Your Guide to Commercial Food and Beverage Filtration

Posted by
John Woodard on March 15, 2019

A commercial water filtration system is the food and beverage industry's secret to quality, flavorful menu items. The magic happens behind the counter or in the kitchen of your favorite coffee shop or restaurant-- where baristas and chefs craft the delicious foods and beverages you crave. Brewing coffee and preparing food takes skill to discover the perfect combination of ingredients. Filtered water is crucial to the art and science behind great coffee, espresso, tea, soups, and sandwiches. 

You'll find an elaborate array of water filtration systems and filters behind the wall of coffee shops, fast-food restaurants, or mom-and-pop restaurants. Starbucks, McDonald's, and any other eatery want you to have the same experience no matter when or where you visit. But consistent flavor and quality do not happen by accident. Those who prepare food and drinks know that fresh water is a key ingredient in the food and beverage market. Water makes up a large portion of what we consume.

Like sugar, salt, and spices, water can influence the quality and flavor of foods and beverages for good or bad. 

What is a commercial water filtration system used for?

Unique flavor sets a brand apart in the food and beverage industry, and filtered water helps restaurants and coffee shops accomplish this goal. Consistency comes from water filtration suited to a business based on their location, water source, incoming water quality, and desired taste. The water determines the extent of filtration and the type of commercial system needed. 

Where using a commercial water filtration system makes a difference: 

  • Coffee
  • Espresso
  • Tea
  • Food preparation
  • Steam equipment
  • Ice machines
  • Soda fountains
  • Drinking water

It's important to filter any water used for drinking or consumption to remove contaminants that could make you or your customers sick or cause nasty tastes and odors. All municipal water treatment plants use chemical disinfectants that leave by-products in the water. When water travels through the pipes to your business, it collects sediment, debris, unwanted minerals, and other particulates along the way. A water filtration system removes anything from water that isn't supposed to be there and sends fresh water to your commercial cooking and beverage appliances. To know which filtration system is best for you, conduct a water test and send it in for lab analysis to learn about the quality of your water. 

Coffee and Espresso Water Filtration

Why use filtered water for coffee and espresso?

We often credit the bean for coffee taste, but the bean only makes up .4% of the flavor in your cup. Water is the primary ingredient in coffee, tea, and espresso. You filter water for coffee, espresso, and tea to extract the maximum flavor and aroma from the beans. If the water used in your coffee or espresso machine contains the right amount of minerals and no contaminants, bad tastes, or odors, then it will enhance your coffee and tea beverages.

Target mineral range for coffee, tea, or espresso from the Specialty Association of America (SCAA):

  • TDS: 75-250 mg/L
  • Calcium hardness: 1- 5 grains or 17- 250 mg/L
  • Total alkalinity: at or near 40 mg/L
  • pH: 6.5- 7.5
  • Sodium: at or near 10 mg/L

Water filtration systems for coffee makers and espresso machines

Too much mineral in coffee and espresso reduces the quality of the beverage and damages equipment, but too little mineral produces a boring cup of Joe. Total dissolved solids (TDS) ruin the flavor and aroma of your coffee and tea, but just the right amount of calcium and magnesium in water make coffee rich and bright. Both espresso and coffee need some minerals to extract the best flavor from the beans. Many filtration systems use phosphate to hold the hardness in solution and keep scale from forming in the brewing chamber. 

Espresso and coffee are not made the same way, so water is filtered differently for coffee and espresso makers. Espresso is produced from hot water under high pressure flowing through a dense puck of ground espresso beans. Coffee's made through a slower brew, where the water stays in contact with the grounds much longer. 

The mineral content in water for espresso requires more specification than water for coffee or tea. Water used for espresso only has 20-25 seconds of contact with the grounds, which is not much time to let minerals soak in. Because extraction time is not as long, espresso filter systems contain softening resin to remove calcium deposits. Coffee filtration systems do not use softening resin. Since coffee brews slowly, the water would absorb sodium produced by the softener that would alter the flavor of the beverage. 

Learn how a water filtration system for coffee, tea, and espresso works.

Best filtration systems for coffee and espresso based on customer reviews

Everpure QC71 Espresso Filter System-Twin

everpure QC71 double filter system

Aqua-Pure 3M BREW125MS Coffee & Tea Filtration System

aqua-pure 3M coffee filter system

Ice Filtration

Why use filtered water for an ice maker?

