Am I damaging my espresso machine using my water?

Water analysis, treatment, and mineral recipes for optimum taste and equipment health.
gingi

#1: Post by gingi »

Hi there guy.

First, kindly accept my apologies if this topic was discussed before.

I am a busy physician and a proud owner of Profitec 700 PRO + Niche zero.

Currently, when I have time to brew espresso, I use filtered Brita water that are filling in a tank with an Oscar resin filter. When getting the Oscar I read that it needs at least 3 hours to do its magic on the water so usually I let it stay for that long prior to brewing. Recently, a friend told me that my water is very bad and it might damage my machine; mortified, I rushed into buying a TDS meter from Amazon.

Surprisingly, the TDS values in PPM are: 156 (tap), 150 (Brita, filtered), 145 (Brita filtered planed in the tank with Oscar).

My questions are:

-Is that range sufficient / safe for brewing espresso (a short Google search says that it does, but I decided to ask the experts here)

-In not, what should I consider if I want to improve the quality of the water?

-If there is not a substantial difference between the tap and the filtered water, what does it mean? does the Brita not filtering anything, or the probe dose not check for filtered materials?

-Is there an affordable, cheap solution to achieve the perfect water at home?

Thank you very much in advance for everyone who is willing to help me.
Gingi

jerbear00

#2: Post by jerbear00 »

By safety I assume you are referring to increasing your machine's longevity. Most on here are more concerned with reducing scale buildup. For that you will want to check hardness.

If you are beginning to obsess over the perfect flavor then water is certainly important but that is another rabbit hole.

Your TDS is fine. One other item you may want to check is ph.

Scott Rao is a great resource among others.

Ballpark
1. TDS 100-200
2. Hardness 2-6 grains
3. pH 7-8

Someone correct me if I missed anything

gingi (original poster)

#3: Post by gingi (original poster) »

Thank you for your answer.
I know it might be a silly question for most people here - but what is the best reliable way to check hardness and pH?
Also, if anyone else sees my question and has an opinion I'd love to her ya'
G

luvmy40

#4: Post by luvmy40 »

You might also want to test your chloride(not chlorine or chloramine ) level. Chloride will cause corrosion, even at low levels if coupled with low alkinity. HB's resident expert, @homeburrero will correct me if I'm wrong.

User avatar
Jake_G
Team HB

#5: Post by Jake_G »

gingi wrote:Thank you for your answer.
I know it might be a silly question for most people here - but what is the best reliable way to check hardness and pH?
Also, if anyone else sees my question and has an opinion I'd love to her ya'
G
Grab an aquarium or pool test kit to measure hardness and total alkalinity (Gh and Kh, respectively) they aren't too expensive and will give you a good idea of what you're consuming. Dont get the strips, but the one with hardness and alkalinity indicator and titrating fluids. They will come with phenol red for checking pH, as well.

Most don't come with a chloride test, so you'll need to figure that one out separately. I use an HTH kit for my pool and my espresso water. Cost less than $30 and has lasted a year so far between espresso and pool duty.

Cheers!

- Jake
LMWDP #704

luvmy40

#6: Post by luvmy40 »

gingi wrote:Thank you for your answer.
I know it might be a silly question for most people here - but what is the best reliable way to check hardness and pH?
Also, if anyone else sees my question and has an opinion I'd love to her ya'
G
Titration tests are the easiest, most reliable home tests. Not the cheapest.

Here's a four test kit from Chem World:

https://www.chemworld.com/Boiler-Water- ... mLEALw_wcB

Here's a less expensive Chloride test kit:

https://www.chemworld.com/Boiler-Chlori ... /m8517.htm

User avatar
homeburrero
Team HB

#7: Post by homeburrero »

For machine healthy water the key water parameters for avoiding corrosion are alkalinity and chloride, and the key parameters for avoiding scale are calcium hardness and alkalinity. You can just measure total hardness with GH test kit, which measures calcium + magnesium hardness. And you can use a KH test kit to measure alkalinity. I like the Hach kits, but the API fishcare kits are inexpensive, very popular with espresso people, and can be stretched to get more precise measurements on soft waters. See Noobie Question: How To Treat Water (Water Report)

High alkalinity along with high hardness will cause scale deposits and these will clog your machine if you don't properly descale. The bible on espresso machine scale is Jim Schulman's Insanely Long Water FAQ. In that FAQ he includes a handy table that can be used to see if your water might be non-scaling:

(For example, if you have water with an alkalinity (KH) of 40 mg/L in a boiler at 120C, then reading the table you can see that if your hardness (GH) is below 63 mg/L you can assume your water is non-scaling.)



For chloride, your best bet is to see if you can find out about that by online searching or by contacting your water utility. Chloride is not easily filtered and if it's high then you may need an RO system or may need to used bottled, or some DIY recipe water built on purified. Many manufacturers recommend that it be below 30 mg/L, Synesso says it should be less than 15 mg/L. Low alkalinity along with some chloride in the water would be a bigger corrosion issue. You can get drop titration test kits for chloride. The one from Chemworld that luvmy40 linked looks like it should do the job. I use a kit from Hach: The skinny on chloride testing?

Jake_G wrote:I use an HTH kit for my pool and my espresso water. Cost less than $30 and has lasted a year so far between espresso and pool duty.
Jake - are you sure that's not a chlorine test kit?

Chlorine is a different chemical than chloride. You want zero chlorine your espresso machine water; it's corrosive and a killer for taste. You can just assume you have it, possibly chloramine in your water utility water - - it's added in small amounts as a disinfectant. But instead of measuring it you can just assume that it's there, and fortunately it's easily removed by an activated charcoal or carbon block filter.

Acidity and pH are important, but you don't need to measure it if you know your alkalinity. (Alkalinity is a measure of the acid buffering capacity of the water.) Typical guidance is to assure that your water has an alkalinity of 40 mg/L (as CaCO3) or higher and you can assume you are OK with respect to pH.
Pat
nínádiishʼnahgo gohwééh náshdlį́į́h

User avatar
Jake_G
Team HB

#8: Post by Jake_G »

homeburrero wrote:Jake - are you sure that's not a chlorine test kit?
Not Chlorine nor Chloride. This is for Gh, Kh and pH.

(Although in retrospect I see how worded my response that makes it look like this is for chloride. Whoops.)
LMWDP #704

freditoj

#9: Post by freditoj »

Fellow physician here, found it funny you said that you are a busy one in the original post.

gingi (original poster)

#10: Post by gingi (original poster) » replying to freditoj »

Legit. Just looking for a quick solution and have no time to research this issue during my ICU shifts.