Our Valued Sponsor
OpinionsConsumer ReviewsGuides and How TosCoffeeGeek ReviewsResourcesForums
Espresso: Questions and Answers
water hardness measuring - adding minerals to RO
Find the Right Machine...
Package deals on the best machines from Izzo, Quick Mill, Rocket, La Marzocco & more.
www.clivecoffee.com
 
Not Logged in: Log In to Postlog in
New Topics updated topics   New Posts new posts   Unanswered Posts new unanswered  
Search Discussion Board search   Discussion Board FAQ faq   Signup sign up  
Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > water hardness...  
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
Author Messages
AndyPanda
Senior Member
AndyPanda
Joined: 12 Jul 2010
Posts: 769
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Olympia Cremina, Various...
Grinder: Mazzer Major, Fiorenzato,...
Vac Pot: vintage Corey
Drip: AeroPress
Roaster: BreadMachine/HeatGun
Posted Sat Sep 18, 2010, 11:31am
Subject: water hardness measuring - adding minerals to RO
 

Not sure if this is the right place to post this - I searched many, many old threads about water first.

So ... I know I can buy test strips locally (PetSmart for aquariums - or spa stores) - I read about TDM meters but could only find them online.

That got me thinking - a TDM meter works (I read somewhere) by measuring the electrical conductance of the water.   Hmmm ... I have a good multimeter.  So I experimented using the ohmmeter set to 20M range.  Put the probes in an empty cup (in a way that I could repeat their distance and position) and added tap water (reads about .5 MegOhm) - my RO water reads about 2.5 MegOhm. (My RO membrane is very old so I'm not sure how well it still works - but it obviously has less minerals than tap water) I don't really know what this means in terms of any specific hardness value - but it is clear that my tap water conducts more electricity than my RO water.  And if I add a pinch of soda - you can clearly see the electrical impedance drop.  So at the very least, I could use this method to tell when I've added enough (of whatever mineral I end up adding) to get the RO water closer to tap water hardness.   I'm gonna go get some test strips and use them to learn what my meter readings correspond to.  Anyone else ever try this?  Or is a TDM meter the way to go? Or stick with strips?  (or just use tap water and forget about it? hehe)

Anyway --- I was very surprised to discover that my espresso tastes better when I use plain old tap water than when I use RO.  But now I've been searching and reading all the old posts I see that this is common knowledge among the serious coffeegeeks.

So ... I'm on a new quest to see what I can learn about getting just the right water balance.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
JasonCoffee
Senior Member
JasonCoffee
Joined: 17 Mar 2009
Posts: 15
Location: Kansas City
Expertise: Professional

Posted Mon Sep 20, 2010, 5:38pm
Subject: Re: water hardness measuring - adding minerals to RO
 

So do you think the waters ability to conduct more electricity makes for a better cup of coffee? Interesting in regards to the tap water tasting better, I always noticed the complete opposite. But then again maybe my tap water is just terrible.

 
NEW Coffee Forum: http://coffeecupnews.org/forum
Coffee Reviews: http://coffeecupnews.org
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
AndyPanda
Senior Member
AndyPanda
Joined: 12 Jul 2010
Posts: 769
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Olympia Cremina, Various...
Grinder: Mazzer Major, Fiorenzato,...
Vac Pot: vintage Corey
Drip: AeroPress
Roaster: BreadMachine/HeatGun
Posted Mon Sep 20, 2010, 6:16pm
Subject: Re: water hardness measuring - adding minerals to RO
 

No, I didn't mean to imply that the waters ability to conduct current would make the coffee taste better.  I only meant that it might be a way for me to measure the hardness of the water - since distilled water won't conduct any electricity (no hardness - no minerals at all) but water with mineral content will - and the more minerals the more it conducts.

I'm sure that tap water is completely different depending on where you live.

A problem with hard water is that the minerals get left behind in your boiler (scale) - but the problem with distilled or RO water is that it leaches the metal out of your boiler (and you end up consuming potentially bad metals like aluminum) - and I'm told that it is also acidic.    So I guess the holy grail of water is to find water that is perfectly pH neutral and has just the right amount of hardness of minerals that taste good and don't leave scale.  

I happen to live in a city with pretty good tasting tap water that is fairly soft.  There is a little chlorine taste that I can filter out with a charcoal filter.

Yeah - I was very surprised to find the espresso tasting better with tap water.  I've also read that Crystal Geyser bottled water is good and has the right amount of hardness of a type that doesn't scale much.  Haven't tried it though.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
Chang94598
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Oct 2007
Posts: 213
Location: SF Bay Area
Posted Mon Sep 20, 2010, 7:53pm
Subject: Re: water hardness measuring - adding minerals to RO
 

Good tap water generally will make tastier espresso or brewed coffee than RO or deionized water.

The lack of ions will cause the coffee cake to swell, and extend extraction time and bitterness. In ion-exchange softened water, the excessive sodium ions also cause the cellulose in the coffee cake to swell with the same effect.  The nerves for the taste buds and smell all require ions to conduct signals properly.

The most recent academic study on the effect of water hardness and ions is found here:

Click Here (www.sciencedirect.com)
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > water hardness...  
New Topics updated topics   New Posts new posts   Unanswered Posts new unanswered     Search Discussion Board search   Discussion Board FAQ faq   Signup sign up  
Not Logged in: Log In to Postlog in
Discussions Quick Jump:
Symbols: New Posts= New Posts since your last visit      No New Posts= No New Posts since last visit     Go to most recent post= Newest post
Forum Rules:
No profanity, illegal acts or personal attacks will be tolerated in these discussion boards.
No commercial posting of any nature will be tolerated; only private sales by private individuals, in the "Buy and Sell" forum.
No SEO style postings will be tolerated. SEO related posts will result in immediate ban from CoffeeGeek.
No cross posting allowed - do not post your topic to more than one forum, nor repost a topic to the same forum.
Who Can Read The Forum? Anyone can read posts in these discussion boards.
Who Can Post New Topics? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post new topics.
Who Can Post Replies? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post replies.
Can Photos be posted? Anyone can post photos in their new topics or replies.
Who can change or delete posts? Any CoffeeGeek member can edit their own posts. Only moderators can delete posts.
Probationary Period: If you are a new signup for CoffeeGeek, you cannot promote, endorse, criticise or otherwise post an unsolicited endorsement for any company, product or service in your first five postings.
Great Espresso at Home
Curated selection of the best machines from La Spaziale, Izzo, Quick Mill, La Marzocco & more.
www.clivecoffee.com
Home | Opinions | Consumer Reviews | Guides & How Tos | CoffeeGeek Reviews | Resources | Forums | Contact Us
CoffeeGeek.com, CoffeeGeek, and Coffee Geek, along with all associated content & images are copyright ©2000-2014 by Mark Prince, all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Content, code, and images may not be reused without permission. Usage of this website signifies agreement with our Terms and Conditions. (0.223915100098)
Privacy Policy | Copyright Info | Terms and Conditions | CoffeeGeek Advertisers | RSS | Find us on Google+