Preventing scale with Profitec Pro 300

Water analysis, treatment, and mineral recipes for optimum taste and equipment health.
dannyboy2233

#1: Post by dannyboy2233 »

Hi!

I recently purchased a new (to me) Profitec Pro 300 in excellent condition. Because this machine is a dual boiler and the official recommendation is to not attempt at-home descaling, I would like to be as proactive as possible at preventing scale buildup in the machine.

I have not tested the water directly from my faucet, but in general water where I live has a hardness ranging from 3 to 4 gpg (50-70 ppm). It's only slightly hard, but I can often see slight residue left behind after washing dishes. Given this, will I be fine with an "easy" water filtration solution, e.g., the Oscar water softening pouch from Clive? Or would that still result in scale buildup? I'm unable to plumb my machine and I would like to avoid buying distilled water or an RO machine if at all possible. Thanks!

danny

BodieZoffa

#2: Post by BodieZoffa »

My municipality supplied tap water is quite ideal as is and the only reason I Pur filter it is to remove trace amounts of chlorine. Last check it was around .25 ppm at the tap. Using the Pur does indeed remove slight amounts of hardness as I test before/after, but still just enough to have great taste/texture and no threat of scale buildup at all. I think some tend to overthink water quality a bit much. Yes it's important, but most tap water is quite usable with a few possible tweaks to perfect it.

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dannyboy2233 (original poster)

#3: Post by dannyboy2233 (original poster) » replying to BodieZoffa »

Thanks for the reply -- unfortunately, my local water is not so soft. The Pur filter is a nice idea, but I have no need to filter all the water coming out of my faucet. The only reason to filter at all is preventing scale buildup in the espresso machine, which is why I wanted an approach that was more "local."

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homeburrero
Team HB

#4: Post by homeburrero »

If you're on Massachusetts water resources authority water your hardness is near ideal per some coffee brewing standards and I think you should be fine, scale-wise, with that Oscar pouch. Make a habit of filling your reservoir at the end of the day so that your water has good contact time with the pouch.

For chlorine removal you can use water that has gone through a refrigerator filter, or if using a pitcher filter I would recommend the Brita Longlast. That one contains no WAC resins, which is good because you do not want anything that might reduce alkalinity and lower pH.

BodieZoffa wrote:I think some tend to overthink water quality a bit much.
I agree, but think it's worth knowing that some guidelines might favor RO for this water. The MWRA water's chloride ion is in the 30 - 50 mg/L ballpark, and some guidance suggests using RO to remove chloride ion when the level is above 15 mg/L (Synesso) or above 30 mg/L (LaMarzocco-USA). The concern here is corrosion associated with that chloride ion, and the only practical way to reduce that would be RO. Note that Boston water's chloride is nowhere near the level in nearby Cambridge, which is well known for chloride corrosion issues -- they get water from different sources than MWRA and the chloride ion level there is over 200 mg/L. ( cambridge-water-isnt-working-for-coffee-connoisseurs ). Nevertheless, having that borderline chloride ion level in the MWRA water is one reason to avoid WAC resins that might lower your alkalinity and acidify the water. The Oscar/Bilt/Rocket pouch is preferred because it has a conventional (SAC) resin. The BWT reservoir filter would not be as good here because it does contain a WAC resin.
Pat
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cmin

#5: Post by cmin »

I just keep it easy, .4mg potassium bicarbonate into gallon of distilled water.

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homeburrero
Team HB

#6: Post by homeburrero » replying to cmin »

A reasonable (and popular) solution that works everywhere.

P.S.
I think cmin intended to say 0.4 g (400 mg) per gallon of distilled. That matches the 'rpavlis' water recommended by the late Robert Pavlis - 100 mg/L of potassium bicarbonate which gives you a nice alkalinity of 50 mg/L CaCO3 equivalent.
Pat
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dannyboy2233 (original poster)

#7: Post by dannyboy2233 (original poster) »

homeburrero wrote:If you're on Massachusetts water resources authority water your hardness is near ideal per some coffee brewing standards and I think you should be fine, scale-wise, with that Oscar pouch. Make a habit of filling your reservoir at the end of the day so that your water has good contact time with the pouch.

For chlorine removal you can use water that has gone through a refrigerator filter, or if using a pitcher filter I would recommend the Brita Longlast. That one contains no WAC resins, which is good because you do not want anything that might reduce alkalinity and lower pH.


