deleted Senior Member Joined: 11 Jun 2014 Posts: 501 Location: Town Expertise: Just starting
Posted Tue Jun 3, 2014, 4:21pm Subject: Re: The Search for the Perfect Water Filter
Hi, There are different types of water filtration systems from on-the-tap faucet filtration systems dispensers and pitchers using carbon filters, to those using reverse osmosis technique. ------------------ WATER FILTER REVIEWS AND INFORMATION
Posted Tue Jun 3, 2014, 5:13pm Subject: Re: The Search for the Perfect Water Filter
Time for an update on my Vitev remineralizer cartridge:
After approx. 6 months, the TDS readings taken first thing in the morning had gone down to approx. 40 PPM. This was only maybe 10 to 15 PPM above my existing purified water before I added the remineralizer. It is over 1 year later, and the TDS has dropped down to close to its original level (approx. 30 PPM). So I consider this product, while superior to others I have tried, to be completely inadequate to boosting the mineral content for coffee and for helping to balance the minerals and pH of my water for better health in a cost-effective manner.
At this point, I am pretty sure that if one wants a better solution, one has to combine both a purifier and either a commercial (expensive) remineralizer system, or use a second carbon-based filter and mix that water into the purified water at some point after the holding tank.
On another thread, I mentioned that recent posts from members of this site had led me to revise the goals for my quest somewhat. I now believe that it may not be possible to have both great tasting water and water suitable for coffee. So, since I'm happy with the taste of my water as-is, and am still very pleased with the performance of the Linx Evolution system, I will pursue a different tactic to getting superior water for coffee.
But rather than repeat all the stuff I discovered in that other thread, let me just link to it here.
Posted Tue Jun 3, 2014, 5:44pm Subject: Re: The Search for the Perfect Water Filter
My summary conclusions from that other thread:
1) 150 PPM TDS is only half the story.
2) Everyone has it wrong about bottled mineral water. Most brands tend to have too much acid buffering. Crappy tasting remineralized city filtered water may be much better for coffee than luxo natural crafted artesian spring water from Fiji. The stuff nature provides makes for flat tasting coffee.
3) Just about all electrolyte supplements have way too much buffering to be any good for coffee.
I'll try to obtain Global Customized Water's handy formula pack to see if it improves the taste of my coffee.
As for my morning cramps... I'll get tested for any mineral deficiencies (magnesium is the #1 culprit) and then go from there. One thing I can say for sure is that at the time my leg cramps were at their worst, I was drinking mostly Zero Water 0 PPM purified water. Even my home system keeps at least 25 PPM minerals in the mix.
Posted Wed Jul 2, 2014, 11:18pm Subject: Global Customized Water
...and we're back.
If you're just now seeing this thread for the first time, please be sure to review the interesting discussion (that took place in yet another thread) about TDS and acid buffering, not to mention why bottled mineral water isn't necessarily great for coffee:
Now to continue the discussion about Global Customized Water...
A week or so ago, I received my AB Formula kit from Global Customized Water. It has taken me this long to get around to procuring the right equipment for mixing up the water and conveniently dispensing it when it's time to brew coffee.
Trivial minutiae (shaggy dog story) follows... you have been warned.
The kit has 5 pre-measured portions of solution in squeeze tubes, each of which you're supposed to mix with a gallon of RO or distilled water. The solution is in liquid form, so it mixes readily, turning your water slightly cloudy at first, then clearing a bit over time.
I decided I didn't want to store a full gallon of water, so instead I would prepare a double strength solution using just two quarts of water. I found a 2 quart glass measuring cup, a 1 liter glass bottle and a hermetically sealed tall narrow 1 liter glass storage container, a bartender style pour spout for the bottle, and a plastic funnel to use to fill the bottle.
But when I tried to pour water from the 2 quart measuring cup, it sheeted all around the rim, going everywhere but in the funnel. So I returned the measuring cup, which turned out to be intended for mixing and pouring batter, and replaced it with the next largest size glass measuring cup I could find that was easy to measure and poured water neatly. That turned out to be a 3 cup vessel that was tall and had straight sides (the 4 cup Pyrex ones kind of suck for measuring).
The next thing I tried was the simple task of pouring the water into the bottle using the plastic funnel. Funny thing that, you'd think this kind of rehearsal to be completely unnecessary. Guess again. The water immediately leaked out around the sides of the funnel, which was this fancy two piece screw-together affair. So I next tried another plastic funnel we had on hand, and you would think that surely nothing could go wrong with a simple one piece funnel. Keep guessing. This time, the water poured into the bottle for a few seconds and then spouted out over the top of the funnel and all over the kitchen floor. Turns out the plastic tube made a perfect air seal, preventing the air in the bottle from exiting. So I returned the fancy two piece funnel I had bought, picked up a large stainless steel funnel that fit loosely but deeply in the narrow bottle neck and problem solved.
So now I have my (almost) ideal solution. I mix the formula with 3 cups of water, pour exactly half into each of the 1 liter vessels, measure another 3 cups of water and again pour half into each vessel, and finally add the last two cups of water, yielding exactly two quarts of double concentrate solution. One vessel goes into the cabinet, while the other gets the bartender's pour spout and sits by my coffee maker. Now, whenever I brew the next round of 12 ounces on my (single serve) Bunn Trifecta MB, I just add 6 ounces from the filtered water tap (20-25ppm TDS), and 6 ounces from the bottle into the measured reservoir. Easy peasy.
