finnisher Senior Member Joined: 6 Apr 2011 Posts: 4 Location: Helsinki Expertise: I live coffee
Posted Fri Apr 26, 2013, 12:32am Subject: Water spoiling in the boiler?
My question is going to require a bit of a background story, please bear with me as I don't know how else to explain what I'm facing. :)
I'm running a Rocket Espresso Cellini Evoluzione which I plumbed in about half a year ago. At that time, I also installed a water filter and chose one that had both a carbon filter and an ion exchanger so it also decreases the hardness of the water by removing limescale.
I set up the machine and the pressure to suit the new water intake and everything ran smoothly for a couple of months. Then I started noticing that something was off in my espresso. The body was thin and shots tasted very bitter or had a lemon peel taste to them. I then started researching and found out that water that is too soft can cause symptoms like this. This seemed like a probable cause as where I live the water is very soft and I was making it even softer with the filter.
So I decided to replace the filter with one that only had a carbon filter and didn't affect the hardness of water. I changed the filter and flushed the machine to replace the old water with new. Then I pulled a shot and IT WAS AMAZING. It was the best shot that I had pulled from my machine as far as I could remember. Full-bodied and incredibly soft and smooth. I thought I had solved the problem and left it as it was.
However, the next day when I was expecting for another godshot, I was deeply disappointed. The lemon peel taste and thin body were back. I was astounded and couldn't explain what was going on. The day before it was amazing and now it was crap. I started analyzing the problem and quickly ruled out the coffee, grinder and the machine itself. The only culprits I could identify were the filter or just the water in general.
So, I changed the plumbing setup so that I could flush the filter without the water running first through the machine. This was to ensure that I'm only running the freshest water into my machine. I did this and again flushed the entire machine and then pulled a shot. The godshot was back! I ruled that the filter was the culprit and that I just had to flush it each time before pulling a shot.
A day had passed when I pulled my next shot. I flushed the filter to ensure it was using the freshest water. Grind, tamp, pull. DISAPPOINTMENT AGAIN! Thin, lemon peel... I felt hopeless as I thought I had fixed everything I could. Then it hit me. Could the water in the boiler actually spoil as it stands in there? I again ran fresh water through my machine and the taste improved considerably.
So, finally to the question. Have you noticed that after having your machine stand for a day and then pulling a shot the taste is off? I use a timer to turn my machine on an hour before I wake up in the mornings so often times my machine can just stand for hours on without being used. I think this might exaggerate the problem. Should I have my boiler checked that it is not contaminated? What could be ruining the water in my boiler?
Sorry for the long story but thanks in advance for any help!
DavecUK Senior Member Joined: 21 Sep 2005 Posts: 1,471 Location: UK Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Fri Apr 26, 2013, 2:38am Subject: Re: Water spoiling in the boiler?
Well there is a simple test you seem to have omitted.
Pull water from the group, take different batches and times, in other words do what you are doing with coffee, but with water. Then taste it, 1st when it's hot, warm, cold. Post your results, because it will be interesting to know what the water tastes like when it's producing those "sour" shots..
You also provide lots of narrative, but there is a lot of "information" missing that could be contributing to the problem. e.g. flushing routine, shot routine etc..because it's quite interesting when you say left standing and I'd love to know what your grouphead thermometer says when it's been left for a day BEFORE you flush, as opposed to after a flush and left for a few minutes. Also is there ever a delay in water coming out of the group and you lifting the lever after the machine sounds.
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