Yet Another RO + Water Remineralization Setup Question

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

#1: Post by finer.coffee »

Hi guys,

I apologize as I know there are several threads going on the subject of RO + Remineralizing filters. I've read through as many of them as I can, and I haven't been able to find an answer.

I recently purchased a LM GS3 MP, and of course I only want to use the absolute best water in the machine. Following some advice of HB users, I bought and installed a HomeMaster Full Contact Artesian RO setup. However, I noticed that TDS and total hardness were very low (like 18ppm) even after running through the Artesian remin cartridge. So I shelled out for a BWT Bestmin system to run after the RO, and theoretically attain god-like, LM-approved water that would put bottled water to shame.

HOWEVER, I'm still seeing low TDS (around 45ppm, from what I gather, this doesn't matter) low total hardness, low alkalinity (around 40ppm) and a PH of around 6.6 based on those disposable test strips.

There's not much to tweak at all on the RO system, and the BWT Flex Head is set to the '0' bypass setting that they say is necessary with BestMin cartridges. The incoming line pressure on the BWT is set to 3 bars, if that matters.

Thanks for any advice.

D

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homeburrero
Team HB

#2: Post by homeburrero »

My opinion is that if you're consistently getting an alkalinity measure of 40 mg/L or more out of the system you should be fine. You will be below the minimum hardness recommended by the La Marzocco people, but I'd say ignore that. Their hardness recommendations are variable and tend to be too hard unless you want to periodically descale. There is a lot of opinion that you need hardness minerals for good taste, but recent extraction experiments and taste tests are not showing that to be true. Many people on this site who make their own water go with the 'rpavlis' water recipe - a zero hardness, 50 mg./L alkalinity water for use in espresso machines and find that it tastes great.

P.S.
Your water out of the homemaster full contact system is a bit lower than usually reported. That could be due to a higher than usual pH out of the RO, or a fast flow through the system. When you tested that 18 mg/L hardness, was it soon after purging some water from the system? When you tested after the addition of the bestmin, was that under the same purging conditions? Especially with the bestmin on the end of the water line, you can expect a spike in hardness when sampling water out of the system after a period of no flow.

That bestmin is frustratingly poorly specified. The datasheet was written by the marketing and not the engineering department and has no clue as to what remineralization media is in there. (it just says "an ingenious combination of natural minerals and carbon fleece". Sheesh.) But it's good that it says 'natural minerals' and is marketed toward coffee makers rather than alkaline drinking water folks.
Pat
nínádiishʼnahgo gohwééh náshdlį́į́h

finer.coffee

#3: Post by finer.coffee »

Hey Pat -- thanks for the reply. So this is interesting: I bought a digital PH meter and calibrated it, and it's showing the PH of the water generated by RO + BestMin to be around 9.3-9.5. The test strips I have don't seem to go that high, I guess.

I've tried measuring both immediately after purging and in the morning after the water hasn't been run for several hours and my results are actually not very different.

So I guess my situation is more like this:

- TDS ~ 45ppm
- Total Hardness ~40ppm
- Total Alkalinity ~ 40ppm
- PH ~9.3

This seems a bit high on the PH scale, no? I don't think it matters, but the incoming water main is at about 7.5 on the PH scale.

Really appreciate your knowledge!

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sbenyo
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#4: Post by sbenyo »

It's very frustrating to see so many people struggling to find a solution for a simple, "safe" and "tasty" waster for espresso machines and becoming chemists that invent water recipes instead of investing the time to become better baristas.

There is such a big market for espresso today that I really don't understand why there is no optimized solution yet we can just plug and use.
This whole water issue is just taking the fun out of espresso making.

Does anyone really know of any mineralization filter that can be used with RO systems and can really do the job properly and without any worries?
What are the most commonly used solutions for commercialized machines in coffee shops (that are not too expensive for home use)?

