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Current (Nov 2020) Waitrose Lockhills vs. Tesco Ashbeck - label comparison


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Traying to understand which is better for Espresso machines: Tesco Ashbeck or Waitrose Lockhills. Reading many threads, I saw that Waitrose (which was the favourite at least as some point) changed their Essential water (from Lockhills to Stretton Hills, or was it the other way around)? They also changed the composition of minerals on Lockhills, maybe more than once. As the threads discussed this over a long period of time, it was hard to understand what's still relevant and what's not, and which is currently better. 

Bellow are the two current labels: Lockhills on top, Ashbeck below. I'm particularly bothered by the fact that Lockhills value for Dry Residue at 180C is 150, whereas for Ashbeck it's 85. Calicum, Magnesium and Bicarbonate are also very different on the two. So which one is better? Which one will protect against scaling? Maybe a mix of the two would be best? Any experts willing to explain what these labels mean for coffee machines?

2017707493_LockhillsvsAshbeck.thumb.JPG.ea072fa57cbc06ff60f975a44be00266.JPG

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Foe what’s worth, I used Ashbeck before on an E61 machine. Two years later and machine was still going strong, very little sign of any scale on the mushroom. 

They both will scale... eventually. So it might be you’ll need a descale every 2 years or so. Ashbeck, as you figured out, will scale much less than Lockhills. 
 

edit: thread here

 

Edited by MediumRoastSteam

Current: Lelit Elizabeth / Niche Zero / VST baskets / Distilled water + 100mg NaCO3/L

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24 minutes ago, RobbieTheTruth said:

How does Volvic compare to these?

It's more expensive. 😉

47 minutes ago, MediumRoastSteam said:

Foe what’s worth, I used Ashbeck before on an E61 machine. Two years later and machine was still going strong, very little sign of any scale on the mushroom. 

They both will scale... eventually. So it might be you’ll need a descale every 2 years or so. Ashbeck, as you figured out, will scale much less than Lockhills. 

Thanks. Would still appreciate an evaluation of the mineral differences and their meanings, how they compare, and how much worse Lockhills is for scaling vs. Ashbeck.
I have been trying to figure out what it all means, but I am getting lost... 

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4 minutes ago, RobbieTheTruth said:
6 minutes ago, Doram said:

It's more expensive. 😉

 

In terms of scaling.

It was a joke... 🙂

But ok, let's add it, though personally I am more interested in the cheaper alternatives....

Here is Volvic (Dry residue at 180C = 130, so slightly better than lockhills, but not nearly as good as Ashbeck. Not sure how important of bad this is):

Volvic.JPG.f8580c161210f9077f27e54f5393afe4.JPG

 

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I hate to be a burden on this post but if there’s one thing I dislike about the whole coffee worlds ethos is that the water needs to be either filtered or free of contaminants. Yes I totally agree that it may make the coffee taste better and will lengthen the life of our machines and so forth but what are we doing for the planet, buying water in plastic bottles or plastic covered filters?

Just to clarify and before everyone goes mad, I am too, using filters and so I’m being hypocritical really but it’s just something that does really bug me.

So my question is (or questions as it maybe), will using non filtered water make that much of a difference to taste, will this then in turn cost us more money on replacement parts for our machines, would this then create even more wastage in the world?

It’s a bit of a chicken and the egg situation but what can we do to help make a difference.

Answers on a postcard please


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No one should use water with "contaminants".

If your tap water is of a suitable make up to neither cause scaling, nor corrosion, good for you. Use that. Who is willing to move to another country/part of the country to ensure this?

If your water is too low in alkalinity add some with sodium bicarbonate. No additional waste.

Otherwise you are left with filtering, bottled water, RO as your options...all carry a waste footprint.

Most water bottles are recyclable PET, some are glass.

Filters that mainly filter out particulate but have little impact on GH & KH are a waste of money & plastic.

If you really cared about waste you'd drink instant coffee.

Or you could just make coffee with a filter cone/French press/cezve and your regular kettle. If you feel you have to make espresso, then the whole waste thing is pretty moot. Non electric espresso makers might be more desirable in this respect.

If you're using water based on taste (different water changes the taste of well made coffee, secondary in impact only to that of the bean itself), use what tastes best...this might require softening filters/bottles/RO or it might come out of the tap & you can descale if it scales. There are plenty of choices, once you have determined the best tasting water (and you would be the first).

The more "quality" you desire from your coffee, then pretty much the more waste you will incur, starting with lower yield Arabica over Robusta, discarding over & under ripe cherry, and any other screening/sorting process that rejects a proportion of the original crop. If you drink specialty coffee then you are partly responsible for the destruction & wastage of mass market/supermarket coffee that outlives its shelf life. What are you going to do, drink everyone's bin ends to save waste?

Basically, it's a complicated issue.

