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Thread: Is a Resin Filter Good Enough to Prevent Scale?

  1. #51
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    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by TOK View Post
    I can sell you several kilos of the stuff if you want....
    I think the shipping costs would kill the deal I can get the stuff locally quite cheap, but the point is that if you own a RO system AND have usable tap water (like I do) it's pointless to use resin. All you have to do is combine tap water with RO water in order to get about 50ppm TDS.

  2. #52
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Keep in mind that the dissolved solids in your tap water will cause scale build-up (The higher the concentration the faster the scale will build up.). The dissolved solids in softened water (ie The water has been passed through a resin filter/water softener.) will not. Hence adding tap water to RO water will result in scale build-up while using/adding softened water will not.


    Java "Not all dissolved solids are created equal" phile
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  3. #53
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    I understand your point. However I think that a water which is rather poor in dissolved solids (under 50ppm TDS) will produce minimal deposits over time. Particularly if the PH is neutral or slightly acidic.

    Of course, if using a resin filter and if changing resins before they get depleted, one could get no deposits at all. (at least in theory)

    Anyway, I used today some 3 liters of demineralised water (tap and RO combined to obtain 16PPM TDS) trough all 3 outlets (group, hot water, steam) and I can confirm that the machine's sensors had absolutely no problem with it.

    It may well be the placebo effect but at the end it appeared to me that the brew boiler's pump was running a bit smoother (if a vibe pump can be placed in the same sentence with smooth )

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    I am resurrecting this year-old thread because I have a question. This is aimed at people who (i) have good quality metro water (e.g. Melbourne or broadly similar) and (ii) are using one of these in-tank resin filters and recharging it regularly and testing regularly. Do you do any pre-filtration, and if so, what do you use?

    I tried some double-filtration as was suggested in post#3, but as was suggested above about RO water, it was too soft and the espresso shots were flat and disappointing. Testing indicated that the water was very soft! So it seems that in such situations the resin is sufficient for hardness, but I wonder whether particulates are an issue in good quality, moderately soft metro water, and if so how to filter.

    Note: I'm not seeking further advice about a C150 or an on-sink unit (not an option at the moment, although it may become so at some stage) or rainwater / non-mains water (which present additional challenges).

  5. #55
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    I don't think particulates are much of an issue in most metro Aus locations unless there happens to be some maintenance work happening in your area. My fridge is plumbed - its water filter sufficiently neutralises chemicals for my liking. It's about time I recharged my resin-filter though...
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  6. #56
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    My machine is not plumbed however and it does make me wonder how much particulate crap (mainly dust but even the odd insect (shudder)) actually blows in thru the window/ open door and settles in the bottom of the water jug. Or just falls off the top of the machine into the water canister. I think the resin filter still assists in dealing with those (a little) fortunately.
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  7. #57
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    Let me ask a closely related question. For those of you that have had the chance to compare espresso brewed with a resin filter in place to the same espresso brewed with either tap water or with water softened using other methods, do you feel that the resin filter negatively impacts the taste?

    I believe the resin filter swaps sodium ions for calcium and magnesium ions, and I'd be concerned that this could add a certain saltiness to the coffee! Also, the SCAA has a published a guide to water treatment that purports that resin-softened water doesn't extract coffee compounds as effectively as water softened using other techniques, although several people on American forums like Home Barista have blasted this guide as being authored by companies who sell expensive water treatments and who therefore lack credibility.)

    For background, I have an E61 HX machine that I feed with tap water that I first run through a Brita activated carbon filter. It removes heavy metals in the water, and I find it improves taste, but it doesn't affect the scale.

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    Senior Member sprezzatura's Avatar
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    I'm going to experiment with a big bottle of Pump. This is a Coca-Cola product. They've engineered the water to taste tastier than boring old H2O.

    I'll brew some Hario coffee with pump and with water from my 3M HF resin filter.

    I have a .5 gram scale so dosing will be accurate and I'll use water right off the boil and aim for 180 seconds and 150 grams beverage mass.

    Let's see what happens!
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  9. #59
    Senior Member sprezzatura's Avatar
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    With regards to scale, well ... best to analyse the total hardness out of your tap. This will assist greatly with the degree of water softening your machine will require.

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    Sprezzatura, I look forward to hearing about the results of your experiment!

