Water Considerations

Water Considerations
Category: Maintenance and Care
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Comments: 2 [Read/Post]

Learn about what type of water to use.

A Word About Water
One has to decide between:
• Taste of Coffee and
• Maintenance Requirements of the Equipment.
Hard water (rich in minerals, such as spring water) will generally produce a better tasting coffee than soft water such as water treated by RO systems or the use of distilled water. It is the minerals in water that will bring out the aroma of coffee.
On the other hand, hard water will cause scale build up inside the equipment such as on pumps, boilers and valves. This will raise long term maintenance costs. Frequent descaling procedures will be required and sometimes components even have to be exchanged.
Generally, manufacturers suggest a water hardness of 3gpg.
Some coffee shops even use spring water (very hard water and rich in minerals) and put the equipment frequently through a maintenance schedule to remove scale build up.
Also be aware that most commercial machines and some home use machines have a "level probe" that maintains water levels inside the boiler. They depend on the water being an electrical conductor. Water that has been treated by RO systems (or the use of distilled water) does not conduct electricity. This will cause the equipment to malfunction. Some manufactures offer a "RO-Kit" which is basically a floater instead of a level probe.
95% of espresso and coffee machines are returned to us for repair because of scale build up and the fact that the machine has never been descaled. Do not use vinegar to descale espresso and coffee machines. Use a descaling agent as suggested by the manufacturers.
How do I measure Water Hardness? This can be done with test strips or a TDS-Meter (many machines come with a test strip).

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Comments on Water Considerations

Espresso Planet 27/08/2012 23:22
Sabrina: all we can say is "yikes". No one recommends vinegar for descaling an espresso machine. One main reason is the smell and taste are hard to get out - who wants to drink vinegar-flavoured espresso? We assume the Barista Express must not have any parts that will react badly to vinegar but it is still not an ideal descaler and we hope no one will put vinegar into a real (higher-quality) espresso machine.
sabrina 25/08/2012 04:48
Breville itself recommends white vinegar/water solutions for descaling their Barista Express machines.

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