Where to start with regards to water

Water analysis, treatment, and mineral recipes for optimum taste and equipment health.
Coolguy8877

#1: Post by Coolguy8877 »

I am eagerly awaiting delivery of a Lelit Bianca. I'm upgrading from a Saeco Via Venezia that I only use tap water in and descale a few times per year.

Given the investment I have made on the Bianca I want to make sure it's gets the TLC it needs to last a long time and I'm having trouble figuring out how to approach water.

After browsing the forums and resources on this site, while it is clear there is a lot of good information out there, I'm stuck in analysis paralysis and am not sure where to start. Can the group point me in the right direction?

Of note, I will not be in a position the plumb in the machine for quite some time (renting for a few more years), so I will be utilizing the reservoir. I do not know the quality/hardness of my tap water. I would prefer to use tap water (if possible), but am open to buying whatever water or treatments I may need to use while utilizing the reservoir to keep the machine in working order.
Thanks!

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CarefreeBuzzBuzz
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#2: Post by CarefreeBuzzBuzz »

Brent, Options include getting your city water report and analyzing it to see if you can use it as is or filtered. If chlorides are high, then no, you need to buy or make water. Some use Crystal Geyser (coming from certain water sources/locations). Or make water for yourself which you could plumb in or just use to supply the tank as needed.

I think making more than a gallon at time is best is you have the space.
Image

Making water yourself is easy once you know how it works and you never have to worry about your machine.

The cart system I use which you could use to plumb your machine is detailed here -
Espresso Cart - Goodbye Plumbed In

Give some feedback and I am sure you will get more direction here.
CarefreeBuzzBuzz
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jgood

#3: Post by jgood »

I have been using a mix of 2/3 of my local Crystal Geyser bottled water (Olancha source) with 1/3rd distilled. I think that someone posted the various Crystal Geyser sources and the analysis, if not I think Crystal Geyser has a website that does. The source is listed on the bottle. Then just do the math to get to the appropriate TDS. I thought it would be a temporary solution till I figured out what I wanted to do -- 2 1/2 years ago! It's an easy way to deal with the water issue.

jpreiser

#4: Post by jpreiser »

Perhaps I'm looking in the wrong places but I have not been able to locate Crystal Geyser at the Chicago suburban stores I shop. The in-home service I see is predominantly Hinkley-Springs. They also have Primo water exchange kiosks at the local hardware stores (Lowes and Home Depot) and in-store refill stations at Meijer (maybe some Jewel-Osco too). Both H-S and Primo look to be RO water with some minerals added for taste for the bottled exchange option. The in-store refill option is cheapest per gallon but one has to wonder how well the system is maintained.

I live in the far western suburbs but my municipal water is from Lake Michigan. While I have not done the calculations or an analysis (yet), I am using a 2:1 blend of carbon filtered tap water and distilled water. This gets mixed into a 5gal water bottle and pumped via FloJet and accumulator to the Vivaldi. I preferred the taste of this blend over 1:1 even knowing it might mean some scale build-up. Thankfully, I don't use the steam boiler all that often and make sure to run the hot water faucet often when I do.

The Chicago water analysis reports can be found here. The 2019 report shows the Chloride sensor out of service but the 2018 report shows a Chloride (not Chlorine) level in the 14-16ppm range. I have not read up enough on Chloride level issues but believe the lower (i.e. single digit ppm levels) the better.

I just picked up some Potassium Bicarbonate to try a batch of rpavlis water. I just don't know if longterm I want build it from distilled water or go with Primo or Hinkley-Springs RO water as the source. Distilled, of course, would ensure known mineral levels each time. I can get gallon jugs of distilled water at Menards for $0.80-$0.90 each (same price as their house brand RO). That's cheaper than bottle exchange RO but more than in-store refill RO so distilled isn't super expensive compared to the other options; I just hate all of the plastic jug waste. Perhaps it's time to consider an in-home distillation unit. :)

Plinyyounger
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#5: Post by Plinyyounger »

http://www.crystalgeyserasw.com/docs/AS ... Shasta.pdf

Here is the latest Crystal Geyser report.