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CarefreeBuzzBuzz
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#5: Post by CarefreeBuzzBuzz » replying to sbenyo »


Your frustration is why I went with making my own water. Simple to and repeatable and consistent results once you know how. So use RO water to start and skip the remineralization. That's what is simple.
CarefreeBuzzBuzz
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razor488

#6: Post by razor488 »

I have spent more time reading about this issue than I care to admit and I am still at an impasse. I have been mixing RO water with tap water to get approximately 60 PPM but my wife (and me for that matter) do not like how the coffee is tasting compared to straight tap water. My tap water is 160PPM and is 5/5 hard with the Breville test strip.

I haven't brought myself to go down the water recipe route yet but I am tempted to just go back to straight tap water and deal with the scaling repercussions later. Like sbenyo said, I wish there was a simple solution to this problem.

finer.coffee

#7: Post by finer.coffee »

It is all so frustrating! After trying a BWT Bestmax Premium (didn't get enough hardness out of my Los Angeles water, and there's potentially chlorides in my incoming water), the HomeMaster RO Artesian system (not enough alkalinity or hardness) and now the HomeMaster RO Artesian + BestMin (astronomical PH, potential for scale and extremely unimpressive tasting coffee) I'm more frustrated than ever. I'm hitting pause on plumbing my new GS3 and comparing good ol' Crystal Geyser to TWW Espresso formulation for the next couple of weeks.

If anyone has any suggestions I'm all ears. It's such a shame to not have reliably great water that can be plumbed into my machine. I'm not sure doing a FloJet system with a big jug of TWW is the way I want to go.

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CarefreeBuzzBuzz
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#8: Post by CarefreeBuzzBuzz »

I am happy to discuss my setup and provide guiding docs to anyone interested. To me it's been easy to maintain and full control. I can discuss options for RO users.

Espresso Cart - Goodbye Plumbed In
CarefreeBuzzBuzz
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rrahman

#9: Post by rrahman »

finer.coffee wrote:Hey Pat -- thanks for the reply. So this is interesting: I bought a digital PH meter and calibrated it, and it's showing the PH of the water generated by RO + BestMin to be around 9.3-9.5. The test strips I have don't seem to go that high, I guess.

I've tried measuring both immediately after purging and in the morning after the water hasn't been run for several hours and my results are actually not very different.

So I guess my situation is more like this:

- TDS ~ 45ppm
- Total Hardness ~40ppm
- Total Alkalinity ~ 40ppm
- PH ~9.3

This seems a bit high on the PH scale, no? I don't think it matters, but the incoming water main is at about 7.5 on the PH scale.

Really appreciate your knowledge!

I have recently going through a similar struggle. I live in Austin with marginally too high chloride. After talking with several experts, I opted to stray away from Home Master Artesian. The Home Master techs I found to be polite, but overall left me unimpressed.

After consulting some of the bright minds, I opted for the OptiPure BWS 175. I am awaiting for its arrival and installation still, but I feel pretty confident in achieving an optimal water chemistry for my Linea Mini. The Optipure unit has a remineralization cartridge and a blending valve that allows alot more flexibility. I have a nearby water chemistry lab and plan to report results post RO and remin once I have the unit installed. Stay tuned...

There is a high upfront cost with the Optipure BWS175 and yearly maintenance is more costly, but based on my conversations its cheaper than it seems.

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CarefreeBuzzBuzz
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#10: Post by CarefreeBuzzBuzz »

rrahman wrote:

There is a high upfront cost with the Optipure BWS175 and yearly maintenance is more costly, but based on my conversations its cheaper than it seems.

No kidding $2000 and you still have to worry about if it works. I'll say it again, if you are worried about your water, start with RO and make it yourself.
It takes 5 min, plus maybe 30 min maintenance once a year. So depending on the tank size you have, that 5 min could be once a month or once a every three months.

RO>holding tank>what ever system you have to feed the machine. You can measure the flow from the RO to the holding tank and then adjust your chemical stocks.

You have complete control over alkalinity and hardness that way including type of mineral. AND you have repeatability and you DON'T worry about if your remineralization is working. AND the time you spent worrying will be more than the time you spend with the water recipe.

With all due respect and no offense, you might consider returning thet Optipure. You won't likely have piece of mind and you won't have any time savings. My comments are strictly feedback, not intended as right or wrong, good or bad, just some information to consider.
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