Good option after I move to a soft water area?

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

#1: Post by neohk »

Hello,
Right now I am using the Peak Water jugs to bring my water hardness down and it works well.
I will be moving to a new city where the water is soft at GH ~20, what is an easier/economical way to slightly harden my water to GH ~50-70 and KH 50?
How about finding some mineral water and mix a tiny bit every time, or is there an easier way out?
Thanks

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homeburrero
Team HB

#2: Post by homeburrero »

neohk wrote:I will be moving to a new city where the water is soft at GH ~20, what is an easier/economical way to slightly harden my water to GH ~50-70 and KH 50?
How about finding some mineral water and mix a tiny bit every time, or is there an easier way out?
The easiest and cheapest way to bump up your alkalinity would be to add a smidgen of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) or potassium bicarbonate (available online or from winemaking supply shops.)

Per liter of water, if you add 17 mg of sodium bicarbonate or 20 mg potassium bicarbonate you will get a 20 mg/L (CaCO3 equivalents) increase in alkalinity (KH). You can make this practical by using a concentrate. For example, you might add 1 gram of sodium bicarb to a liter of water that you keep in the fridge, then add 15 ml (about a tablespoon) of that to each liter that you add to the reservoir to get your ~ 20 mg/L alkalinity bump.

You can do the same for hardness using Espsom salt (magnesium sulfate heptahydrate). For every 50 mg of Epsom salt that you add to a liter of water you will get a 20 mg/L bump in GH (CaCO3 equivalent).

I'd suggest bumping the alkalinity alone and trying that first. Only add the Epsom if you think it improves the coffee taste. If you use concentrates, you have to use one bottle for KH and another for GH.

If you find a nice mineral water with high hardness and alkalinity and low undesirables (like chloride and silica) you can use that to spike your water. Your GH and KH can be calculated by using a volumetric average of the two waters (i.e. 200 ml of water with KH=100 added to 800 ml of water with KH=20 will average to a KH of 100*0.2 + 20*0.8 = 36)
Pat
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neohk (original poster)

#3: Post by neohk (original poster) »

Thanks! I heard that I'm supposed to put those concentrates in a fridge, is that right?
I guess I should find myself a more accurate scale as well because those powders a in tiny qualities anyway

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homeburrero
Team HB

#4: Post by homeburrero »

neohk wrote:I heard that I'm supposed to put those concentrates in a fridge, is that right?
As with any opened container of water it's best to store it in a cool dark place to avoid microbial growth. A refrigerator is good for that.


neohk wrote:I guess I should find myself a more accurate scale as well because those powders a in tiny qualities anyway
If you use a concentrate or if you add your powder to a very large container, then the amount you need to weigh is not that small, and you can use the same 0.1 gram precision scale that you use to weigh your coffee doses. Getting high accuracy here is not that crucial.
Pat
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chug

#5: Post by chug »

Piggy backing off this thread as a newbie with a question: why do you need to harden soft water? Is it strictly for taste?

I just used the API GH/KH test kit, and both are 36ppm. Aside from a basic fridge filter, is there anything else I should be doing?

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homeburrero
Team HB

#6: Post by homeburrero »

chug wrote:why do you need to harden soft water? Is it strictly for taste?
There is an argument that having hardness minerals in the water improves taste. That's debatable, especially when you consider the fact that the water percolating through the coffee bed will have calcium and especially magnesium that has dissolved out of the coffee bed itself that is far above anything that came with the incoming water.

If the water is very pure (as with water coming out of an RO unit) it may need minerals to allow the conductivity water level sensors in the machine to work, and more importantly may need some bicarbonate to buffer acids to a near neutral pH. Remineralization cartridges are typically added to RO units to provide a small amount of hardness minerals (calcium, and sometimes magnesium) along with bicarbonate alkalinity (buffer).

With your GH and KH measures around 36 ppm I think you have excellent water with nothing more than a fridge filter.
Pat
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chug

#7: Post by chug »

This is very helpful, thank you!