Water test for minerals

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

#1: Post by Dapuma »

I have a RO system, and I am curious what test I need to do to figure out if I need additional filters to add back in minerals to the espresso line for a machine plumb in. Am I better off letting the RO guys do a water test? If so, how long does that take to get done and how much should it cost? They initially were supposed to put in a remineralization line, however they ended up not doing that I believe. I have a "hot water maker" for tea / oatmeal etc. and that doesnt scale much, however it does a little...so it probably needs a bit of adjusting.

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homeburrero
Team HB

#2: Post by homeburrero »

For coffee, and especially for use in an espresso machine you will want to run the RO water through a remineralization filter. A simple calcite filter would be the most straightforward. It would add a small amount of calcium carbonate. Enough to buffer the carbonic acid in the RO water and help make it less corrosive to the machine, but not enough to give you scale deposits.

You can use an inexpensive conductivity 'TDS meter' to verify that the RO is performing as expected. And if you have a plain calcite remineralizer you can measure the TDS before and after the remin filter to get an estimate of the hardness and the alkalinity increase provided by your filter.
Pat
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Dapuma (original poster)

#3: Post by Dapuma (original poster) »

https://cdn.livechat-files.com/api/file ... ations.pdf

Are those still good numbers to hit?

I have the Kinetico system...so this is the filter that adds back in the minerals ??: https://www.kinetico.com/specialty-solu ... ng-filter/

They also have this: https://www.kinetico.com/specialty-solu ... ystem-srs/

However I thought they sold just an inline treatment for the specific line. I really only need it for the RO line and the ice maker line.

Grant

#4: Post by Grant »

Oops....never mind. Just noticed it is plumbed in.
Grant

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homeburrero
Team HB

#5: Post by homeburrero »

Dapuma wrote:https://cdn.livechat-files.com/api/file ... ations.pdf

Are those still good numbers to hit?
It's debatable whether you need or want those high hardness numbers. At the upper end, which would be 100 ppm total hardness and 80 ppm alkalinity you would be depositing quite a bit of scale in your steam boiler, requiring regular descaling. And many manufacturers advise against descaling unless done by a qualified service center. If you want scale free water you want to shoot for much lower total hardness and around 40 - 60 ppm alkalinity.

Also, in many areas with soft water, or with water that requires RO treatment you have no practical way of reaching those recommended hardness numbers.

Dapuma wrote:I have the Kinetico system...so this is the filter that adds back in the minerals ??: https://www.kinetico.com/specialty-solu ... ng-filter/
Do you have the K5 drinking water (RO) system? If so I think that uses a different mineralizer cartridge -- Mineral Plus cartridge. There is some feedback here on HB about that remineralizer here: Remineralizer with reverse osmosis water. I have no idea what that 'Calcite Backwashing Filter' that you linked is about. You'd have to call your Kinetico rep to find out what that one is for.
Pat
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Acavia

#6: Post by Acavia »

homeburrero wrote:Enough to buffer the carbonic acid in the RO water and help make it less corrosive to the machine, but not enough to give you scale deposits.
When mixing baking soda into distilled water for a buffer, is some of the buffer netted-out/caneled-out from carbonic acid forming as the distilled water pulls CO2 out of air? For example, if one targets for 40ppm Kh, and puts the amount of baking soda that should hit that, how much would be canceled out from carbonic acid forming after opening the distilled water? Is it enough to throw off the targeted water profile materially?

sluflyer06

#7: Post by sluflyer06 »

The problem with LM's water specs (including their calculator) is that its based on a 93C boiler temp, like hb already mentioned those #'s will scale something fierce in a steam boiler.

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homeburrero
Team HB

#8: Post by homeburrero »

Acavia wrote:For example, if one targets for 40ppm Kh, and puts the amount of baking soda that should hit that, how much would be canceled out from carbonic acid forming after opening the distilled water? Is it enough to throw off the targeted water profile materially?
No, in the case of additional CO2 and carbonic acid (CH2O3), the baking soda (NaHCO3) buffers the acidity but the alkalinity stays the same.



The reactions involved are:

CO₂ + H₂O ⇋ CH₂O₃ ⇋ H⁺ + HCO₃⁻

Adding dissolved CO₂ to the water pushes the reaction to the right, increasing acidity (H⁺) and bicarbonate (HCO₃⁻ ) in equal amounts. Having extra dissolved sodium bicarbonate (Na⁺ + HCO3⁻) in the water pushes it to the left, reducing the acidity.
Pat
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sluflyer06

#9: Post by sluflyer06 »

Just a general thought but I'm surprised there aren't machines with 2 water connections on them, would that not allow cafes and home users to be able to use much more ideal brewing water? One input for steam boiler which can feed from a very soft source, and another that you can maximize within the constraints of a much cooler boiler temp which is far more forgiving for scaling potential.

Acavia

#10: Post by Acavia »

homeburrero wrote:No, in the case of additional CO2 and carbonic acid (CH2O3), the baking soda (NaHCO3) buffers the acidity but the alkalinity stays the same.



The reactions involved are:

CO₂ + H₂O ⇋ CH₂O₃ ⇋ H⁺ + HCO₃⁻

Adding dissolved CO₂ to the water pushes the reaction to the right, increasing acidity (H⁺) and bicarbonate (HCO₃⁻ ) in equal amounts. Having extra dissolved sodium bicarbonate (Na⁺ + HCO3⁻) in the water pushes it to the left, reducing the acidity.
I figured since so many recipes call for distilled water, it would not change it but did not know. Thanks for explaining.