Calcite Filter for Vancouver Water?

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

Postby brad_g » Feb 03, 2019, 4:40 pm

Hi All,

Tap water here in Vancouver, BC is very soft and I'm wondering how best to get the mineral content up (for taste purposes). I measure a TDS of 15 ppm with my cheapo meter which seems inline with what I've read about Vancouver water. pH is apparently ~7.4 after Vancouver's water treatment.

Recently I tried a Calcite/Carbon filter (standard 10"). TDS went to ~75 ppm and I very much liked the results. In particular the sourness problem that I've had over the last 10 years was gone. Unfortunately the TDS dropped over the following week as did the positive effects. I'm guessing the new filter has a lot of initial loose calcite which flushes out in the first few days (though I did pass about 10 minutes of full flow through it prior to usage).

From what I've read here I think the relatively high pH of 7.4 is likely keeping my Calcite filter from releasing much into the water, unlike the case of using one with more acidic RO water.

I'm thinking I'm stuck with this unless going to a full RO system with post re-mineralizing.

Machine is plumbed in btw so no opportunity to easily change source.

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Postby ira » Feb 03, 2019, 6:42 pm

Calcite takes time to dissolve, If you're pulling more water at a time than is in the calcite part of the filter you might be asking to much. Adding an addition one or two calcite only filters in line might help if you're usage is limited. Also, in the morning put 1oz of water in each of 10 glasses and see if the TDS is higher in some of them. This might tell you if increasing the volume of water in contact with the calcite will help.


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Postby ira » Feb 03, 2019, 6:44 pm

One of the advantages of putting the calcite between the RO and the tank is the very low flow across the calcite.


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Postby EvergreenBuzzBuzz » Feb 04, 2019, 10:02 am

brad_g wrote:Machine is plumbed in btw so no opportunity to easily change source.

Brad, I am soon to be forced to reconsider that as I move from great water in CO to crappy water in AZ. Turns out to be more of an option than I had realized. I previously had an S1 btw and loved it. In AZ we will likely soften the water along with whole house filters but the Chlorides mean we still need an RO. Regardless, I am moving our Slayer to a cart for other reasons. If the RO with remineralization gets us decent water I will use that water to fill 6 gallon tanks. If it doesn't I will get distilled water and add minerals per one of the recipes. In any event PM me if you want a parts list I have developed but basically its:

Holding tank>check valve>pump>accumulation tank>pressure regulator>espresso machine

So it just depends on what you are looking for.

Have you seen this post on the Calcite Filter? -

Is my water filter set up overkill?

Hope that helps.
Artisan Quick Start Guide


Postby brad_g » Feb 04, 2019, 4:40 pm

Thanks for the excellent suggestions.

I'm going to start with the idea of testing 10 shots in the morning to see what the TDS looks like across them. That might show that adding another calcite filter will help boost the result. Fingers crossed - I like the idea of an easy solution.


Postby Ciaran » Feb 11, 2019, 1:06 pm

Brad_g - I would start with getting a better TDS meter. Your meter is likely reading 30% under on the TDS if it's even calibrated. Cheap meters are really salinity meters for testing aquariums and are not meant for testing fresh water. The least expensive decent meter, that I've found, is the HM Digital COM-80. It's on Amazon for under $40. It has selectable factors, both .5 (salinity) and .7 (fresh water).

The suggestion above regarding flow rate and contact time are valid. Using flow rate control, like a needle valve and a pressure tank after the filter will increase contact time.

Apart from Calcite, there's Corosex, which is Magnesium Oxide. It will generally increase TDS to a greater degree then Calcite. It's often sold as a 50/50 blend with Calcite. While Calcite might increase the TDS by 30ppm or so, I've seen an 80ppm increase from Corosex on Seattle water.

And an RO won't decrease pH or make water more acidic, it only removes the buffer from the water.


Postby brad_g » replying to Ciaran » Feb 12, 2019, 4:39 pm

Thanks. I'll check your suggestions re a better TDS meter. For now I think I'm going to simply add an additional Calcite filter (because I have one and a housing) to increase the contact time. My TDS is low but livable and if I get another ~10-20 ppm with the additional filter it'll do.