt levels tripled. :o

    We would have been in trouble in Melbourne had we filled empty dams with desal water....

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    Re: Reverse Osmosis Water

    As Sydney desal water is shandied in the water mains with dam water, some suburbs will get a higher concentration of RO water than others. So it may effect some coffee.

    It may be a coincidence that the Sydney desal plant was completed at the start of*a La Nińa weather event, but many Sydneyites are now praying for the return of the El Nińo conditions with its droughts, water*use restrictions, bushfires, flies, heatwaves, sunshine and barbeques.

    As I look out now, the rain is pelting down.

    Barry.

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    Re: Reverse Osmosis Water

    Quote Originally Posted by 1E3D2E2E25031829323F3D325C0 link=1329116063/5#5 date=1329172148
    Can reverse osmosis cause climate change?

    The Sydney desalination plant, like others around Australia, uses reverse osmosis to make sea water drinkable.

    The plant at Kurnell on Botany Bay was turned on in January 2010 and it has hardly stopped raining on Sydney since. The water storage dams have risen from half full to over 80% full now due to the rain.

    When working full bore, the desal unit can daily supply about 15% of Sydney’s water needs. Mixed with dam water it shouldn’t effect the flavour of our coffee.

    Happy Valentines Day.

    Barry.
    ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
    Everything else does, so why not?

  10. #10
    Senior Member DavidW1960's Avatar
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    Re: Reverse Osmosis Water

    Quote Originally Posted by 617A7365666B120 link=1329116063/8#8 date=1329183120
    Everything else does, so why not?
    Aint that the truth!

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    Re: Reverse Osmosis Water

    Any explanation as to the source of the cobalt?


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    Re: Reverse Osmosis Water

    Quote Originally Posted by 033C042F2D254E0 link=1329116063/10#10 date=1329196843
    Any explanation as to the source of the cobalt?
    Sure is- its roughly the same size as a water molecule- so passes through the membranes easily.

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    Re: Reverse Osmosis Water

    I have to say Im a little skeptical. I actually couldnt find any reference to Cobalt in the WHO Drinking water guidelines (although I understand it to be 0.05 mg/L).

    I have actually seen reverse osmosis suggested as a method for removal of cobalt from wastewater in journal articles (I spent a short time working in a related industry, and read a quite a lot of the literature, hence my interest).

    The water in my area has so many dissolved salts it isnt funny; so Id be quite happy if they diluted it with some of the RO water from Kwinana.


  14. #14
    GRB
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    Re: Reverse Osmosis Water

    Yes I am sceptical too.

    1] An RO system in your home is not the same as a RO desalination plant.* Desal plants add chemicals to adjust pH etc.* How does the Co concentration increase in the RO product water - does someone have a reference?

    2] While the size of a Cobalt ion (approx 0.15 nm diameter for Co2+) may be small enough to pass through an RO membrane it is rejected based on its electric charge which is the other mechanism by which RO membranes reject impurities.

    3] RO membranes are about 97% efficient at removing scale forming ions so where does this extra scale come from?

    4] As an aside, Cobalt ions and water molecules may have some similar dimensions but they are quite different shapes.

    5] I have tasted a lot of coffee on machines with and without RO systems feeding them.* I think there is a taste difference but to simply say RO makes coffee taste bad is definitely not true.* A Q-grader I know changed over from a sediment and carbon filter to an RO system for their machine and was stunned by the improved taste.* This is in Perth where mains water has around 500 ppm total dissolved solids.

    6] Finally, the performance of an RO system is dependent on the feed water.* Mains water in WA ranges from around 200 - 1000 ppm TDS at least. So a properly functioning RO system could produce water ranging from approximately 5 - 100 ppm TDS which I am sure has the potential to taste different.* And thats without considering the differences in the water chemistry.

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    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: Reverse Osmosis Water

    I dont know anything about the cobalt, but I can say that the lack of minerals in the water definitely affects the taste--and in a very negative direction. Ive done the trials.

    Try running a few litres of commercial de-mineralised water through your machine and see how you like the coffee. A few litres wont unduly harm your machine but youll be able to taste the difference. On a non-hx machine you may have to flush the boiler to taste the RO difference.

    Search for the "Insanely long water faq" if you are interested in the chemistry, standards, and calculations.

    And of course its not the RO water itself that tastes bad, its the lack of minerals that flattens the coffee. If the RO water is re-mineralised (usual in coffee installations) or the feed water is so bad that 97% pure is still around 40ppm then there is no issue.

