Rpavlis versus WLL water recipes

Water analysis, treatment, and mineral recipes for optimum taste and equipment health.
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#1: Post by pcdawson »

While my Cremina was away in the shop I was using my Cafelat robot as my daily driver. Usually I use the standard rpavlis water recipe with the Cremina. For the robot I just used water from my RO system. Now the Cremina is back and I'm using rpavlis water again I've noticed that my espresso tastes "flat". I'm wondering if I should switch to the Whole Latte Love recipe which uses Epsom salts in addition to potassium bicarbonate to make two concentrates that are added to 1 litre of water. Any thoughts on the effects of epsom salt on water taste?

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#2: Post by homeburrero »

High alkalinity is usually attributed to making a coffee taste flat due to the bicarbonate buffering of coffee acids. Especially for cupping or brewed coffee where you have a lot of water compared to the coffee acids in the cup. For espresso, the buffering effect of the brewing water is less by a factor of 10 or so.

The rpavlis recipe is not particularly high in alkalinity, but some people, including the late Dr. Pavlis himself, say that they sometimes prefer using less bicarbonate, especially with dark roasts. You can try adding half the amount of potassium bicarbonate as the standard rpavlis recipe to see if that fixes your flat taste problem.

Nothing wrong with trying a recipe with a little Epsom salt. Adding a small amount of Epsom will add hardness minerals in the form of magnesium sulfate. As long as you don't add too much it should not produce scale due to the magnesium, nor corrosivity and off-tastes due to the sulfate. If you use the WLL recipe you should be OK. Try it with half their recommended amount of Epsom, and also with no Epsom at all. Use the recipe with the least Epsom that you think tastes good.
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#3: Post by cmin »

Edit - here's my thread on it with some good input, personally I feel the water obsession is overkill today, nobody cared years ago, I didn't and pulled phenomenal shot after shot year after year. I noticed my coffee actually get worse in taste playing with recipes lol
RPavlis water bland?

I've said it before, RPavlis recipe is completely flat and bland, on my machines, on V60, even did blind with two people and both could easily tell difference between it and regular spring (much better). Even shots were also just thinner, crema weaker, and just bland. I really don't know why so many like it or the obsession? No scale means nothing if you coffee is bad. I varied the recipe all around in ratio, dark roast, med, light roast, and pour over and espresso just taste mehhh with it. Even pour over would be missing the fruit notes.

You need the epsom salt added or try a different recipe period. But if not plumbed in I don't even bother anymore making, just dump spring water in. Taste is more important to me that worrying about the minute chance of scale for years to come. Did that for so many years on machines not plumbed and 0 issue, usually just reg Publix spring water. One machine I still have for over 10 years, CC1, packed up but pull it out once in awhile or backup like when I had to get rid of pos Profitec, only ever seen spring or filtered all those years and no scale issue. Used spring in LUCCA M58 for like 2 years before plumbing, and used spring in GS3 before plumbing at last house.

For whatever reason the one machine that it was really noticeable on was slayer'd BDB, no clue why, but was a big difference using RPavlis on it, did not like it lol

I'm still perplexed, for years all I saw was everyone raving about it even reddit, yet our experience was polar opposite?

pcdawson (original poster)
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#4: Post by pcdawson (original poster) »

Thanks to you both for taking the time to reply. I'll give what Pat suggests a shot. I also thought "enough with all this water chemistry" and went with spring water for several years. I was replacing the heating element when I noticed that there was a fair amount of scale in my boiler. I think I just need to find that right balance. I love on an acreage and our well water is quite hard so making water is the best option for me.


#5: Post by cmin » replying to pcdawson »

Yeah I would never use our South FL tap water, might as well just open boilers and drop limestone and flouride in lol


#6: Post by Monsterzero »

I'm located in Livermore, CA and we have some REALLY hard water here! I purchased a TDS meter to measure solids in the water and it was amazing how dense our water is with "stuff" that wouldn't be good for you or your machine. I ended up going with bottled water service and added I think 6grams of potassium carbonate mixture per 750ml and my machine has been working flawlessly without any sediment buildup.


#7: Post by luvmy40 » replying to Monsterzero »

That seems like a lot of potassium bicarb for 750 ml. I only add 2 grams to 5 gallons of distilled water.


#8: Post by Monsterzero »

I have to check my recipe since I only do it once every couple of months. I actually will make 12 ice cubes out of the mixture and then combine it with 1 gallon of water.


#9: Post by luvmy40 » replying to Monsterzero »

Ahh, that makes sense. I've never gone the pre mixed concentrate route.


#10: Post by MSS »

So.....If you are using the Rpavlis recipe of adding 1.9 grams of potassium bicarbonate to 5 gallons of water, what measurement of epsom salt measured in grams would you add for 5 gallons? Thanks in advance