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Having lived in Barcelona for almost 15 years, I have always insisted on using bottled water to make all my drinks. The water quality here is awful and the water is very very hard. If I boiled 2 kettles of tap water a day, in a week, I'd have to descale my kettle. For my skin, this has been terrible and for my coffee - god only knows!

 

So what to do. Well, 15 years ago, nobody filtered water - especially not here, so I got into the habit of using bottled water and thinking I was doing the best thing I could do, for my equipment, and most importantly, for my coffee.

 

Then one day, reading this forum, I came across a member explaining that filtered water was far superrior to bottled water both in taste and in terms of machine cleanliness. So I rushed out and found a supplier of the Brita water filter and a week later, I have to say, the difference is incredible. Lovely tasting tea, clear water, a clean kettle and, of course, wonderful tasting coffee.

 

If I thought my coffees were delicate before, now they are absolutely exploding with flavours and richness. Since joining this forum, I have started changing parts of my technique and espresso habits that I had been doing for 15 years. I thought what I was doing before was good but in a month, I think I have improved more than in the previous 15 years.

 

I don't profess to be a great barista but I love my coffees and this forum has reignited my passion for coffee. It is also apparant, that in this case, you can teach an old dog new tricks. Thank you for teaching me.

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Whilst the Brita Filters aren't designed as limescale filters they do alter the taste of the water and provide a level of protection from harmful* minerals.

 

Glad you're enjoying the new found tastes in coffee

 

*to the machine - not the person

Home Barista Training - contact me to discuss your requirements

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  • 2 weeks later...

The interweb seems mysteriously absent of any articles on how much if any hardness britta filters remove from water. Even britta are coy in their adtvertising relating to water hardness reduction.

Would be interesting to know how long and how effective the filters are over their month or so reccomended life.

I've taken to filtering and also usinga Rocket in tank filter which is a rebranded one of these - http://www.1st-line.net/cgi-bin/category.cgi?item=OSCAR90&type=store for good measure

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The interweb seems mysteriously absent of any articles on how much if any hardness britta filters remove from water. Even britta are coy in their adtvertising relating to water hardness reduction.

Would be interesting to know how long and how effective the filters are over their month or so reccomended life.

I've taken to filtering and also usinga Rocket in tank filter which is a rebranded one of these - http://www.1st-line.net/cgi-bin/category.cgi?item=OSCAR90&type=store for good measure

 

What I can tell you is that here in Barcelona we have incredibly hard water and with the BRITA, my kettle doesn't get scaled up. Before, I'd have to clean my kettle twice a week and it would be absolutely caked. I haven't cleaned it for 3 weeks since I've been using BRITA and there is no sign of scale. Also, my tea and coffee taste good.

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  • 6 months later...
The interweb seems mysteriously absent of any articles on how much if any hardness britta filters remove from water. Even britta are coy in their adtvertising relating to water hardness reduction.

 

This is the crux of the issue for me. It has just occurred to me that a simple experiment using a metal tea kettle could solve the problem, although not as easily as Brita simply being up front and honest about its softening abilities.

 

I'm going to boil off a series of tap water and Brita kettles to see which one coats with limescale faster starting with a descaled kettle for each run. It should be fairly evident, as my metal kettle needs a descale with London tap water about once a month.

 

Will report what I find...

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Found this tucked away on Brita's UEA site:

 

MAXTRA achieves a filter capacity of approximately 100 litre of water containing +20% more carbonate hardness compared to BRITA Classic - over the same exchange period of 4 weeks.

 

This is based on the following carbonate hardness in your tap water:

 

Maxtra: 12-14.5° German hardness.

 

Classic: 10-12° German hardness.

 

SCAA Standard states 4 grains (or 68 mg/L) is the optimium water hardness and 1 - 5 grains (or 17 mg/L - 85 mg/L) is the acceptable range.

 

There's a useful online tool here: http://www.cactus2000.de/uk/unit/masswas.shtml

 

You need to know your tap water's hardness level and then work out what the effect of the Brita will have on it.