I will take a reading from my El Cheapo TDS meter to see if this procedure comes close to 150 ppm. And, of course, I'll report back on how this makes my coffee taste. But first, I'll need to restock on some fresh coffee--my current batch is pretty stale. Please stay tuned.
It has taken me some time to get a sense of how the Global Customized Water formula changes the flavor of my coffee, as brewed on a Trifecta MB. The biggest problem is that I am unable to do an easy A/B comparison, due to the fact that the Trifecta only takes in 12 oz. of water at a time but uses a 24 oz. boiler. In order to change-out from one type of water to another, you would need at least 3 complete cycles just to get to a 7/8 replacement of the boiler contents.
It also frustrates me that I have no consistent standby coffee with which to do a comparison. I wanted to try one of my local roaster's newer offerings, but the acidity was way over the top using my filtered water (25ppm TDS). Still, I did try to do an A/B comparison over a two day period, but I soon found the coffee to be too much of a moving target. So then I ordered Velton's Bonsai Blend, since I was familiar with its taste. And, although the result indicated a shift in flavor since last time I tried it, I finally have some sense about this water. Maybe.
Here is what I've observed:
Portola Coffee Lab's Agua Limpa ----------------------------------------------------------- Portola has two levels of roast they use for this S.O.--the darker one is used exclusively for their espresso machine, while the lighter roast is what they use for pour-over or sell in 12 ounce bags. I found the lighter roast on my original filtered water to taste remarkably like tropical punch (and not in a good way) with practically no roasty flavor present. I greatly preferred the darker roast, which produced a much better balanced cup, the roasty bits nicely complementing the bright flavors. Also, the tropical fruit flavor was closer to plum, and transitioned to rose petals over the next few days. The roasty goodness also seemed to diminish quite rapidly over time. Now, one thing that really took me by surprise is how both roasts behaved when cooled in the refrigerator. They both turned sour! I've never had that happen to my coffee before, but perhaps someone on this site can offer some explanation. I think the sourness occurs when I let the coffee cool to room temp. I also observed that after about 2 weeks, both of these roasts seemed to turn up the acidity so it dominated everything from that point on. Again, this is just too strange in my experience and has me baffled.
So how did the formula water affect this? I only had the chance to try it on 2-3 week old last bits of both lighter and darker roast beans. What I experienced was a kind of renewal and rebalancing of flavors in the darker roast and a major increase in acidity in the lighter roast. I will be picking up some more of the darker roast soon, so I hope to learn more about this water then.
Addendum: I just found my tasting notes from that time with the darker roast. I think I didn't do it justice here, so here is a direct quote from me at the time of tasting: "... I experience mouth puckering sweet, complex fruitiness like I have never gotten from my Trifecta previously. The pucker effect was from the acidity, but it wasn't a sour taste, it was like the wonderful juiciness you get when you bite into a perfectly ripe fruit."
Portola Coffee Lab's Konga ------------------------------ I only tried the formula water on this coffee, and have no idea how it would have performed using my original filtered water. But the result was very pronounced strawberry, with some honey and perhaps molasses and earthiness. That was at day 5 after roast. Then over the next few days, chocolate made a big entrance and it's been the perfect cup, always fruity and chocolatey and spicey. Over a week after that and the flavor is still at the max. However, like the Agua Limpa, if this coffee is allowed to cool to room temp., it will turn sour. Since I add sugar and cream, that tends not to be a problem.
Velton's Bonsai Blend ------------------------ I only tried the formula water on this coffee, and relied on memory of how it tasted many times in the past on my Trifecta. The summation of that past experience is: somewhat dull and a bit grassy during the first week, finally opening up to yield chocolate, nuttiness, and toward the 10th day, some fruitiness to add that last bit of complexity. So I waited until day 7 after roast to try this coffee. I got vivid cherry and some chocolate and, unfortunately, some muted grassiness. Sometimes cherry tastes like a pie--in effect, stewed cherries. The tartness and deep fruity notes are a welcome addition to the roasty flavors. But this was the other kind of cherry. It tasted more like a cough drop. I credit the formula water for making it so vivid, but it wasn't until the next few days that the grassiness disappeared and a bigger chocolatey/nutty presence made itself welcome. The cherry was also better integrated--good balance, complexity, the perfect cup. Definitely never dull at any time, unlike earlier samples I have tried.
Bottom Line -------------- The big take-away is that every cup I've had so far using this new water has been vivid--always very fruity and a more complex fruitiness. Not so sure if the roasty flavors are being accentuated at all. Prior to using GC Water formula, I can recall many times in past samplings, typically early on after roast, when I had experienced a slightly dull disappointment, and had to wait a few more days, hoping that more flavor developed. And while it's clear that my local roaster has found some coffees that are over the top, acidity-wise, my experience with almost everything else using my normal filtered water had been much more muted. GC Water has changed my expectations. But time will tell if this is really the water talking.
Posted Mon Jul 28, 2014, 4:11pm Subject: Formula water residue
I've been using the Global Customized Water formula now for 3 weeks, and I'm seeing a thick powdery residue accumulate at the bottom of my glass water containers. The residue requires scrubbing with soapy water and a stiff bottle brush, and is difficult to remove. This doesn't bode well for maintaining one's espresso machines or coffee brewers. Of course, since I am storing the water at twice concentration, it also could mean I need to try storing it fully diluted to see what effect that has.
Sigh. Nothing is easy.
*** Addendum 2-25-2015: That was the answer--a one-to-one solution fixes the problem.
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