Barista Magazine

OCT-NOV 2018

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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Page 95 of 115

96 barista magazine How often should we change the water fi lter on our espresso machine—e.g., how much water should go through the fi lters, and how do we test for it? We've all heard the statistic that coffee is 98-percent water and how fi ltering for fl avor purposes is so important to the en- joyment and deliciousness of the fi nal brew. But water is also a major contributing factor to damaging just about any type of equipment it's used in, from swimming pools and car engines to—yep, you guessed it—coffee equipment. The other thing to know is that water is not as simple as we sometimes think. The clear liquid supplied to you by your city, county, personal well, or wherever you get your water from is an extremely variable and tricky substance to treat, and may have a huge variety of contaminants from old dirty pipes, high or low pH levels, scale-forming minerals, dissolved solids, and chemicals like chlorine that many municipalities will use to treat it. Filtration and softening are a couple of the fi rst lines of de- fense against many chemicals that would ruin your coffee and damage your machine, like chlorine and calcium. Any time we build a system, we subject a water sample to a variety of tests for many factors like chlorine content, hardness, total dissolved solids, and quite a few more. Then we look at what a machine manufacturer may require of the water in order to keep the machine from getting damaged, as well as industry guidelines for what should be in water to make coffee extract properly. It is quite the balancing act! Then we try to build a system that treats each specifi c targeted parameter and will be sized appro- priately to last about six months between cartridge changes. If the system is too small, then you waste money blowing through fi lters and potentially having the system clog between changes. If the system is too big or poorly or infrequently maintained, you can run into other issues that happen when water sits in a dark canister without being disturbed, like algae growth, etc. You should work with your local tech or water-fi ltration compa- ny to test the water properly and get the system sized right and with the proper chemical balance, and your machine and coffee will thank you for it. This is defi nitely one to consult about with the experts to ensure that your machine stays healthy and the coffee always tastes great! —Alex Got a question about coffee equipment? We'd love to help! Just email your thoughts and queries to CLEAN LIKE A CHAMP |

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