I agree, but think it's worth knowing that some guidelines might favor RO for this water. The MWRA water's chloride ion is in the 30 - 50 mg/L ballpark, and some guidance suggests using RO to remove chloride ion when the level is above 15 mg/L (Synesso) or above 30 mg/L (LaMarzocco-USA). The concern here is corrosion associated with that chloride ion, and the only practical way to reduce that would be RO. Note that Boston water's chloride is nowhere near the level in nearby Cambridge, which is well known for chloride corrosion issues -- they get water from different sources than MWRA and the chloride ion level there is over 200 mg/L. ( cambridge-water-isnt-working-for-coffee-connoisseurs ). Nevertheless, having that borderline chloride ion level in the MWRA water is one reason to avoid WAC resins that might lower your alkalinity and acidify the water. The Oscar/Bilt/Rocket pouch is preferred because it has a conventional (SAC) resin. The BWT reservoir filter would not be as good here because it does contain a WAC resin.
Thanks for the detailed feedback, much appreciated. Unfortunately the "Boston, MA" in my signature is not so precise and I do indeed live in Cambridge :D Any suggestions for dealing with such high levels of chlorine? Will a standard Brita fridge filter work for filtering chloride ions, followed by Oscar pouch in the reservoir to handle residual calcium?
homeburrero wrote:A reasonable (and popular) solution that works everywhere.
Yes, this was my plan for the short-term (before I get a sustainable system worked out). Do you think potassium bicarb is better than mixing sodium bicarb and magnesium sulfate?

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homeburrero
Team HB

#8: Post by homeburrero »

dannyboy2233 wrote:Thanks for the detailed feedback, much appreciated. Unfortunately the "Boston, MA" in my signature is not so precise and I do indeed live in Cambridge :D Any suggestions for dealing with such high levels of chlorine? Will a standard Brita fridge filter work for filtering chloride ions, followed by Oscar pouch in the reservoir to handle residual calcium?
The only pragmatic filtration solution when you have high chloride is a reverse osmosis system. Carbon in the Brita and fridge filters can adsorb the small concentrations of chlorine and chloramine disinfectants, but does nothing to reduce that high chloride ion. None of the softener cation exchange resins reduce it either. An anion exchange resin can remove chloride, so a mixed bed de-ionizer like a Zerowater filter would remove chloride, but that's not a practical solution for your high TDS Cambridge water.

In Cambridge I'd say that you're stuck with either RO and a remineralization cartridge, or mixing your own water with distilled or otherwise purified. The latter can even be done in a plumb-in if you mix water in a carboy and plumb that in with a flojet-like pump system.
dannyboy2233 wrote:Do you think potassium bicarb is better than mixing sodium bicarb and magnesium sulfate?
You could use 0.3 gram of sodium bicarb (baking soda) instead of 0.4 gram of potassium bicarb per gallon to get the alkalinity you want. One argument for potassium over sodium is that potassium should have no effect on taste - coffee itself is already loaded with potassium.

The only reason to add the magnesium sulfate is if you believe the magnesium ion somehow produces tastier extractions -- something postulated on the basis of computational chemistry but not proven in practice. You could try it via Epsom salts per Matt Perger recipes, and if it doesn't improve the taste just skip it.
Pat
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dannyboy2233 (original poster)

#9: Post by dannyboy2233 (original poster) »

homeburrero wrote:The only pragmatic filtration solution when you have high chloride is a reverse osmosis system. Carbon in the Brita and fridge filters can adsorb the small concentrations of chlorine and chloramine disinfectants, but does nothing to reduce that high chloride ion. None of the softener cation exchange resins reduce it either. An anion exchange resin can remove chloride, so a mixed bed de-ionizer like a Zerowater filter would remove chloride, but that's not a practical solution for your high TDS Cambridge water.

In Cambridge I'd say that you're stuck with either RO and a remineralization cartridge, or mixing your own water with distilled or otherwise purified. The latter can even be done in a plumb-in if you mix water in a carboy and plumb that in with a flojet-like pump system.

You could use 0.3 gram of sodium bicarb (baking soda) instead of 0.4 gram of potassium bicarb per gallon to get the alkalinity you want. One argument for potassium over sodium is that potassium should have no effect on taste - coffee itself is already loaded with potassium.

The only reason to add the magnesium sulfate is if you believe the magnesium ion somehow produces tastier extractions -- something postulated on the basis of computational chemistry but not proven in practice. You could try it via Epsom salts per Matt Perger recipes, and if it doesn't improve the taste just skip it.
Thanks for the detailed response. It sounds like maybe my best bet is to cheaply source RO or distilled water en masse and remineralize it myself. I wanted to avoid this, but I would do it if it's the only way to prevent scaling in my machine. The issue is that I don't really have the funds or space for an at-home RO machine, so I'd need to make a trip to a water supplier every few weeks. I also can't plumb my machine, which is a bummer.

BTW, I think we have a 75+% hobby overlap; I'm also an avid backcountry skier and cyclist :D