laythss Senior Member Joined: 19 Feb 2005 Posts: 48 Location: California Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: La Cimbali M23 Grinder: La Cimbali junior
Posted Sun Nov 4, 2012, 1:05am Subject: Distilled water, good or bad for machine?
So here is a simple question that came up after a discussion with one of the baristas at Intelligentsia Pasadena, CA. He said in a class he was teaching (they give 1 or 2 hour "classes" every week) that you should not use distilled water, because it would make the espresso taste bitter, but he also said, that distilled water will cause the commercial machine life to be reduced, it is bad for the machine. He suggests 140 ppm water.
Ok i am no engineer, but i have a feeling there is something wrong with that statement. If i am not considering the taste of an espresso, distilled or RO water should give more life out of the machine, since it wont cause all the calcification in the boiler, that causes them to fail.
What is your take on that? am I missing something here?
NobbyR Senior Member Joined: 10 Jul 2011 Posts: 1,991 Location: Germany Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo Vac Pot: N/A Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe Roaster: N/A
Posted Sun Nov 4, 2012, 2:17am Subject: Re: Distilled water, good or bad for machine?
IMHO distilled water, not containing any minerals and having a pH-value of 7, won't hurt the machine, because there's nothing aggressive about it and like you said it won't cause any scale. But I'm neither an engineer nor a chemist or physicist. So maybe I'm missing something, too.
*** "This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
diggi Senior Member Joined: 28 Nov 2011 Posts: 383 Location: Halifax, NS Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Spaz vivaldi S1 V2 Grinder: B Vario, OE LIDO Drip: Chemex, Espro Press,... Roaster: Poppery I
Posted Sun Nov 4, 2012, 5:11am Subject: Re: Distilled water, good or bad for machine?
Going out on a limb here, but I think I'd trust the dogma here; stay away from ultra-pure forms of water.
I'm not an expert in this field but I do know that water doesn't like to exist in its pure form. It is a great solvent. Deionized water, for instance, is devoid of trace elements normally found in water and scavenges them from the environment; in this case, your espresso machine. It will pull Co2 from the environment to make it slightly acidic, and minerals from the welds in your machine. Distilled water is the same, but on a smaller scale (I think). Does this theoretical risk translate to observed damage in real-world applications.....don't know, but wouldn't be surprised if it does.
Don't know this to be true necessarily, but seems to make sense. I'd just follow the herd here and either mix some tap water to RO or distilled water if that is your preference.
Posted Sun Nov 4, 2012, 7:09am Subject: Re: Distilled water, good or bad for machine?
In reverse osmosis systems they warn not to use copper tubing to plumb an ice maker because the water will leach copper and can eventually cause a leak. Both being devoid of minerals (RO and distilled)I would assume that the same effect can be suffered.
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