This is what to expect from good water

Need help with equipment usage or want to share your latest discovery?
pcrussell50

#1: Post by pcrussell50 »

After a five year run on this solenoid, this is how clean it looked when I took it off. In the lower left corner you can see the "pad" where it screws down:

Good water:
Image

If your machine internals are not this clean, you might want to look into the water you are using.

That residue you see around the PTFE seals was a little Dow111 I used to keep the white discs from dropping out when I lowered the solenoid back on the pad five years prior.

Bad water: (And negligent maintenance re leak fixing)
Image


-Peter
LMWDP #553

Nonprophet

#2: Post by Nonprophet »

Nice! Are you using a filter, making your own water, or did you find "the fountain of espresso machine youth!" :D :D
"Chop your own wood--it will warm you twice."

LMWDP #522

belegnole

#3: Post by belegnole »

Very nice! I'm curious as to what your water recipe is too.
LMWDP #641

pcrussell50

#4: Post by pcrussell50 »

Nonprophet wrote:Nice! Are you using a filter, making your own water, or did you find "the fountain of espresso machine youth!" :D :D
Your metaphor is excellent. Might have to start using it myself.

In one home where I keep my levers, I mix 100mg of sodium bicarbonate or potassium bicarbonate (both work fine), into each liter of distilled water. Never use distilled water without buffering it. This is for basic machine health. No scale components, scale not possible. Beyond that, there are some amounts of scale compounds that people tolerate because they think it makes the espresso taste better. For the purposes of this thread, I'll stay out of that religious holy war. But search up posts by now deceased member "rpavlis" and read the "water" forum section here.

In the other, where the photo was taken, that machine is plumbed in and I use an espresso specific softening filter installed under the kitchen sink. Same thing, basic machine health. No "flavor enhancers".

-Peter
LMWDP #553

pcrussell50

#5: Post by pcrussell50 »

It occurs to me that a post illustrating the consequences of not using good water is in order. This, courtesy of a bloke on an Aussie forum, in response to my picture above:
(Same make and model of machine, different country)
Image

-Peter
LMWDP #553

User avatar
hankbates

#6: Post by hankbates »

Pictures are worth thousands of words :D

DaveB
Supporter ♡

#7: Post by DaveB »

pcrussell50 wrote:It occurs to me that a post illustrating the consequences of not using good water is in order. This, courtesy of a bloke on an Aussie forum, in response to my picture above:
(Same make and model of machine, different country)
This photo (finally!) convinced me to only use water prepared with the recipe(s) of the late forum member Dr. Robert Plavis in my brand new replacement machine. I'm curious how long it took that sad-looking solenoid to look like that. And any ideas about the water composition in that example?
hankbates wrote:Pictures are worth thousands of words :D
Indeed, that picture is definitely worth at least a thousand words!
Von meinem iPhone gesendet

Stanford55

#8: Post by Stanford55 »

To each his own but I tried Dr. Plavis's recipe and found it badly needed some sort of mineralization to offset the neutral, almost sterile taste I was getting with it. I believe a packet of TWW espresso blend mixed with distilled water *might* constitute good water-cheap and easy to make, potentially more flavorful, and little to no scaling (zero problems on my Express and Cremina).

Edit: To the OP's point, there are a thousand opinions about water-I certainly don't want to start a debate, but rather offer this as an alternative.

User avatar
tgappmayer
Supporter

#9: Post by tgappmayer »

Having a hard time finding that water recipe - can someone link it here, please?

Also - what has been your best source for distilled water? Should I just go buy it by the 5 gallon container? How good are at-home RO systems?

User avatar
homeburrero
Team HB

#10: Post by homeburrero »

tgappmayer wrote:Having a hard time finding that water recipe - can someone link it here, please?
Here's a recent post with links and discussion: Water recommendation

For 5 gallons the full strength rpavlis recipe would be 1.9 grams of potassium bicarbonate in 5 gallons. Professor Pavlis would sometimes use less for dark roasts for taste reasons, going as low as appx 1 gram per 5 gallons. The full strength recipe is what most everyone uses, and gives you an alkalinity of 50 mg/L CaCO3 equivalent, which fits nicely with other recommendations for machine health (SCA recommends that alkalinity for espresso machine use always be 40 mg/L or more.)

If you were to use sodium bicarbonate (household baking soda) you should use a little less to get the same chemical equivalence - - 1.6 grams of sodium bicarb (instead of 1.9 grams ) for 5 gallons.

At home RO systems should be good enough for this purpose. You can get RO or de-ionized in refillable containers at many groceries, but be careful. Beware that RO at the grocery may have minerals added, and some in-store RO machines may be poorly maintained. I buy de-ionized at whole foods (my local store dispenser sells RO, which is slightly re-mineralized, 'alkaline' which is highly mineralized, and de-ionized, which is comparable to distilled.)
Pat
nínádiishʼnahgo gohwééh náshdlį́į́h