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Water Choices Effect on Steaming
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Water Choices...  
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pShoe
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Joined: 13 Nov 2012
Posts: 57
Location: Fort Lauderdale
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Oct 17, 2013, 5:38pm
Subject: Water Choices Effect on Steaming
 

Recently I changed my water from filtered tap water to Zephyrhills Drinking Water (their RO option).  I add bicarbonate sodium too to raise TDS and pH. I had to add slightly more bicarb than is instructed in this article to reach 78 ppm TDS, but I guess that is to be expect using water of different starting points. I'm just hoping as long as the final TDS is the same the pH levels will be around the same. My main reason for the switch was protecting the machine while not diminishing shot quality. Everything is great but the milk steaming.  

I was starting to get a handle of the milk steaming on my new machine, but after the water switch things have changed. The milk I use to produce was velvety and think, but now the milk is bubbly and thin. Besides the water I can't think of anything else that could have cause the sudden change. Anyone have a similar experience using post treated RO water and were there any solutions?
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Markarian
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Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 658
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Thu Oct 17, 2013, 7:24pm
Subject: Re: Water Choices Effect on Steaming
 

Steam is water vapor, and should not carry much in the additives that you put in it. What kind of machine do you have? There are many times I thought it was some external variable (brand of milk, ambient temp, etc) that threw me off, but honestly steaming milk correctly is incredibly delicate and sometimes we just have bad streaks, even with expensive machines.
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pShoe
Senior Member


Joined: 13 Nov 2012
Posts: 57
Location: Fort Lauderdale
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Oct 17, 2013, 8:00pm
Subject: Re: Water Choices Effect on Steaming
 

I have the QM Vetrano 2B. Bad streaks do happen, but it went from consistently great microfoam to consistently bad microfoam.  And it is not just bad microfoam, but unusual microfoam. The bubbles are unlike anything I've seen before. The foam dissipates quickly to the point where it is basically regular milk by the time I'm pouring it into the espresso. I know RO/distilled water will leach ions from anywhere they can and was thinking that could be causing the problem. But since the water is spiked it seems where would be no ion leaching.  I'm no chemist so those are just my uneducated guesses. I'm going to switch back to my filtered tap for a bit to see if it eliminates the issue.
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steamer
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steamer
Joined: 11 Feb 2005
Posts: 903
Location: socal
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Expobar Brewtus IV R
Grinder: Mazzer Mini-B Baratza...
Vac Pot: Krubs Moka Brew, vacPot
Drip: TechV, and many more
Roaster: Hottop
Posted Sun Oct 20, 2013, 10:18am
Subject: Re: Water Choices Effect on Steaming
 

stop using the bicarb, then see how it acts. If you want the tds to increase, add some tap water, bicarb needs to fully dissolve and then it will settle on the bottom of the boiler. it may build in concentration over time and then gum up the boiler.
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