Milk, fruit juice, pop, yogurt, ice cream, cakes, hummus, meat all come packed in plastic...if you are as observant in your purchasing of all your groceries, as much as you are with water, then fair play....I take my hat off to you.

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1 hour ago, Doram said:

It was a joke... 🙂

But ok, let's add it, though personally I am more interested in the cheaper alternatives....

Here is Volvic (Dry residue at 180C = 130, so slightly better than lockhills, but not nearly as good as Ashbeck. Not sure how important of bad this is):

 

 

Lockhills is one of the very few bottled waters that falls within any of the accepted descriptions (SCA/Schulman/SCAA/Wate for Coffee) of 'good boiler water'. (Speyside Glenlivet is another, but I didn't like it much.)

Volvic is slightly high in alkalinity, Ashbeck is low in alkalinity & pH.

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According to the labels posted above:

Lockhils: Will scale boilers above temps of 109c so will probably be ok for brew boilers but scale forming in service boilers. This should be acceptable as realistically you'll get scaling in a service boiler unless using DI water with only bicarbonate alkalinity added or you only have alkalinity from citrates in the presence of magnesium or calcium.

Ashbeck: Will not form scale even at 125c and even if you add bicarbonates to bring alkalinity up to 40mg/l. As above, you'll get scaling in the service boiler fairly rapidly in use (i.e when steaming). Probably should be considered a corrosion concern without increasing the alkalinity. 

Volvic: Will scale brew and service boiler immediately. It's an interesting one because I used Volvic for years and thought it was fine. I did see some scale deposits in the syphon above the mushroom and there were some signs of deposits on the mushroom itself but nothing major. I did get big flakes when descaling the service boiler though.

As far as I know this is up to date as a guide to mixing bottled waters: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/187vd8fjVQGCrvaoEz071BoSEOl-IY3rTl0-fZXLGx1w/edit#gid=963218475

If you come across some other water out there you can just key the relevant values into my water calculator and see for yourself if it will scale or not and if it is considered a corrosion concern according to the LI. 

Edited by Rob1
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9 hours ago, Bean2Trail said:

then in turn cost us more money on replacement parts for our machines

Problem is, it’s likely you’d need to completely strip and clean/replace everything, not only parts. If there was one part or two which were replaceable and you could just change/descale every 3 months, I’d be putting tap water on my machine for sure!

Edited by MediumRoastSteam
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Basically, it's a complicated issue.

Milk, fruit juice, pop, yogurt, ice cream, cakes, hummus, meat all come packed in plastic...if you are as observant in your purchasing of all your groceries, as much as you are with water, then fair play....I take my hat off to you.

 

 

I totally agree but we do try and do our bit like using refillable glass milk bottles from our local farm and purchasing meat from our local butchers.

 

Anyways it was only an opinion and like I said earlier I’m being a total hypocrite really!

 

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Just to add to this thread: I popped into my local Tesco recently to pick up my usual supply of 6x2l packs of Ashbeck, only to discover that it wasn't Ashbeck! Identical style of label, but was a completely different (and quite unsuitable) water. Fortunately the Ashbeck was still available in the 5l option. Don't know if anyone else has experienced this.

Also, the Waitrose Lockhills Essential water seems to have change composition over the last little while - that was also a regular on my shopping list but no longer.

Finally, I have had some success with the bottled water from the Co-op; but like the Tesco scenario not all co-op water has the same mineral composition (even though the packaging looks identical at first glance) so it pays to check the label.

 

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You can always buy an Osmio or do what I do, and use a water distiller and re-mineralise it @Bean2Trail. Wastes a lot of electricity, but no plastic. 🙂 

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2 hours ago, RDC8 said:

 

Also, the Waitrose Lockhills Essential water seems to have change composition over the last little while - that was also a regular on my shopping list but no longer.

It's currently Ca 26, Mg 6, Bicarbonate 61. Which is fine. It's not unusual for supplies to vary a little from time to time.

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https://markwjburness.wordpress.com/

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I kind of agree with @Bean2Trail But i still buy bottles of Ashbeck for my machine as anyone in Norfolk would know water here is very hard, never got on with the cheap filter systems. I dont do it for taste, i can taste very little difference when i change waters so ive never bother geeking out to much when it comes to water. I do it to save my machine, and i have never seen visible scale in all the years of using Ashbeck
 

We do our bit where we can for the environment, but when it comes to bottled water i cant see an easy way around that for me. 

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It's entirely possible, that the change in the composition on the label is just their most recent set of data. If they're unable to keep the constituents constant by processing the water, they probably have to keep the labelling reasonably up to date. And we're also at the mercy of corporate buyers when it comes to own label products, and it may be that either Ashbeck isn't providing Tesco their preferred profit margin, or supply, and they're buying more of something else and hoping that "it's just cheap water, what do they care?" is all that matters.

And I'm also in an area with horrible brew water, and bottled is certainly way better. Filters in jugs don't do enough and as a renter, plumbed is out  of the question.

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