Any coffee nerds here?

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1 week 6 days ago #48219 by 112059
Replied by 112059 on topic Any coffee nerds here?

golan wrote:

112059 wrote: Don't get me started. I have to bring my own water whenever I go away since the Spring water I use makes the best coffee around....


I added a remineralization stage to my RO system a while ago. Improved the tea a lot, and based on the TDS reading, I'm in the right range for coffee as well.

One can compensate for water hardness by increasing (harder water) or decreasing (softer water) the brew time. Apparently this is a skill that Italian baristas have always had.


I wish I knew the secret to making good coffee with water that has over 80gpg of hardness, it would save me a lot of travel to get spring water.
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1 week 6 days ago - 1 week 6 days ago #48220 by Extraterrestrial_Zoologist
Regarding having good quality water for drinking, making coffee, etc.:
We are renters & this little place is about the size of 2 small garage stalls placed end to end.
Whole house filtration was not an option here - but after seeing the town's 'water confidence report' and tasting the bitter stuff, drinking it was a non-option - not even for our elderly doggie pal.
So we started out here with bottled spring water ~5 years ago, for about a month during moving, etc.

Our solution is an undersink RO system with 2 pre-filters and a TDS meter kept at the counter.
That water has its own spigot at the sink.

Decent, small RO systems can be had for under $100 & a TDS meter is usually under $15.

It is under an hour's work to put one in.

As renters, if/when we get done here it'll be simple to just connect the spigot directly to the cold line as if it is a non-aerated water fountain, then take the rest with us to re-use with a different spigot.
(Those cost about $20 at the big A.)

Results:
Our previously bitter, nasty water is sweet tasting, and went from ~100PPM TDS to as low as 7PPM TDS, depending upon how recently the pre-filters were changed out & how much nasty stuff the town guys dumped into it that week.
And of course - good coffee, as that is the elixir vitae itself !!

Best Wishes to All !!

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1 week 6 days ago #48222 by 112059
Replied by 112059 on topic Any coffee nerds here?

Extraterrestrial_Zoologist wrote: Regarding having good quality water for drinking, making coffee, etc.:
We are renters & this little place is about the size of 2 small garage stalls placed end to end.
Whole house filtration was not an option here - but after seeing the town's 'water confidence report' and tasting the bitter stuff, drinking it was a non-option - not even for our elderly doggie pal.
So we started out here with bottled spring water ~5 years ago, for about a month during moving, etc.

Our solution is an undersink RO system with 2 pre-filters and a TDS meter kept at the counter.
That water has its own spigot at the sink.

Decent, small RO systems can be had for under $100 & a TDS meter is usually under $15.

It is under an hour's work to put one in.

As renters, if/when we get done here it'll be simple to just connect the spigot directly to the cold line as if it is a non-aerated water fountain, then take the rest with us to re-use with a different spigot.
(Those cost about $20 at the big A.)

Results:
Our previously bitter, nasty water is sweet tasting, and went from ~100PPM TDS to as low as 7PPM TDS, depending upon how recently the pre-filters were changed out & how much nasty stuff the town guys dumped into it that week.
And of course - good coffee, as that is the elixir vitae itself !!

Best Wishes to All !!


When I last looked into RO (well over 10 yrs ago) I was told by the RO salesman I would be replacing the RO membrane monthly due to my water being so hard. Maybe things have changed since then. I will have to look into it again, maybe just a small one for drinking and coffee only. Thanks
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1 week 6 days ago - 1 week 6 days ago #48225 by golan
Replied by golan on topic Any coffee nerds here?

112059 wrote: I wish I knew the secret to making good coffee with water that has over 80gpg of hardness, it would save me a lot of travel to get spring water.


80 grains is insane. That water is so hard it is barred from appearing in adult movies.

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1 week 6 days ago - 1 week 6 days ago #48226 by golan
Replied by golan on topic Any coffee nerds here?

112059 wrote: When I last looked into RO (well over 10 yrs ago) I was told by the RO salesman I would be replacing the RO membrane monthly due to my water being so hard. Maybe things have changed since then. I will have to look into it again, maybe just a small one for drinking and coffee only. Thanks


You need to install a whole house water softener. It'll pay back itself preventing other hard water problems and costs. There are technologies now that don't even use salt and instead prevent minerals from sticking to pipes but presumably that won't improve the water for an RO system.

There are also some membrane technologies designed for hard water. But I would definitely want to soften the water in your case.

What difference does it make? I changed my RO membrane after 11 years and it was still rejecting at a level that the manufacturer (Dow Corporation) would say to not change it. This is with incoming water with a TDS of 350 and a restrictor that meant my feed to waste ratio was 1:1. And I only changed the pre filters once in those 11 years.

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1 week 6 days ago #48228 by 112059
Replied by 112059 on topic Any coffee nerds here?

golan wrote:

112059 wrote: When I last looked into RO (well over 10 yrs ago) I was told by the RO salesman I would be replacing the RO membrane monthly due to my water being so hard. Maybe things have changed since then. I will have to look into it again, maybe just a small one for drinking and coffee only. Thanks


You need to install a whole house water softener. It'll pay back itself preventing other hard water problems and costs. There are technologies now that don't even use salt and instead prevent minerals from sticking to pipes but presumably that won't improve the water for an RO system.

