Rao/Perger Water for espresso

Water analysis, treatment, and mineral recipes for optimum taste and equipment health.
violin_geek123

#1: Post by violin_geek123 »

Hi all,

I'm about to dive into home espresso for the first time after years of honing pourover at home (and I'm nowhere near perfection yet!). Got a Cafelat Robot on the way, and a Niche coming this summer (and a Helor 101 w/ contemporary burrs for now), along with 2lbs of Red Bird espresso.

I use Rao/Perger water for my brewed coffee, which has a GH of 88ppm and a KH (alkalinity) of 40ppm. This makes a really flavorful and balanced brewed coffee but I'm wondering if this will also be suitable for espresso as well? I'm wondering if the alkalinity is a little too low for espresso and may result in sour shots. What type of water do you use?

Thanks all, it's a joy to join the HB forums!
Brian Hong

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homeburrero
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#2: Post by homeburrero »

violin_geek123 wrote:I use Rao/Perger water for my brewed coffee, which has a GH of 88ppm and a KH (alkalinity) of 40ppm. This makes a really flavorful and balanced brewed coffee but I'm wondering if this will also be suitable for espresso as well? I'm wondering if the alkalinity is a little too low for espresso and may result in sour shots.
In theory, water for making espresso will tolerate much more alkalinity than if used for brewed coffee. Here's a discussion: https://scanews.coffee/25-magazine/issu ... e-issue-9/
and
Mixing three waters

It's probably best to keep it at 40 mg/L or more for machine health reasons. I don't think you need to increase it, nor will you notice a taste difference if you do. Nothing wrong with giving it a try though.
Pat
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violin_geek123

#3: Post by violin_geek123 » replying to homeburrero »

Thank you so much!
Brian Hong

mtbizzle

#4: Post by mtbizzle »

I won't be able to find you a link,
but I recently listened to a little Q/A podcast style deal with Rao. He was saying how he uses the Barista hustle method of creating coffee water, and loves it, no complaints. Added benefit for espresso, no scaling when you use Mg and bicarb.
I personally use 'Rao' recipe water with the barista hustle method
I'm certainly no authority on judging espresso quality. I definitely enjoy my pour overs and espresso drinks though.

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homeburrero
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#5: Post by homeburrero »

mtbizzle wrote:I won't be able to find you a link,
but I recently listened to a little Q/A podcast style deal with Rao. He was saying how he uses the Barista hustle method of creating coffee water, and loves it, no complaints. Added benefit for espresso, no scaling when you use Mg and bicarb.
I'm pretty sure this is the podcast:
https://www.scottrao.com/blog/2019/7/14 ... -scott-rao
Skip to 18:58 for the water discussion. He makes the same point about espresso tolerating more alkalinity.
Pat
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violin_geek123

#6: Post by violin_geek123 »

That all makes sense. Third Wave Water's espresso packets have more alkalinity with slightly less general hardness. Possibly to down down the acidic taste compounds?

This may be less of an issue for Italian style espresso roasts, though that's just conjecture on my part.
Brian Hong

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homeburrero
Team HB

#7: Post by homeburrero »

violin_geek123 wrote:Third Wave Water's espresso packets have more alkalinity with slightly less general hardness. Possibly to down down the acidic taste compounds?
I think that the motivation was to add a little alkalinity to address potential espresso machine corrosion. The classic formula had no bicarbonate whatsoever. They also eliminated the sodium chloride from the espresso recipe, possibly also for corrosion reasons. Then they dropped hardness a little so that it would still come out reading about 150 ppm on an inexpensive TDS meter, which was important to them. (See Third Wave Water capsules - add to water for better tasting coffee for some background from Taylor Minor of TWW.)
Pat
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