    Greg

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    GRB
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    Re: Reverse Osmosis Water

    Anyone in Perth able to tell by taste which cafes are using RO and which are not?

    Why would a lack of minerals "flatten" the taste of coffee anyway?* I expect that purer water would result in greater extraction of solids. An espresso ends up with a TDS in the range of % whereas mains water is in the range of 100s ppm.* I would expect it to have more flavour - good or bad. Anyone have any theories?

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    TC
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    Re: Reverse Osmosis Water

    Quote Originally Posted by 120717550 link=1329116063/15#15 date=1329619155
    Anyone in Perth able to tell by taste which cafes are using RO and which are not?
    Id doubt it as they would be using remineralised RO. Many cafes serviced by the big V in Victoria use it as well.

  18. #18
    GRB
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    Re: Reverse Osmosis Water

    I suspect the remineralisation would be utterly inconsistent.* I have measured TDS before and after remin cartridges and sometimes observed little or no effect.* Its not like all the machines on RO all have a TDS of 40 ppm.* The supply TDS to coffee machines around the country probably varies by two orders of magnitude but does anyone notice the taste difference?* No because there are far too many other variables that affect the taste of coffee.*

  19. #19
    Roz
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    Re: Reverse Osmosis Water

    I plan on getting a RO system with remineralisation, so I guess its not worth the risk of trying it in the machine? I just want to escape the fluoride trap for my water supply!

  20. #20
    Senior Member DavidW1960's Avatar
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    DON'T use RO water in your coffee machine - it will ruin it and will increase scale buildup. Many, many threads here about this.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidW1960 View Post
    DON'T use RO water in your coffee machine - it will ruin it and will increase scale buildup. Many, many threads here about this.
    Agree that RO is not appropriate for espresso machines- unless it is remineralised or otherwise shandied deliver the appropriate ion content. It will not increase scale, but there are a host of reasons not to use it neat as you will do way more harm than good. There is discussion on this topic in other CS threads.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Agree that RO is not appropriate for espresso machines- unless it is remineralised or otherwise shandied deliver the appropriate ion content. It will not increase scale, but there are a host of reasons not to use it neat as you will do way more harm than good. There is discussion on this topic in other CS threads.
    This is as I have mentioned before a fundamentally and scientifically a WRONG Generalization to espouse !

    R/O is some circumstances is THE ONLY way short of rain water to get decent water for Espresso machine use.

    Water throughout this country varies dramatically and while R/O processing of some major water supplies which are generally very good is pointless and will lead to lots of $$ spent for little benefit and MAY lead to less mineral content than is desirable for Espresso and even cause the Autofill circuits to behave erratically.

    HOWEVER

    For those of us with poor source water R/O still gives in my case around 30-40 milli Siemens of conductivity without remineralization which is a touch under the suggested (by some) industry of 50ppm for best taste and results in the brew. On a Melbourne supply for example this same unit delivers circa 12-13 milli Siemens and will need some minerals adding back in for taste as much as anything.

    The MYTH that keeps being dragged out in discussion is that the water is demineralized as with the production by that process this is just not correct and is misleading if not tempered with some discussio on each particular case.

    As to R/O increasing Scale build up that is just SO WRONG.

    This photos below is of a 'filtered' commercial boiler after about 12 months of service on bad water.

    So Appropriate filtration for a given water supply is the appropriate answer.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Hi, just a quick question, is it ok to use rain/ tank water in the breville dual boiler?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mellcrystal View Post
    Hi, just a quick question, is it ok to use rain/ tank water in the breville dual boiler?
    If you live in a rural area it will be ok but in a city or suburbia I would not use it unless it is filtered before being filtered by the breville dual boiler, as the micro fine particles from vehicle emission's settle on your roof will be washed into your tank and they contain carcinogens.

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    Quote Originally Posted by beanflying View Post
    This is as I have mentioned before a fundamentally and scientifically a WRONG Generalization to espouse !

    R/O is some circumstances is THE ONLY way short of rain water to get decent water for Espresso machine use.

    Water throughout this country varies dramatically and while R/O processing of some major water supplies which are generally very good is pointless and will lead to lots of $$ spent for little benefit and MAY lead to less mineral content than is desirable for Espresso and even cause the Autofill circuits to behave erratically.

