Plumbed Water Options

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

#1: Post by SCespresso »


After many years of cycling espresso machines, I have purchased a new (also a first, haha) ECM Synchronika. I have never had a plumbed machine and have not taken water as seriously as I should. I pulled these numbers from my water company.

Common Water Quality Parameters (ppm)
Calcium 0.97 - 1.5 --- 1.2 average
Magnesium 0.40 - 0.66 --- 0.53 average
Sodium 6.0 - 9.0 --- 7.5 average
Potassium 0.54 - 0.95 --- 0.73 average
Total Ammonia 0.30 - 0.69 --- 0.51 average
Total Phosphate 0.52 - 0.92 --- 0.72 average
Total Alkalinity 5.4 - 14 --- 8.8 average
Total Hardness 4.2 - 6.4 --- 5.2 average
Chloramine 2.02

I ordered a TDS meter from Amazon that they messed up the delivery on (so I am still waiting for that), but they did deliver PH strips and it tested exactly at 7pH.

Any suggestions on the proper system for me? I have done a ton of research for both the full package systems sold on the big websites to building something from scratch, but I can't pin down something that fits this water. Thanks for any and all help!

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#2: Post by homeburrero »

That is very low mineral water. I think you have even Portland OR beat there. All you need is a particulates and carbon filter. You can use a generic 10" carbon block like CCS sells -- very simple and economical. Your water uses chloramine instead of chlorine disinfectant which is probably less objectionable for espresso machines but harder to filter. You can find filters with catalytic carbon that supposedly are better optimized for chloramine removal but I doubt you need that for an espresso machine point of use filter.
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SCespresso (original poster)

#3: Post by SCespresso (original poster) » replying to homeburrero »

Thanks for the reply. I was confused because my water wasn't close to what I've been reading online. I tracked the water tester down at the neighbor's house. From the tap it read 21ppm tds, and from the basic fridge filter it was 20ppm tds. Do I need to add anything to it before the espresso machine?

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#4: Post by homeburrero »

SCespresso wrote:Do I need to add anything to it before the espresso machine?
I would say no. Not that it's a bad idea but it's just hard to do. You could put in a calcite remineralization cartridge but unless the pH is low it's not going to add anything significant. At one time I'm told that David Schomer was using a Cirqua AB reformulator at his Vivace shop in Seattle to get more mineral, which he thought improved the taste. But that was an expensive and high maintenance item intended for commercial shops - and I understand that even he gave up on that.

With a reservoir it's easy. Just bump the charcoal filtered tap water with a little sodium or potassium bicarbonate to get the alkalinity up in the 40+ mg/L recommended zone, which might read 50 - 80 ppm on a TDS meter. For a plumb-in it might be done by mixing mineral into a 5 gallon carboy and a flojet-like pump. Similar to espresso cart setups you read about here on HB.

I think the easy and sufficient solution is to just use your low mineral water. As long as your water does not have high chloride ion you can live with low alkalinity very soft water without much worry about corrosion.
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SCespresso (original poster)

#5: Post by SCespresso (original poster) »

I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to help me out. It took a few months, but I was able to put together everything needed to plumb in.

I went with the generic charcoal filter from Chris' coffee and have been running smooth ever since.

Thanks again!