Need insights on my current water for the Lelit Bianca

Water analysis, treatment, and mineral recipes for optimum taste and equipment health.
tinay09

#1: Post by tinay09 »

Hi Home Baristas,

I'd like to start off by saying that I'm new to home brewing and would like to get insights on my current water situations.

I used filtered water from the water refilling station when their TDS is about 70-80 but lately, their TDS is a whack and the last time I checked is 130. I tried finding other sources but they mostly offer RO and it looks like using TWW isn't recommended by Lelit. So I resorted to my tap water with values listed below. The test has been done using an aquarium test kit (API KH and GH). Based on the test kit it says each drop is equal to dKH and multiple by 17.9 to get the PPM values.

GH - 5 drops = 5 dGh = ~89.5 ppm
KH - 4 drops = 4 dKh = ~ 71.6

Based on the values above, my questions are:
1. Is my tap water filtered with Brita to get rid of chlorine okay to use with my machine?
2. Do I still need to use the Lelit Water Softener?
3. Would I still have issues with limescale? If so, how often should I descale the machine?

Looking forward to your advice. Please help a newbie out.

Smo

#2: Post by Smo »

My correspondence with lelit support:
I know you have a water specialist.
Can I use distilled water + NaHCO3 40 mg / l?
answer:
in our opinion, it's better if you use 80 mg/l instead of 40.

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giboja

#3: Post by giboja » replying to Smo »

Did they provide any further explanation??

Smo

#4: Post by Smo »

No.
My opinion: 80 mg /l is enough for electronics, enough for tasty coffee, and apparently has a detergent effect on the E61.

User avatar
homeburrero
Team HB

#5: Post by homeburrero »

tinay09 wrote: GH - 5 drops = 5 dGh = ~89.5 ppm
KH - 4 drops = 4 dKh = ~ 71.6

Based on the values above, my questions are:
1. Is my tap water filtered with Brita to get rid of chlorine okay to use with my machine?
2. Do I still need to use the Lelit Water Softener?
3. Would I still have issues with limescale? If so, how often should I descale the machine?

Looking forward to your advice. Please help a newbie out.
Your hardness and alkalinity numbers are within many espresso machine's water spec recommendations (LaMarzocco's for one example), so you could use a simple charcoal + particulates filter. But they are high enough that limescale will likely accumulate and need to be dealt with by inspection and descaling if/when necessary.

If you want to avoid needing to descale the machine you could soften that water, preferably by a conventional sodium or potassium ion exchange softener.* The LeLit reservoir hose-end softeners are conventional sodium ion exchange softeners, and should work for this purpose provided you replace them at the recommended intervals.

One way to never worry about scale or corrosion is to use rpavlis or similar water that has nothing but potassium or sodium bicarbonate added to purified water. The standard recipe is 100 mg/L KHCO3 or 84 mg/L NaHCO3, which gives you 50 mg/L CaCO3 equivalents of alkalinity.


Smo wrote:My correspondence with lelit support:
I know you have a water specialist.
Can I use distilled water + NaHCO3 40 mg / l?
answer:
in our opinion, it's better if you use 80 mg/l instead of 40.
Reasonable advice in my opinion. 80 mg/L NaHCO3 gives you a bicarbonate alkalinity of 48 mg/L (CaCO3 equivalents). Most water advice, including from SCA handbooks, advise that alkalinity be higher than 40 mg/L for espresso machines. And espresso should tolerate over twice that amount without risking adverse taste effects due to buffering of coffee acidity by the bicarbonate.

* I recommended conventional softening because you did not say what your chloride level is, and if you have significant chloride in this water you would want to avoid any decarbonating softener (aka WAC resin softener, aka hydrogen ion exchange softener) that can reduce the alkalinity and acidify the water.
Pat
nínádiishʼnahgo gohwééh náshdlį́į́h

tinay09 (original poster)

#6: Post by tinay09 (original poster) »

* I recommended conventional softening because you did not say what your chloride level is, and if you have significant chloride in this water you would want to avoid any decarbonating softener (aka WAC resin softener, aka hydrogen ion exchange softener) that can reduce the alkalinity and acidify the water.
Thanks homeburrero. Im going to have to find a test kit of some sort to measure chloride and report back. Currently, Im using a Brita with Maxtra+ Filter and kept the Lelit Water softener in the tank. Should be okay for now, right?

User avatar
homeburrero
Team HB

#7: Post by homeburrero »

Yes, I think you're fine for now. You may be able to find out your chloride level by contacting your water utility. Make sure they know that you are interested in chloride rather than chlorine. The Maxtra filter does contain some WAC resin -- almost all pitcher filters do. No cause for alarm because I think the amount of resin is small. The one I know of that contains no WAC resin at all is the Brita Longlast, but not sure you can get it in the Philippines. Refrigerator filters are also usually plain carbon + particulates filters.
Pat
nínádiishʼnahgo gohwééh náshdlį́į́h