    I understand that the actual hardness of my water will affect not only the degree to which I need to soften it to reduce scale, but also how hard a resin filter will have to work (and by extension, how much sodium will be added to my water).

    My tap water hardness measures 7.5 grains, according to the county. (I haven't verified yet with my own measurements.) The county also publishes a detailed chemical analysis.

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    County sounds U.S. - are you a Yank?

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    California born and raised!

  13. #63
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    Me too: Redondo Beach

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    Hell yeah! Berkeley.

  15. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thunder240 View Post
    For those of you that have had the chance to compare espresso brewed with a resin filter in place to the same espresso brewed with either tap water or with water softened using other methods, do you feel that the resin filter negatively impacts the taste?
    It's going to depend on the water. My tap water is fairly good and fairly soft (yes, I've measured it). I've been experimenting lately, and my main concern with the resin filter is that when I refresh it, the espressos are rather flat for a while. So my approach at present is to run a fair bit of water through it before I put it back in the machine. This is going to shorten the time to the next refresh, but in tap water that's already fairly soft, I still get a pretty good life out of each refresh. I measure and monitor how well it's filtering, and in my water the filter life is longer than often stated / claimed / assumed. Scale reduction is one thing, but if absolutely minimal scale means flat tasting shots, what's the point? I'm iterating towards a better balance.

    Given my water quality I'm not overly concerned about other things. My shots are pretty good. I have run a Brita filter before and I think the resin is delivering fairly similar tasting shots, other than when it's just been refreshed. YMMV

    The other way to minimise scale build up is to minimise the duty cycle.

    Also E61 HX.
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  16. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thunder240 View Post
    Let me ask a closely related question. For those of you that have had the chance to compare espresso brewed with a resin filter in place to the same espresso brewed with either tap water or with water softened using other methods, do you feel that the resin filter negatively impacts the taste?

    I believe the resin filter swaps sodium ions for calcium and magnesium ions, and I'd be concerned that this could add a certain saltiness to the coffee! Also, the SCAA has a published a guide to water treatment that purports that resin-softened water doesn't extract coffee compounds as effectively as water softened using other techniques, although several people on American forums like Home Barista have blasted this guide as being authored by companies who sell expensive water treatments and who therefore lack credibility.)

    For background, I have an E61 HX machine that I feed with tap water that I first run through a Brita activated carbon filter. It removes heavy metals in the water, and I find it improves taste, but it doesn't affect the scale.
    G'day Thunder240

    "do you feel that the resin filter negatively impacts the taste?": Yep, totally. I take great care to have nothing "extra" (read mainly plastic or aluminium) between the tank and the basket. My current systems are all high grade stainless. Adding a resin filter (new or flushed out for a while) causes immediate sink shots. While personally I wouldn't call it salty, the flavour is much worse than any small benefit from the filter.

    FWIW, a lot of the bottled waters and those "quasi distilled" ones also have a noticeable taste taint. Metro West Oz tap water probably needs a "no espresso warning" (it also STINKS most times of year).

    FYI, I use twice filtered rain water (i.e. in and out) and live in a very clean area just south of the Perth (West Oz) pollution belt. Even then I sometimes attack the roof with a high pressure hose (a Gerni) if it looks a little crappy (pun semi intended) before I open the tank valve. The one time I tested my rainwater the results were almost identical to "true distilled" (i.e. not the "stuff removed" one). It did not conduct electricity. Even after 18 months, there is no residue in my machinery.

    I presume you know about Jim S's "Insanely long water FAQ"? According to him you need some mineral content to make a good cuppa. I hae me douts... Having said that, if I still had brass innards in my gear I would have to add some minerals or suffer catastrophic failures.

    I am glad someone finally asked the resin filter taste question.

    TampIt
    PS: Enjoy Berkely, I loved shopping for music there when I lived in the states (Colorado).

  17. #67
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    TampIt, Gunda, thanks for the insight. Yup, I found the "Insanely Long Water FAQ". Jim recommends going with unfiltered spring water (from certain specific brands), if I recall correctly.

