San Francisco water options / Larq pitcher - Page 3

Water analysis, treatment, and mineral recipes for optimum taste and equipment health.
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Paris92 (original poster)
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#21: Post by Paris92 (original poster) »

Paris92 wrote:So, I can not seem to shake producing bitter espresso, no matter what I try. 90% of the time my shots are bitter. I thought the only variable that I have not tinkered with over time is the water.

I use a LARQ filter pitcher with San Francisco tap water. Today, my Oscar pouch is four months old (changed it out for a new pouch today after I did the water testing.)

Using a new TDS meter, this is what I found out today, taking four (4) readings each over a ten minute time period.

Water from kitchen sink faucet: 101 ppm (consistent all four times)

Water poured from LARQ pitcher: 89-96 ppm during different readings

Water taken from ECM water tank reservoir (with Oscar pouch): 89 ppm (consistent)

Water from brew boiler (out of the brew group): 179 ppm down to 89 ppm as water cooled off

Water from steam boiler (out of the hot water wand)*: 350 ppm down to 249 ppm as the water cooled off

* I purge a cup of water out of the steam boiler via the hot water wand once a week, but held off doing that this week for this test.

I also checked the hardness of the water using paper test strips.

- From kitchen faucet: Soft. Between 0-50 ppm (between green and brown on the strip)

- From the LARQ pitcher: Soft. Between 0-50 ppm (between green and brown on the strip)

Is the fact that the ppm changed as the water cooled a sign of anything? Normal? Or is it the sign of a bad TDS meter?

Best way to interpret these findings?
Interesting opinion from a local friend recently was that I really don't need to do anything here in the Bay Area because the water is so good; and that I might actually be making the good-tasting water here less so by filtering and using the pouch in the reservoir. He suggested that I do nothing but use the regular tap water.

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#22: Post by homeburrero replying to Paris92 »

I think that's fairly standard advice for San Francisco water, although almost everyone agrees that a particulates plus chlorine/chloramine filter is a good idea. SF uses chloramine to disinfect, which is more difficult than chlorine to remove so you may want a filter that is optimized for chloramine.

The Oscar pouch is an optional way of making your water less likely to deposit scale, even if you experience periods where the water utility switches to or blends other water sources that are harder than that really nice Hetch Hetchy source. If you are concerned that a reduced hardness might be affecting the taste then I'd say no problem if you want to skip the pouch softener and keep an eye out over the long run for scale. SFPUC water should not scale much if at all.
nínádiishʼnahgo gohwééh náshdlį́į́h

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Paris92 (original poster)
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#23: Post by Paris92 (original poster) replying to homeburrero »

Thank you for your advice and response Pat. Much appreciated, as always.

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#24: Post by Jeff »

With SFPUC water, I get a light haze in my kettle that I take care of with vinegar one or twice a year. With an E61HX running every day for a few hours, I think I descaled two times in 10+ years. I descaled then as I was doing a rebuild of the group, not because the level of the scale present was excessive.