Water: To Filter, or Not to Filter?
Water, it is perhaps the biggest cause of concern and problems in espresso machines and coffee makers, and is also the easiest one to manage. If you live in a state like I do which has water hardness through the roof, you are going to need to soften and filter your water of unwanted minerals and tastes. The hardness of the local water is the biggest cause of coffee equipment and espresso machines breaking down and costing $100’s and maybe $1,000s of dollars in repairs because people won’t pay for the proper water treatment for their equipment.
You, as a shop owner, need to know your area’s mineral makeup of the H2O. This knowledge will help you down the road. If your water has minerals that get active and has a tendency to corrode through stainless steel when heated and put under pressure, you might want to choose a copper boiler espresso machine verses a stainless steel one. The hardness issue is also important, softening your water will insure a longer life span of your espresso machine.
Without getting over the top gear head, there is a lot of expensive valves, flow meters and boilers that need the softest water possible to makes their job an easy one. The softer the water, and fewer minerals makes the job for these machines an easier one, and as a result there is little major work that needs to be done. You as an owner and operator of this equipment will have a better working relationship, which in turn drives up the longevity and your ability to stay active and minimizes the potential of not shut down for repairs.
Finding out this important information is easy, check with your local water company, or get a water testing kit from any hardware store, and test it out yourself, or if you like to Google search stuff, look and see how many water filtration and softening companies that are in business in your area, if there is more than two, chances are you are going to need their services. They will know all about what you need and how to set it up for you. You can also check with your local espresso repair shop, they will really know what you need, since it’s their business to make repairing your machine easier rather than an harder.