    HOWEVER

    For those of us with poor source water R/O still gives in my case around 30-40 milli Siemens of conductivity without remineralization which is a touch under the suggested (by some) industry of 50ppm for best taste and results in the brew. On a Melbourne supply for example this same unit delivers circa 12-13 milli Siemens and will need some minerals adding back in for taste as much as anything.

    The MYTH that keeps being dragged out in discussion is that the water is demineralized as with the production by that process this is just not correct and is misleading if not tempered with some discussio on each particular case.

    As to R/O increasing Scale build up that is just SO WRONG.

    This photos below is of a 'filtered' commercial boiler after about 12 months of service on bad water.

    So Appropriate filtration for a given water supply is the appropriate answer.
    Thank you for your reply there are mixed pinions on R/o. However what you say makes sense and I shall continue using R/O in my machine. I used to own a Sunbeam cafe latte machine and I only used Distilled water in that and it lasted 3 years and was still going when I upgraded. The amount of rubbish that came out of the distiller was amazing.
    Coffee on

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by beanflying View Post
    This is as I have mentioned before a fundamentally and scientifically a WRONG Generalization to espouse !
    Sadly b_f, you continue to read and (mis)quote selectively. We are actually in agreement. No doubt you will probably want to argue that point as well.

    Yours is a specific example where neat RO will work. There are many, many more where it won't.
    Last edited by TC; 17th October 2012 at 02:05 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Sadly b_f, you continue to read and (mis)quote selectively. We are actually in agreement. No doubt you will probably want to argue that point as well.

    Yours is a specific example where neat RO will work. There are many, many more where it won't.
    Because you in the past stated most vigorously on numerous posts incorrectly that R/O water is not suitable for Espresso this needs to be clear and not perpetuate some myth about R/O plants (plenty of threads to this as already mentioned and people read selectively). This is the problem with others reading but not necessarily understanding the science behind the process and what the results are.

    Even on Melbourne water at 12-13 milli Siemens the Autofills work fine but it is more a taste profile that is less than desirable (flat tasting). I have done some playing with remineralising cartridges and while for drinking water they provide a nice taste the mineral content is back well above what is good for machines to keep the scale in check for heavy use. But on a domestic machine as the volumes of water are less a descale once in a while would be OK albeit is not perfect.

    So you potentially finish up in the stupid position of Filtering then R/O then pH correcting then Remin then water softener stages which is getting to the silly point of spending if you use R/O when not needed.

    Melbourne water (or a lot of major town supplies) with a good Particulate then Carbon filter and softener cartridge would be generally plenty and as mentioned before putting it past an R/O is spending unneeded $$.

    RE Tank water it can be a mixed bag for machine use depending on a huge range of factors but running it through a minimum of a Brita Jug or a sediment and carbon cartridge set would be a good idea for any machine.

    RE Distilled water I would never suggest or recommend water like this for Espresso use as it can be very close to demineralised in properties. I suspect that in WA or really remote areas in particular where larger plants used to be more common machines have failed due to use.

    Sorry for continuing to drag this OT some more too.

  28. #28
    TC
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    No worries b_f,

    You are most welcome to your opinions. I will choose to base mine on the experience of thousands of clients and our experiences of the machines which find their way onto our repair bench.

    As for Melbourne water, our experience is that it can differ dramatically from house to house within the same street. Why? Dunno and dun care either.

    My phone has rung way too often with clients who have used RO neat and experienced difficulties because they assume RO is the go. Few would know what an auto-fill is if they tripped over one. Most have no idea of the chemical composition of their water. What they want is a machine which works correctly. We pick up the pieces.

    In general, RO water does not cut it unless remineralised or shandied. You will find many/most in the industry agree, so I'll leave it to you to disagree amongst yourself.

    Back to the topic: For owners of the Breville and other machines who have water quality concerns, we recommend that the best way to find out what you have is to have your water tested by an independent professional who understands the requirements of espresso machines and then follow his/her advice rather than blindly guess.
    Last edited by TC; 17th October 2012 at 06:52 PM. Reason: added recommendations

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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    And Chris then I guess I will just have to base my thoughts on water filtration on a large chunk of my working life with industrial pumps with a fair bit of work in the filtration industry. That and oh say Science and Engineering not hearsay and rubbery generalizations.

    As I said initially you can not make generalized statements about water and filtration.

    As mentioned above the remin cartridges are a bit scattergun in what they do too. To much on top of an R/O plant and you will be back to where you began as I have already mentioned.



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