There are also some membrane technologies designed for hard water. But I would definitely want to soften the water in your case.

What difference does it make? I changed my RO membrane after 11 years and it was still rejecting at a level that the manufacturer (Dow Corporation) would say to not change it. This is with incoming water with a TDS of 350 and a restrictor that meant my feed to waste ratio was 1:1. And I only changed the pre filters once in those 11 years.


I do have a whole house softener, but a softener only softens the water and does not remove the solids (my TDS is way over 1,000), so after softening the water it still makes terrible coffee and I can't stand to drink it. Thanks for the help

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1 week 6 days ago - 1 week 6 days ago #48229 by golan
Replied by golan on topic Any coffee nerds here?

112059 wrote: I do have a whole house softener, but a softener only softens the water and does not remove the solids (my TDS is way over 1,000), so after softening the water it still makes terrible coffee and I can't stand to drink it. Thanks for the help


If you have soft water, then I don't see why the RO membrane would only last a month (You stated that the salesperson said it was because of hard water but now say you have soft water). The membrane doesn't clog up with TDS like a filter clogs up with non dissolved particles. It rejects the dissolved solids and sends them to waste water. You can even flush the membrane periodically (automatically if desired) to make it last longer.

As I said, my membrane was still good after 11 years with soft water, TDS of 350, a very very lean waste water ratio of 1:1 compared to the usual 1:4, and no membrane flushing. Reasonable quality but hard city water, the softener and good pre filters were the probable reason.

There are also other non RO system filter options that reduce TDS. The most effective is zero water which is effectively an RO system in a water pitcher. But you'd have to add some minerals back to that as it gives 0 ppm TDS (although with incoming water of over 1000ppm, maybe it will result in a level of TDS already in the right range for coffee).

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1 week 6 days ago #48239 by 112059
Replied by 112059 on topic Any coffee nerds here?

golan wrote:

112059 wrote: I do have a whole house softener, but a softener only softens the water and does not remove the solids (my TDS is way over 1,000), so after softening the water it still makes terrible coffee and I can't stand to drink it. Thanks for the help


If you have soft water, then I don't see why the RO membrane would only last a month (You stated that the salesperson said it was because of hard water but now say you have soft water). The membrane doesn't clog up with TDS like a filter clogs up with non dissolved particles. It rejects the dissolved solids and sends them to waste water. You can even flush the membrane periodically (automatically if desired) to make it last longer.

As I said, my membrane was still good after 11 years with soft water, TDS of 350, a very very lean waste water ratio of 1:1 compared to the usual 1:4, and no membrane flushing. Reasonable quality but hard city water, the softener and good pre filters were the probable reason.

There are also other non RO system filter options that reduce TDS. The most effective is zero water which is effectively an RO system in a water pitcher. But you'd have to add some minerals back to that as it gives 0 ppm TDS (although with incoming water of over 1000ppm, maybe it will result in a level of TDS already in the right range for coffee).


The Zero water sounded like a great way to go so I called them to ask how long one of their filters would last with a TDS of 1,500 and was disappointed when they said the filter would only last for a couple of gallons before it would be plugged and need to be replaced. I will have to check into the RO system that can be flushed.

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1 week 5 days ago - 1 week 5 days ago #48242 by golan
Replied by golan on topic Any coffee nerds here?

112059 wrote:
The Zero water sounded like a great way to go so I called them to ask how long one of their filters would last with a TDS of 1,500 and was disappointed when they said the filter would only last for a couple of gallons before it would be plugged and need to be replaced. I will have to check into the RO system that can be flushed.


Yep, the zero water is a relatively expensive way to filter water. It gets to zero because it has a DI layer which is something that some people get as another stage after the membrane in a RO system to get that to zero.

I don't know why the sales person would have said your membrane will get plugged if you have soft water and 1500ppm. While 1500ppm is high (EPA limit is 500ppm), quality RO membranes last for many many years with levels at and above the EPA limit, and as I mentioned, they waste a lot of water in order to carry away the TDS.

Funnily enough, in your case, an RO system is perfect because quality membranes achieve 95% to 99% reduction in TDS which means product water will be 15ppm to 75ppm which is good for coffee. I have a membrane with 99% reduction so have near zero tds and my remineralization filter takes me to about 50ppm.

Although you can buy RO systems for $100, I would opt for NSF certified components and filters. If you are averse to the traditional filter maintenance routine (it is a bit of a pain), you could go for a system from a reputable manufacturer that is entirely cartridge based. You can also add in line TDS and pressure gauges that help you decide when to change fiilters. Finally, you can reroute your waste water into a hot water pipe or route it outdoors for some sort of irrigation, being sure to put extra backflow prevention.

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1 week 5 days ago #48243 by golan
Replied by golan on topic Any coffee nerds here?

Extraterrestrial_Zoologist wrote: We have & sometimes use a couple of cold brewers


I've started making cold brew and need to dial everything in. Coffee to water ratio, grind size, fridge vs counter and duration.

Do you have any recommendations?

My finished product is very nice. It smells like a mocha coffee, full of chocolate. I don't know if that is to do with the beans I'm using.

I had one that I enjoyed drinking cold and another that improved with heating, but I'm after the best possible taste when it's fridge cold.

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