Without ice, there would be no iced coffee, ice-cold beverages, or drinks on the rocks. Everyone knows that ice is 100% water, but water quality is not often considered when making it. Filtered water is the most important component in producing the best ice. 

Water filtration systems for ice machines

Mineral content does not enhance ice as it does for coffee, tea, or espresso. Minerals and other contaminants in water make cloudy ice, which prevents fizz in carbonated beverages from subsiding. Chlorine gives your ice a chemical flavor, and other contaminants make ice taste or smell dirty. 

If your water is hard, then treat it with a water softener or strip the water of most dissolved solids with a reverse osmosis system before making ice. Water filtration systems for ice production reduce chlorine and sediment that freeze in the ice and melt inside beverages. Using an ice filtration system controls scale, saving you from spending additional time and money on ice maker maintenance. Using an Ice Wand will reduce bacterial growth and help keep your ice machine clean.

Best filtration systems for ice makers based on customer reviews

Everpure Insurice Twin-i2000

Everpure EV9324-02 Insurice Twin-i2000 Filter System

Everpure Insurice Twin PF-7S1

Everpure EV932473 Insurice Twin PF-7SI Water Filter System with Pre-Filter

Food and Beverage Filtration

Why use filtered water for soda fountains?

Consistent flavor in fountain beverages depends on the ratio of syrup to water, and consistently flavorful soda depends on filtered water. A combination of chlorine and sediment in water will make fountain beverages taste like slightly sweet and fizzy pool water. Coke, Pepsi, and other soda brands set standards for water filtration to make their carbonated beverages refreshing and unique. Coca-Cola require restaurants that sell their product to remove off tastes and odors, reduce chlorine, and remove particles to preserve flavors and protect consumers. 

Water filtration systems for soda fountains

Water filtration systems for fountain beverages reduce chlorine and chloramines and reduce maintenance costs. Many food and beverage cartridges use phosphate to capture hardness minerals for flavor while preventing scale. Using phosphate in fountain beverage filtration, however, will kill carbonation and give you flat soda. But a fountain beverage filtration system will prevent dirt from clogging your soda fountain. 

Best filtration systems for fountain beverages based on customer reviews

Selecto Scientific SMC IC600 Beverage Filtration System

selecto scientific beverage filtration system

Everpure MC2 Filter System

Everpure EV9275-01 QC7I Single MC2 Filter System

Steam Filtration

Why use filtered water for steamers?

Steam turns water from a liquid to a gas. Very few elements make this transition with the water, including dissolved minerals. Once the mineral content comes out of the solution, it clogs the equipment. So it's important that the water fed into a steamer is soft. Commercial steamers are often affected by scale and corrosion, which increases maintenance costs and ruins delicious recipes. The great taste of any recipe that calls for water could be tainted by minerals in the water. 

Water filtration systems for steam equipment

Many steam applications use a water softener, a reverse osmosis system, or a scale-control cartridge to remove hardness minerals in water before use. As with any filter system, the extent of filtration depends on the water quality at your location. If your water has low mineral content, then carbon filtration will remove chlorine, chloramines, and sediment. Water filtration systems for commercial steamers or combi ovens remove corrosive salts and help extend the life of your equipment. 

The best filtration system for steamers based on customer reviews

Everpure Costguard SC10-11

EVERPURE Costguard SC10-11 Steam/Combi Filter System

Combination Water Filtration Systems

Combination filter systems combine multiple food and beverage systems into one. One combination system can filter water for drinking, ice, coffee, or steam. These systems can feed fresh water to your ice maker, espresso machine, and soda fountain even though they each have different water standards. The system will send water with phosphate scale control directly to your brewing machines and send the non-phosphate water to your soda fountain. 

A combination system we recommend:

Everpure combination system

Commercial water filtration system reviews

Everpure ESO 7 Espresso Filter System

5 star rating from Michael U. 

"Very good, clean water. I am glad bought the right one. I love it."

Aqua-Pure Commercial Coffee Filter System

5 star rating from Nathanael I.

"Water taste is great, and filter change is really great and easy. Company is perfect."

Everpure Insurice

5 star rating from Mike L.

"Fast, Quick, and Easy!!!!!"

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