HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Water revisited... (48 lines)
1) From: Chris Beck
After reading Jim Schulman's totally awesome water FAQ, I had to get a 
test kit and actually measure what I've got.  I've been using 
ion-exchange softened water in the Silvia and straight, unsoftened tap 
water for coffee.  I also have at my disposal a countertop distiller 
(West Bend "Dove"), and Nicolet bottled water.
Here's the water test results:
                    Carbonate hardness            General Hardness
Tap water             18 deg.                       28 deg.
Softened tap	      18 deg.                       <2 deg.
Bottled                6 deg.                        9 deg.
To get ppm, multiply the German degrees by 17.9.  A German degree is 
roughly equivalent to the US Grain measurement.  That said, my tap water 
is liquid cement.  I'd load up the Silvia boiler in a matter of weeks if 
I didn't do something.
Taste wise, I find coffee (vac pot, moka pot) tastes best with straight 
tap water.  The bottled water gives it an odd 'flat' taste, while for 
drinking, the bottled water tastes very good.  Likewise, our tap water 
(deep Wisconsin well water) tastes very good.
For espresso, I've found that an approx. 80% distilled/20% hard water 
mixture gives me excellent espresso, with a richer and more balanced 
taste compared to the softened water, which tends to be a bit more 
bright and harsh.
After reading more of the FAQ, I wonder if my bottled water is using 
magnesium salts to add in the hardness rather than calcium (which is our 
usual suspect in tap water here).  I don't see it listed on the bottled 
water site Jim listed (www.bottledwaterweb.com/bott).
In any case, it's amazing the range of tastes the water can impart to 
the coffee.  It's also amazing how friggin' hard my tap water is.  Whole 
house softeners are a way of life here unless you appreciate the use of 
jackhammers and other power tools to clean your sinks, tubs, and dishes 
of lime buildup.
Jim, any comments????
chris
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