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What is the target PH and hardness target for use in HX machines?
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dougz
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Joined: 23 Oct 2009
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Posted Sat Apr 6, 2013, 4:12pm
Subject: What is the target PH and hardness target for use in HX machines?
 

I'd like to find this out, then see what the cheapest way I can achieve this, so I don't have to descale my machine so often..

I still don't think I understand the difference between descaling the heat exchanger and the boiler..

I thought it was as simple as putting the descaling solution in the water resevoir and flushing it through the grouphead and steam wands..
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Jmanespresso
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Jmanespresso
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Posted Sat Apr 6, 2013, 7:05pm
Subject: Re: What is the target PH and hardness target for use in HX machines?
 

Descaling IS that simple...  On single boiler machines.  This includes machines like the Rancilio Silvia, Gaggia Classic, and many others.


I have a feeling you're not fully aware how a HX machine works.  Fear not, you're in luck.  Check out this Article, for a visual and written explantion of exactly whats going on inside your HX espresso machine.

Once you read that, you'll fully understand why descaling an HX espresso machine isn't as simple as filling the tank and flushing it through.


That said, its easy enough to descale an HX, and honestly, its just part of owning the machine.  Once you do it once, it'll never intimidate you again.

Using water that is EXTREMELY soft, or completelty devoid of any minerals, like Pure RO, or Distilled water, might allow you to go for a long time between descaling(effectively never), however, the taste of your coffee will suffer so severely, that it makes no sense.  Without getting ridiculously scientific(because seriously, this is a very geeky topic, even for me, and it can get DEEP, very quick), the water you brew coffee with(using any method), needs to have minerals for the taste to be right.

Anyone who says coffee brewed with distilled or pure RO water has nothing wrong with it, is wrong, and simply has never tasted how good their coffee can be using water with mineral content.



Now, softened water is more then OK.  Pretty much everyone uses softened water.  IDEAL, WBC certified water, gives the best flavor, but scales the machine real quick.  For the competition, its worth it.  For home use, most anyone uses softer water, and descales at 6 month intervals.  1 year tops.   150-170TDS  water is what is used for WBC/SCAA level competition, and is considered to be the best water for espresso and coffee.

At home, IIRC, you want to shoot for no lower then about 30tds.  Thats about the threshold of taste/minimal scaling.   Alternatively, if you have hardness test strips, measured by grains of hardness, 3 is what Chris Coffee suggests(and again, is on the lower side, but still tastes good and allows minimal scale buildup)

As far as PH goes, idk.

 
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Coffee makes your constantly overcome your prejudices and re-evaluate your own "received wisdoms" when it comes to judging cup flavors. -Tom Owen, SweetMarias
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
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Posted Sat Apr 6, 2013, 7:19pm
Subject: Re: What is the target PH and hardness target for use in HX machines?
 

Here it is in detail.

Click Here (londiniumespresso.com)

or

Click Here (web.archive.org)


More reading.

http://www.home-barista.com/espresso-machine-cleaning.html

http://www.home-barista.com/hx-love.html

 
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Iluvdabean
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Posted Sat Apr 6, 2013, 9:28pm
Subject: Re: What is the target PH and hardness target for use in HX machines?
 

I found this at WLL about using r/o water.
Click Here (www.wholelattelove.com)

Iluvdabean: Screen Shot 2013-04-06 at 9.26.58 PM.png
(Click for larger image)
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dougz
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Posted Sat Apr 6, 2013, 10:01pm
Subject: Re: What is the target PH and hardness target for use in HX machines?
 

Great, I'll get on those, thanks!

I was concerned about the taste of demin/RO water..

I'll see if idrinkcoffee has any machine-specific procedures..
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dougz
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Location: Mackenzie, BC
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Espresso: Bezzera BZ07
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Posted Fri Apr 12, 2013, 6:04pm
Subject: Re: What is the target PH and hardness target for use in HX machines?
 

I tested my water and it is 150 ppm.  I'm told this is pretty hard, so I think I'm going to descale every 6 months at least, and use my regular water.

I also contacted my vendor, and he reccomended just getting citric acid from a U Brew, and we went through the procedure..
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
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Posted Sat Apr 13, 2013, 7:03am
Subject: Re: What is the target PH and hardness target for use in HX machines?
 

great news.

You might also want to skim (or even read) Jim Schulman's insanely long water faq  Easy to find through google, or there's a hyperlink to it in the what coffee things do you have bookmarked thread (or something like that).

and Wayne P. (calblacksmith) wrote a fantastic in depth explanation of HX machines, you can probably find it by searching his posts (though he posts often and it was a month or two ago - IIRC).  If you prefer, I have it saved in a Word file on my home PC (and I don't even own a HX machine - it's that good)...just pm me and I'll send it to you.  Actually, I can send you the water faq too, as I have that saved also.

.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
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Location: PNW
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Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Sat Apr 13, 2013, 8:01am
Subject: Re: What is the target PH and hardness target for use in HX machines?
 

I linked the FAQ and how to love the HX I did not link Wayne's.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

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Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,066
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
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Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Sat Apr 13, 2013, 8:27am
Subject: Re: What is the target PH and hardness target for use in HX machines?
 

Coffeenoobie Said:

I linked the FAQ...

Posted April 13, 2013 link

Ah, yes you did.  Had I only followed the links you provided :)

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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dougz
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Joined: 23 Oct 2009
Posts: 255
Location: Mackenzie, BC
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Bezzera BZ07
Grinder: Lelit PL53
Drip: Technivorm
Posted Sat Apr 13, 2013, 2:17pm
Subject: Re: What is the target PH and hardness target for use in HX machines?
 

Yes, I had a look at both of those, thanks!

I like the IDEA of using treated water and never having to descale, but if it affects as bad as anything scale could induce, and if there are corrosion and boiler overflow risks as well, I think the hassle of descaling every 3-4 months is not TOO much to be borne..  :)
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