 

Also, everything I can find online suggests that Brita's hardness reducing capabilities only last 3 weeks, so if you're using cartridges for four weeks (as per their 'memo' device) you might well be using regular hardness water for the 25% of the time.

Edited by 20Eyes
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After some surfing of the webbysphere, and realising that, not only I was getting a headache from the rather complicated subject of water hardness, but that it's probably not worth pursuing to the point of utter competence and comprehension, I've come to the following rather unscientific conclusions:

 

London water is around 19.3 clarke / 275 ppm in the EC1 area where I live.

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Is_Manchester_a_soft_water_area

 

The old style Brita filter will initially remove 3/4 of the "hardness", dropping to 1/3 after 3 weeks or 75 litres of use:

http://www.big-rick.com/coffee/waterfaq.html (scroll halfway down to "Brita Jug Filter")

 

The new Maxtra filter does a 20% better job than the old style Brita, as pointed out by 20Eyes.

 

A good pull requires a certain amount of hardness, amongst other minerals, in the water (about 17 mg/L - 85 mg/L or 1.7 - 6 Clarke)

http://www.scaa.org/?page=resources&d=water-standards

 

In conclusion, the Brita might not always reduce the hardness down to the perfect espresso level, but it's enough to require less descaling of the machine.

I'm sure this has been hashed out a million times before, but there you go... :D

Edited by gfunk
error correction
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  • 2 weeks later...
Try 50% waitrose (£1 for 5 litres) and 50% Carreg Spring. (63p for 2litres) - for brewed

 

80% waitrose and 20% Carreg - for espresso

 

Getting stonkingly tasty results

 

I have just bought some Waitrose and Carreg on your recommendation. Will give it a try tomorrow.

 

I have been using 40% Volvic + 60% Ultra soft (and clean) tap water although I haven't really noticed any difference over 100% tap water.

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  • 4 months later...
After some surfing of the webbysphere, and realising that, not only I was getting a headache from the rather complicated subject of water hardness, but that it's probably not worth pursuing to the point of utter competence and comprehension, I've come to the following rather unscientific conclusions:

 

London water is around 19.3 clarke / 275 ppm in the EC1 area where I live.

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Is_Manchester_a_soft_water_area

 

The old style Brita filter will initially remove 3/4 of the "hardness", dropping to 1/3 after 3 weeks or 75 litres of use:

http://www.big-rick.com/coffee/waterfaq.html (scroll halfway down to "Brita Jug Filter")

 

The new Maxtra filter does a 20% better job than the old style Brita, as pointed out by 20Eyes.

 

A good pull requires a certain amount of hardness, amongst other minerals, in the water (about 17 mg/L - 85 mg/L or 1.7 - 6 Clarke)

http://www.scaa.org/?page=resources&d=water-standards

 

In conclusion, the Brita might not always reduce the hardness down to the perfect espresso level, but it's enough to require less descaling of the machine.

I'm sure this has been hashed out a million times before, but there you go... :D

 

Thanks for this info

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I used a Brita Maxtra filter for a few months and eventually got fed up with it. The trouble I found was that as the filter "degrades" and the amount of crud filtered reduces, it would significantly change the taste in the cup. By going nerdy with coffee, what we're after is the greatest consistency possible over every variable. By using a filter that expires within a month, it's like changing your water supply every day (exaggeration perhaps, citation needed).

 

Of course this effect depends on how much you're using the filter. I was probably running 2-3 litres through it a day exclusively for brewed coffee and upon noticing the night and day difference in a cup after changing a filter decided it was time to give it up and switch to bottled water. It might seem extravagant but I boil up little more than needed for a brew, and the cost probably amounts to £2 a week at the most - a trifling figure considering how much goes on the beans. The result is knowing how the water will act: one less thing to worry about, like getting a steady temperature or better grind, leaving more time to focus on ham-fisted pouring technique and elusive descriptors.

 

That said, for espresso the Brita filters probably make more sense as you're flushing loads of water and having to think about scaled inside the machine.

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