Well water with my new espresso machine

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

#1: Post by Yukon Espresso » Nov 08, 2019, 11:18 pm

Hi
We just received our new Gaggia Pro... After watching a few Youtubes, my well water will be a problem. While I figure out a permanent solution. I was thinking of cut my well water with distilled water to get us going. We currently run it through a Berkey filter which takes out some of the solids (free non-ionic particles)
Current well water specs
Alkalinity 214mg/l
Hardness 286mg/l
TDS 362mg/l
Iron 0.272mg/l
pH 8.28

Does my thought process make sense? (attached photo) 175ml of well water with 825ml of distilled water
Image
Thanks for your help!!
Etienne

Ciaran

#2: Post by Ciaran » Nov 10, 2019, 2:06 pm

Hi Etienne - It is totally acceptable to blend your tap water will distilled water.

Nunas
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#3: Post by Nunas » Nov 10, 2019, 2:24 pm

You don't say anything about the taste of your well water. If it is nice, then your plan is perfectly feasible. If not, then you might consider using distilled water or RO water with added minerals. If you do a search on this site you'll fine lots of information on water recipes, some complex and some extremely simple.

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homeburrero
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#4: Post by homeburrero » Nov 10, 2019, 2:41 pm

Ciaran wrote:It is totally acceptable to blend your tap water will distilled water.
Yes, and it's also appropriate to estimate the effect of dilution on hardness and alkalinity, iron, TDS the way that you did. You can't do that for pH but if you get the alkalinity right your pH should be unimportant.

There are situations where blending tap with distilled may not be a good idea. If you have high chloride ion in relation to alkalinity, for example, you might end up with dangerously corrosive water. Not at all likely to be an issue with water with numbers like yours. (Areas where wells are affected by seawater incursion or a lot of wintertime road salt might be high in chloride, and if the water doesn't need much dilution to hit the alkalinity target, that may become an issue.) The same idea would apply to wells that are very high in silica, except that would be sort of a scaling issue rather than corrosion. High silica is not common unless your water comes from volcanic sources.
Pat
nínádiishʼnahgo gohwééh náshdlį́į́h

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homeburrero
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#5: Post by homeburrero » Nov 10, 2019, 2:57 pm

Also, this might be a good place to mention the nifty spreadsheet that Dr Marco Wellinger shared with us a while back: Mixing three waters.

You can plug in the numbers for three waters, and your hardness and alkalinity targets to come up with mix recipes.
Pat
nínádiishʼnahgo gohwééh náshdlį́į́h

Yukon Espresso

#6: Post by Yukon Espresso » Nov 14, 2019, 8:48 am

Thanks for the replies. Luckily our water tastes great even pre-Berkey filtered at room temperature. I'll check the spreadsheet. We just received our grinder so let the fun begin!!

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EvergreenBuzzBuzz

#7: Post by EvergreenBuzzBuzz » Nov 14, 2019, 8:51 am

What about chlorides?
CarefreeBuzzBuzz
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Peppersass
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#8: Post by Peppersass » Nov 14, 2019, 2:04 pm

I think you'll be happier with Option 1 because the hardness and alkalinity are low enough to prevent scaling but high enough for decent extraction.

FWIW, our well water is in the 200 ppm range for hardness, 150 ppm range for alkalinity and 150 ppm range for TDS. My machine is plumbed in, so I use a professional cation softener that removes 100% of the hardness but leaves the alkalinity and other mineral content as-is. Salt is substituted, but there's no salty flavor. There's enough remaining mineral content that there are no problems getting good espresso extractions.

One complication we have here in the Northeastern US is the effect of acid rain on well water. It reacts with the plentiful limestone in our ground to produce carbonic acid, which then becomes dissolved CO2 in the water. When hardness and alkalinity are reduced, say by a system like Claris Everpure, the water will show a low (acidic) pH. It's not clear that this is a problem because the CO2 comes out of solution when the water is heated.

ballison78

#9: Post by ballison78 » Nov 17, 2019, 10:24 am

We have well water at our lake home with very high iron content. A few years ago we installed a really good RO system. Despite what I have read, it seems to be working perfectly well for espresso. The good systems leave some minerals in for taste.