Water quality?

Water analysis, treatment, and mineral recipes for optimum taste and equipment health.
KEVIN204

Postby KEVIN204 » Mar 29, 2016, 11:47 pm

I recently picked up an old andreja premium and its been sitting on the counter while my grinder is in shipping and Im wondering what I should do about my water quality. Im just using a brita with my tap water and there is minimal scale built up on the bottom of the kettle in the 5/6 months that Ive had it. I gave a quick look through the long water faq and have ordered the gh/kh kit which should come at the end of this week. I wanted to purchase the CC water filter/softener kit and am wondering if there is anything similar to that in Canada before I do test my water and purchase the kit from CC. Thanks :D

User avatar
homeburrero
Team HB

Postby homeburrero » Mar 31, 2016, 2:20 am

KEVIN204 wrote:I gave a quick look through the long water faq and have ordered the gh/kh kit which should come at the end of this week.

You're on the right track. I wouldn't plan on any filtration purchases until you know your hardness (GH) and alkalinity (KH) and have looked at those values using the FAQ.

If you are using Winnipeg municipal water you can get numbers from their water report, which look fine for simple charcoal filtration as well as for Brita filtration.

Note: There may be reason to worry about corrosivity of water treated by WAC exchange resins (as used in many jug filters like Brita, Pur, and BWT.) But if the chloride content is low, and the alkalinity is reasonably high, as it is in the Winnipeg water report, there should be little reason for concern about that. Lots of info on WAC softening resins and possible corrosion has been discussed here Warning: Chloride & sulfate levels with weak acid cation softeners (e.g., Everpure Claris) .
Pat
nínádiishʼnahgo gohwééh náshdlį́į́h

User avatar
rpavlis

Postby rpavlis » Mar 31, 2016, 9:43 am

Winnipeg water, from the report, is amazingly less contaminated than water here, 12 degrees of latitude nearly directly to the south. Our water is sometimes so contaminated with calcium that one needs to descale pots and pans used for cooking vegetables. You might not have problems using Winnipeg water directly, though you should keep close watch on things. Remember though that chloride in water can do nasty things unless the water be fairly alkaline, and under some conditions alkalinity does not help enough. So called bronze disease (remember brass is zinc bronze) can destroy things relatively quickly. Cuprous chloride is insoluble, as are some other copper compounds. They get into pores in the metal and a catalytic reaction similar to iron rusting will occur. Pits form in the metal where the catalytic compounds "hide". This can also occur with pure copper in addition to its alloys. Some machines are more susceptable to bad water than others.

wkmok1

Postby wkmok1 » Mar 31, 2016, 11:55 am

Prof Pavlis,

Does letting water rest for 24 hours in a jar help with the chloride problem? Thanks.
Winston

Bill33525

Postby Bill33525 » replying to wkmok1 » Mar 31, 2016, 12:30 pm


wkmok1

Postby wkmok1 » Mar 31, 2016, 1:59 pm

Thanks
Winston

User avatar
homeburrero
Team HB

Postby homeburrero » Mar 31, 2016, 2:12 pm

Bill, Winston:

It's important to distinguish chloride from chlorine (and chloramine.)

Chlorine in the context of water components refers to chlorine and chloramine compounds that are commonly added to tap water as a disinfectant, and fortunately are easily removed by carbon filtration. Chlorine as Cl2 gas will dissipate if water is left standing or boiled. The water report would typically list it as free chlorine and total chlorine (total chlorine includes the chlorine associated with chloramines), and their values should be kept near zero (below 0.1 ppm) in your brewing water.

Choride refers to the Cl- ion associated with sodium chloride (table salt) calcium chloride (pickle crisp) etc. It is difficult to filter, so if you are unlucky and have have high levels of it in your tap water you may want to consider using an RO system, a distiller, bottled water, or Zero Water to reduce or eliminate it. What constitutes high levels depends on other factors, as Professor Pavlis pointed out above. La Marzocco, for example, recommends that it be less than 30 mg/L and that recommendation assumes that you also have a favorable hardness and alkalinity.

Some areas have chloride in the tap water in excess of 100 mg/L. Cambridge MA, for example runs over 150 ppm. Other areas may have seasonal spikes of chloride in the water due to runoff from winter use of salt on the roads.
Pat
nínádiishʼnahgo gohwééh náshdlį́į́h

User avatar
rpavlis

Postby rpavlis » Mar 31, 2016, 2:52 pm

Oxygen can react with copper, but not with water. Copper oxides are insoluble in water, and in neutral or basic water this layer of oxides protects the copper underneath from atmospheric oxygen. The oxide layer dissolves in acids. That is why acidic water is bad for coffee equipment (and other things!) Chloride forms complexes with copper and many other metals. These complexes catalyse oxidation of copper by oxygen. One should frequently check copper and brass parts in espresso machines that are in contact with water to be sure they do not start to become pitted!

One thing one can do is use distilled or pure reverse osmosis water. It has only ions from self ionisation of water, and from ions that form from atmospheric carbon dioxide that forms some carbonic acid when it dissolves. This tends to produce sour coffee, especially with lightly roasted beans. It also influences a bit how acidic and alkaline components in the beans extract, and whether these components are in their neutral or ionised states. Many of the acidic compounds in coffee beans are driven out of them when they are roasted to near cremation.

One can take distilled or pure reverse osmosis water and deliberately add things to it in a very controlled manner. The thing one really wants in water other than water is bicarbonate ion to keep it a bit alkaline. There are massive concentrations of potassium in coffee beans, about 50% of coffee ash, about 2% of the dry weight of coffee beans! Thus one can add potassium bicarbonate to water and thus not add alien things to the mix. The potassium in added potassium bicarbonate is truly negligible relative to the huge concentration of potassium in the beans. The great thing about doing this is that one can have complete control over the water. Hard water keeps precipitating calcium carbonate, so its bicarbonate and carbonate concentrations constantly change. With potassium for the bicarbonate counterion, the bicarbonate does not change during the brew. It really does not make sense to me to add calcium or Mg because there is so much of them already in the beans, though not as much as potassium. In my area of ridiculously polluted tap water I simply buy jugs of distilled water from the grocery stores and add potassium bicarbonate to it like brewers do to their beer and wine. With medium light roast I would recommend 100mg/litre. If roasted into the second crack I would recommend less, perhaps 50mg/litre or less. The thing is one can adjust to taste. You can adjust amount up and down. No scale will ever form. Some people add other things, but it certainly never makes sense to add chlorides! (This is not a solution for "plumbed in" systems.)

Unrooted

Postby Unrooted » Mar 31, 2016, 8:52 pm

To me my local water seems decent, but what would you recommend as far as home treatment?

http://www.cityofbishop.com/wp-content/ ... ce2014.pdf

User avatar
rpavlis

Postby rpavlis » Apr 01, 2016, 10:20 am

The Bishop analysis is dramatically less chloride than many places, and the hardness is low too. I suspect the best thing to do is use it directly from the tap and watch carefully that brass things do not show evidence of corrosion, and that no massive scale form.