An espresso machine is an expensive investment, so it’s critical that the equipment be kept well maintained. Regular scrubbing, flushing and de-liming are necessary to ensure the equipment performs to peak efficiency, and the beverages you serve taste exactly as they should.
The quality of your water plays a key role in both protecting your machine, and bringing out the optimal flavors of your coffee beans. By reducing the hardness of your water, and removing chemicals such as Chlorine, you’ll save money and increase customer satisfaction.
Three water-related challenges for espresso machines.
Steam boiler chambers are under tremendous heat and pressure, reaching well over 200°F (93°C) . When water that contains dissolved mineral is put into these conditions, the mineral will drop out of solution and collect on heating elements. Certain types of these minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, become a very hard scale that cannot be easily removed. As this scale builds, it becomes more difficult for the machine to reach the proper temperatures, and thus the energy usage increases dramatically.
2. pH of Water
Water for espresso machines should be between 6.4 to 7.4 (7 is considered neutral pH). When pH is too low, the water becomes too acidic and can cause pitting and corrosion of the stainless steel. When pH is too high, scale can form. REMARK: the ESO will bring the pH to a constant +/- 6, avoiding scale build-up. The continuous steady pH is a guarantee for constant taste experience…
3. Contaminants in Water
There is no such thing as pure water in nature. Water always contains something extra, such as dirt and sediment, living organisms such as cysts, naturally occurring gasses and chemicals due to decaying vegetation, and man-made contaminants such as chlorine. The quantity of these in your water depends on the environmental conditions of where you live and where your water comes from (lakes or rivers, or underground aquifers). These contaminants pose problems for your espresso beverage by causing off-tastes and odors, and clogging of nozzles and pipes. For example, when Chlorine is heated, corrosive gasses get free which can cause a distinctive “pool” smell. If your water contains a lot of sediment, it may reduce the water flow, thus affecting the extraction time (ideally, around 25 seconds is recommended for proper espresso brewing).