    I believe my machine (a Lelit PL62S) has a brass tank, so straight distilled water isn't an option for me. My tap water is definitely hard, 128 mg/L. It includes some heavy metals besides Mg and Ca, which is the reason I use the Brita activated carbon filter. The result makes delicious espresso, but scale buildup just killed my pressurestat, so I need to do something to reduce it, and descaling is a sufficient pain in the a$$ that I'd rather not do it more often than I already do. (You guys who descale monthly must not have HX machines, or if you do, God bless you!)

    Given your experience with the flat shots coming out of a fresh resin filter, as an alternative, I'm thinking about just diluting my Brita-filtered tap water with distilled water. In theory, if I mix distilled and Brita-filtered water, I should be able to achieve any hardness between 0 and 128 mg/L depending on the ratios.

    Has anyone tried this? Results (both in terms of scale reduction and taste)?

    TampIt, between Ameoba and Rasputin Records, you can find pretty much anything! Of course, with the Internet these days, it no longer seems quite so special.

  18. #68
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    Is a Resin Filter Good Enough to Prevent Scale?

    Just a quick update for you all.

    My water hardness test kit arrived a few days ago, but I'm still waiting on an alkalinity kit. Water out of the tap appears to be 9.5 grains per gallon hardness. My Brita water measures 4.5 grains per gallon (my filter is currently a little over a month old). So, something in that Brita filter is doing a semi-descent job of removing Ca ions. I had been under the impression that the Brita filter was just activated carbon, but could it also contain a salt resin layer as well?

    Anyhow, I'm going to dilute the Brita water with distilled to reduce it further to 3 grains and see how my espresso tastes. I believe 3 grains is below the scale point.

    ------
    Edit: My kit is a titration kit rather than a strip, so I believe my measurements are fairly accurate.

  19. #69
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    Cool Back to resin filtering

    ...and resurrecting this once again and going back to the original question.

    I used filtered water and a resin filter in my old Sunbeam 6910 and sometimes even changed it after six months!

    When we moved house and I bought a shiny new ECM Technika with a stainless steel boiler, I started seeing a lot of scale deposits/water stains on chrome taps and shower glass - so thought I had better take this a little more seriously.

    Comments above made me think the anti-scale filters I could get would not last as long as we like to believe, so I looked into the resin filters a little more. The Sunbeam cartridges are between $16 and $30 a piece - last for "six" months and contain less than a tablespoon of resin.

    I checked with a filter shop (Clarence Water Filters) and they sell a kilo of the mixed bed resin for $25 plus delivery - $12 in my case. Other places sell this and also a resin that has a colour change to tell you when it is depleted.

    Long story short - for the price of 2 Sunbeam cartridges (which can be re-used) I think I have a couple of years worth of scale reduction - set up like the pics. (Sorry don't know how to rotate here) Excuse the yogurt container - I wanted something narrow and high. The clear plastic tubing is a food grade joiner from Bunnings. It worked out that a 15mm (or was it 12?) hole with a forstner bit gives a nice water-tight fit in the container and the cartridge.

    I just fill the Sunbeam cartridge with new resin - fill the water container from the fridge filter and let it slowly dribble into the coffee machine.

    I know this is not scientific but with a TDS measurement tester I get the following readings:
    Tap Water 120ppm
    Filtered (old filter) 104ppm
    New Resin 4ppm (confirming 4ppm)
    After two weeks 30ppm
    After a month: 65ppm.

    I tried recharging with salt water for a couple of hours - but then got a reading of 104ppm even after rinsing several times.

    I left water drops on shiny stainless steel - the tap water left a calcium deposit that was hard to remove... the fridge filter less so and the resin filter left a small stain that just wiped away (sodium or salt??)

    For the price, I will just keep replacing the resin in the cartridge every month or so.
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  20. #70
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    Good work!

    I have the C150 setup and also use a resin filter on the suction hose, can never have enough softening! (well you can if you go so pure the level probes dont get triggered by the water).

    Cheers
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  21. #71
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    Question but first premise. I have a whole house resin water softener installed. We need it badly . The water going in is hard Florida Aquifer water. The softener recharges its resin tank every 3 days and the water coming out is very soft. Great for cleaning and bathing but not so great for taste. It is also filtered by a replaceable pass thru water filter cartridge. Do I need to use a machine resin filter in the tank of my machine? It came with one. It is a Lelit. Not hard plumbed . Just a tank that I refill . Forgive me if this has been answered , I read thru the whole thread and did not see anything on this.



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