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homeburrero
Team HB

#6: Post by homeburrero »

Plinyyounger wrote:Here is the latest Crystal Geyser report.
Beware that Crystal Geyser comes from one of seven different sources. That one (Mt Shasa / Weed) is nice non-scaling water but not all of them are.

jgood wrote:I think that someone posted the various Crystal Geyser sources and the analysis, if not I think Crystal Geyser has a website that does. The source is listed on the bottle.
Here's Eric Svendson's table showing all seven sources: Blonding too fast. Profitec 700. Up to date reports for all seven are on their FAQ: http://www.crystalgeyserasw.com/faq.html


Coolguy8877 wrote:I'm stuck in analysis paralysis and am not sure where to start. Can the group point me in the right direction?
I'd say the easiest and probably the best place to start and bypass the paralysis is to make "rpavlis water". You'll see tons of references and recommendations here on HB. It's simply purified water (distilled, de-ionized, or RO) spiked with 0.1 gram of potassium bicarbonate per liter of water. You can even use plain kitchen baking soda in place of the potassium bicarb. If you use this you don't need to use the LeLit in-tank softener.

This water will make fine espresso and be good to your machine - no scale and no corrosives. You can probably find local economical sources for pure water. I refill jugs of de-ionized at my grocery. ( If you refill at a grocery store kiosk, de-ionized is generally a better choice than RO, which may have minerals added or may be inefficiently filtered.)

Then you can take your time analyzing other options, and you have a few if you are on Chicago tap water.

Edit addition: Here's another very easy rpavlis water recipe for making gallon amounts using a small concentrate bottle and a scale with 0.1g resolution: 1 gallon jug of distilled water plus?
Pat
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Coolguy8877

#7: Post by Coolguy8877 »

homeburrero wrote: I'd say the easiest and probably the best place to start and bypass the paralysis is to make "rpavlis water". You'll see tons of references and recommendations here on HB. It's simply purified water (distilled, de-ionized, or RO) spiked with 0.1 gram of potassium bicarbonate per liter of water. You can even use plain kitchen baking soda in place of the potassium bicarb. If you use this you don't need to use the LeLit in-tank softener.

This water will make fine espresso and be good to your machine - no scale and no corrosives. You can probably find local economical sources for pure water. I refill jugs of de-ionized at my grocery. ( If you refill at a grocery store kiosk, de-ionized is generally a better choice than RO, which may have minerals added or may be inefficiently filtered.)

Then you can take your time analyzing other options, and you have a few if you are on Chicago tap water.
Exactly what I was looking for, thank you! I'll start with this and take some time to do my homework.

Anyone have suggestions for sourcing quality inexpensive deionized water in the Chicago area?

ragdoll serenade

#8: Post by ragdoll serenade »

Anyone have suggestions for sourcing quality inexpensive de-ionized water in the Chicago area?
I would suggest installing an RO system under your sink. I have an APEC 5 stage system that is excellent and available for about 200 bucks.

Incognito007

#9: Post by Incognito007 »

I've been going with recipes 4 and 5 lately for my pour over. I recommend reviewing this link to easily create your own water for coffee brewing.

https://www.baristahustle.com/blog/diy- ... pes-redux/

Shojin

#10: Post by Shojin »

Having tried several different water solutions for espresso over the years, the easiest option I've settled on is adding Third Wave Water Espresso minerals to one gallon bottles of distilled water. This just gives a reasonable balance of convenience, cost, and consistency.

Previously I've tried refilling five gallon containers and lugging them about, adding rpavlis recipe, or variations, and TWW to them, as well as using a Zero Water dispenser and treating that similarly. Neither method was very satisfactory: moving five gallon containers around regularly will give you some kind of back injury at some point. Believe me, I know this for a firsthand fact. You only have to lift it awkwardly one time...

Zero Water is not great: looking at the residue building up in the bottom of the dispenser over time (not much time mind; less than one filter's worth) didn't inspire me with confidence and then I don't think fully demineralised water is much good for anything other than remineralising for the machine.

Anyway, for 2-3 shots a day as well as backflushings and weekly cleanings, one gallon lasts me about two weeks or so. Not too inconvenient if the store is nearby.