Water results are in but will it do harm?

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

#1: Post by gsrel »

Unfortunately, my kitchen water source isn't the greatest as it's being fed from an underground well into a whole home water filter and finally a water softener. My primary concern is for the longevity of my machine (synchronika).

I performed these tests twice with the same results. Is there an issue with the KH being so high? ie: long term damage or just crappy tasting coffee?

API GH & KH water results

KH - 42 drops (from blue to yellow)
GH - 1 drop and its already green

It seems that its 17.9 x the drop amount

KH = 751.8
GH = 17.9

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homeburrero
Team HB

#2: Post by homeburrero »

That looks like you have unusually hard water, and that your softener is effective, leaving you with low hardness bit still extremely high alkalinity. I don't think it's bad enough to cause machine damage, but still at the levels you reported you may need to watch for scale.

The big downside would be taste. That high alkalinity will buffer acids and give you a dull flat taste, especially for brewed coffee. Espresso taste is more tolerant of high alkalinity but yours is higher than anything I've seen reported here on home-barista.

You could reduce that alkalinity with an RO unit, or use recipe water - - purified water dosed with small amounts of bicarbonate, and perhaps other minerals. RO would let you plumb in from the tap, or if you want recipe water on a plumbed in machine you can use a carboy and flojet-like setup: Espresso Cart - Goodbye Plumbed In
Pat
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gsrel (original poster)

#3: Post by gsrel (original poster) »

Being that its well water who knows whats happening 80' down.

If you look at the attached image its my water sample results prior to getting the softener.

If I go directly off the RO line will it cause any leaching of the internal components (SS boilers, etc)? I would like to hard plumb in the Synchronika as moving it from under the cabinet is a huge pain to fill.

I ended up requesting another sample be made with the water out of the softener so hopefully it will give me additional info to compare to the below


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homeburrero
Team HB

#4: Post by homeburrero »

22 gpg would be 375 mg/L as CaCO3. Very hard but not quite as bad as was indicated just by that KH kit test. It's too hard as-is for most RO systems but OK for you as long as you run your softened water into the RO. Your water is close to the max TDS limit that some home RO units specify. (The Homemaster RO systems, for example, specify a max TDS of 2000 ppm for the feed water.)

gsrel wrote:If I go directly off the RO line will it cause any leaching of the internal components (SS boilers, etc)?
Instead of using straight RO you always want a remineralizing cartridge for RO into an espresso machine. With your very high TDS well water you will get quite a bit of mineral coming through - - maybe 60 ppm after RO, but I think it still would be wise to use a calcite remin cartridge to help assure you have alkalinity and pH at non-corrosive levels.

gsrel wrote:I would like to hard plumb in the Synchronika as moving it from under the cabinet is a huge pain to fill.
You could do that with the carboy and espresso cart approach provided you have room under the cabinet. You would be swapping or filling the carboy and not the espresso machine. Given your unusually high mineral well water that's what I think I would do in your situation.
Pat
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MsBarista

#5: Post by MsBarista »

What's the difference between using R.O woth mineralized cartridge vs getting purified water with correct alkalinity and purchase a larger amount of it?

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homeburrero
Team HB

#6: Post by homeburrero »

MsBarista wrote:What's the difference between using R.O woth mineralized cartridge vs getting purified water with correct alkalinity and purchase a larger amount of it?
R.O with remin is a straightforward way of plumbing the machine to your home water supply. You typically end up with fairly soft water that is low in scale-prone minerals, and nearly free of corrosive ions, silica, etc that may be in the tap water.

If you purchase purified water and add minerals you save the expense and hassle of maintaining the RO system, offset of course by the cost of the purified water and the hassle of mixing in the right amount of minerals. This works the same irrespective of the quality of your tapwater and also allows you to get a water with the mineral mix that you think is ideal for your machine and coffee tastes. Some people believe that they need to precisely control their calcium, magnesium, and alkalinity levels to get the taste they want. Many people opt for nonscaling zero hardness with moderate alkalinity (e.g., rpavlis water) and you can't get that out of a remin cartridge.

P.S.
You can do the latter and still plumb the machine in using the CarefreeBuzzBuzz approach.
Pat
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