Acqua

Water

Water is the basic, essential ingredient for any beverage. The composition and the taste of a drink will vary with the quality of the water used for its preparation. Compositions of minerals, additives, and cleanliness differ hugely from location to location.

The content of minerals like calcium and magnesium is measured in degrees of hardness – from soft to hard.  Fresh water’s hardness typically ranges from 15 to 375ppm (parts per million).  Soft water has less than 60ppm and hard water starts at over 120ppm. It is not uncommon to find over 250ppm hardness in water supplied for household use. Your water supplier surveys the contents and quality of the water regularly. You can contact them if you need to find out the hardness and other qualities of your household water.

Use

For the preparation of coffee clean water with a moderate amount of minerals is ideal. Impurities such as rust and additives like chlorine are undesirable. Minerals on the other hand have a noticeable effect on taste and are desired in certain amounts.

The mineral composition of the water also has an effect on the Coffee Machine. The use of hard water will result in scale on parts that are exposed to water. To maintain good working equipment, the hardness needs to be controlled and the Coffee Machines need to be periodically cleaned. Neglected equipment can fail and break (particularly the heating element).

Filtration

To achieve the desired taste and or nutritional value of a beverage the various qualities of water are often manipulated. Differences in water quality have a noticeable effect on the taste of coffee and the performance of the Coffee Machine. Good tasting coffee requires clean water that is free of chlorine and has a consistent amount of minerals. The Coffee Machines are sensitive to scale and therefore a low degree of water hardness is desired.

Impurities, undesired additives, and hardness have to be filtered out of the water before it enters the Coffee Machine. The hardness of the water needs to be controlled at a desired level. This is achieved by either first reducing the hardness and then adding desired amounts of water with minerals or by allowing some of the water to bypass the part of the filtration that takes out the hardness.

Three main filtration systems are available: Carbon Filters are most commonly used.  They are effective in absorbing impurities and contaminants, including the often added chlorine in tap water. Carbon filters can not reduce the hardness of water. An additional filter is required. Two hardness-reducing systems are commonly used: Reverse Osmosis and Ion-Exchange. Reverse Osmosis permanently reduces the contents of minerals and is therefore the most effective filtration system for hardness. These systems are expensive and are mostly installed in commercial applications.  Ion-Exchange also is an effective system. It converts calcium and magnesium to harmless potassium and sodium ions. However, this exchange reverses when water stands and/or gets heated for extended times.

With the proper care of your Coffee Machine, a combination of Carbon Filter with Ion-Exchange Filter that features a controllable by-pass option will be effective in purifying the water and reducing the mineral content to a desired amount. Such combinations are available for various volumes, are widely used in commercial applications, and can be installed in private households at a reasonable cost.  We recommend this set-up with the installation of any Classic Italian Coffee Machine.

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