How Water Filtration Affects Automatic Espresso Machines

Let’s start with a definitive statement: whether your espresso machine is automatic, semi-automatic or a super-automatic, the water you put into it will always dictate quality of your espresso.

Now, let’s talk about water filtration and Automatic Espresso Machines.

Preserving the Life of Your Espresso Machine

It’s been said before that hard water kills espresso machines. Most of us are aware that common tap water is considered too hard for any good espresso. Specifically, that means that it’s too full of calcium carbonates, or a combination of calcium and magnesium – the rock-like substance that can form on the inside of your espresso machine, clog up the filters and nozzles and eventually cause serious problems with its operation.

Experts say that the water you use for espresso should be no more than three grains per gallon (about 50 milligrams per liter) of hardness. By contrast, most tap water contains a minimum of seven grains per gallon (120 mg/l) and can be as high as 20 grains per gallon.

Unless you have your own well, water filtration is very important for the life of your machine. And for an automatic or super-automatic espresso machine, that’s a sizeable investment.

Preserving the Taste of Your Espresso

Another, equally important facet of espresso water filtration has to do with contaminants such as chemicals, sediments and volatile organic compounds commonly found in processed tap water.

Chlorine and rust, for example, can really mess up the taste of your espresso even in small quantities. So your filtration system should be very effective at blocking these and other contaminants before they reach the machine.

The best filters are variations on the traditional carbon filters used in home and commercial water filtration systems. Carbon has been recognized for decades for its ability to retain a positive charge and attract negatively-charged particles. It’s also very effective in small quantities, increasing the lifespan of each filter you use.

A note about particle charges: carbon filtering is not to be confused with deionization or reverse osmosis systems that some water filtration companies provide. Deionized or distilled water has actually been shown to pit the metal in most espresso boilers over time. Plus, believe it or not, the trace presence of minerals in carbon filtered water can actually improve the taste of your espresso.

Espresso Partners can recommend the perfect automatic espresso machine for your operation, along with the ideal water filtration system. Our expert “repairistas” can tell you about the right filters, including installation and replacement schedules. Call us today!

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