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Coffee & Espresso Filtration Systems

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Why should you use a coffee, tea, or espresso filtration system?

Filtering water is the first step in crafting a good cup of coffee, tea, or espresso. There’s a reason why you can expect the same delicious flavor each time your order your favorite Starbucks beverage, no matter your location. Great coffee shops recognize that consistency is key to establishing their coffee brand. Flavor and aroma create your coffee’s character and the water you use influences both qualities.

Water has the potential enhance the taste your special roast, but chlorine, minerals, and other contaminants could ruin it. A great cup of coffee requires water free of chemicals, bad tastes, and odors and a balance of minerals. Don’t let bad water influence the character of your coffee. A water filtration system gives you control over the unique qualities of your coffee beverages and reduces the waste produced from using plastic water bottles.

What’s in your cup of Joe?

Mostly water, 98% to be exact. The bean contains only a meager .4% of the flavor. The water you use for your coffee can highlight the flavor and aroma of your roast. Before brewing, it’s important to make sure nothing is in the water that will inhibit the extraction of oil and flavor from the bean.

Water is a universal solvent. Once rainwater is absorbed into the ground, it picks up minerals from the rock and other contaminants. Consider where your water comes from and test your water to know what you’re dealing with. Well water will have a higher concentration of dissolved minerals that could create hard water. Every city water treatment plant uses chemical disinfectants to treat the water for drinking. Chlorine and chloramine by-products in the water taint your coffee and tea with a chemical flavor.

According to the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), water for any coffee beverage or tea should be free of:

  • • Bad tastes
  • • Odors
  • • Color
  • • Chlorine

At a certain level, minerals like calcium and magnesium enhance the flavor of your coffee, tea, and espresso. The SCAA gives a range for contaminant levels in water.

  • • TDS: 150 mg/L (75 - 250 mg/L)
  • • Calcium hardness: 4 grains or 68mg/L (1-5 grains or 17 - 250 mg/L)
  • • Total alkalinity: at or near 40 mg/L
  • • pH: 7.0 (6.5 - 7.5)
  • • Sodium at or near 10 mg/L

Water Filtration Systems for Coffee and Espresso

Filtration systems for coffee and espresso machines both remove contaminants like chlorine, VOCs, THMs, sediment, and scale. However, coffee and espresso machines use water at different pressures and flows that influence the length of time the coffee grounds contact the water.

Frequently asked questions: Is it safe to use tap water for coffee? Do coffee makers purify water? What is the best filtration system for a coffee shop?

Visit our blog for the full list of FAQs about coffee and espresso filtration systems and answers to these questions.

Espresso Filtration

One shot of espresso uses 1.5 ounces of hot water shot through tightly-packed coffee grounds in 20-25 seconds. With a longer extraction time, your espresso will taste burnt. Minerals don’t have the same impact on espresso that they have on regular coffee. The espresso does have enough time to absorb the same quantity of minerals. Espresso filtration systems contain softening resin to remove calcium deposits that cause hard water. Some systems allow you to bypass the filter to retain some of the minerals.

Coffee Filtration

Unlike espresso filtration systems, coffee filter systems do not contain softening resin. Coffee has a slower brew and longer contact with the grounds than espresso. The sodium from a softening resin would mix with the calcium minerals and slow extraction time. Over-extraction leads to bitter coffee. But there’s no need to put the flavor of your coffee at stake for the sake of your equipment. Scale clings to the polyphosphates in the scale inhibitor of a coffee filter system rather than attaching to your equipment.

What are the perks of coffee filtration?

A filtration system removes contaminants and other particles that shouldn’t be in the water and allows us to fully benefit from the wonderful tastes and aromas of coffee, tea, and espresso. Water filtration for lattes, cappuccinos, and other beverages is where art meets science. You filter water to reach the perfect balance of water to bean or tea leaf for the best extraction of flavor. If you don't, it will be hard to distinguish the distinct flavor of your roast from any ordinary restaurant.

The Science of Coffee and Espresso Filtration

Calcium and magnesium are dissolved metals with a negative charge. These minerals improve flavor and extraction efficiency for great coffee. In water, hardness minerals bond with the positively-charged flavor molecules. However, at high concentrations, these minerals cause carbonate, which creates scale that damages your coffee equipment.

Alkalinity determines water’s ability to balance pH, and total hardness is the number of calcium and magnesium minerals. Both elements can aid or hinder extraction efficiency. Too much alkalinity and hardness restrict heat transfer, and too low alkalinity causes corrosion on your metal equipment.

The Art of Coffee and Espresso Filtration

All coffee connoisseurs base the quality of their beverages off these four characteristics:

  1. Aroma
  2. Flavor
  3. Acidity
  4. Body

Aroma and flavor go hand-in-hand. Often, the aroma is a good indicator of flavor, but this is not always the case. You never want to serve your customers coffee resembling a mocha-scented candle, with a delicious smell but an unpleasant taste. Acidity is the bite that you feel on the tip of your tongue while sipping coffee or espresso. Coffee or espresso with high acidity has a tangy kick, while coffee with low acidity is smooth and mellow. The coffee body refers to the density, whether the drink is thick and lingering or light and mild.

The four characteristics of coffee are suited to taste and work together to make your coffee and espresso one-of-a-kind. Water, or what’s in your water, influences each of these characteristics. Relying on water straight from the tap is risky. Unfiltered tap water can leak nasty particles and chemical by-products into your beverages and ruin the distinctive flavor from your bean. Hardness minerals (calcium and magnesium) can ruin your coffee and espresso equipment but also aid extraction from the grounds. Balance is key. Too much hardness produces a bitter beverage, but too little magnesium gives you a flat, boring cup of coffee. Tea, on the other hand, should be low in mineral content.

Visit our blog for a guide to commercial food and beverage filtration.

Coffee and Espresso Filtration System Reviews

Everpure ESO 7

Espresso Filter System

“Very good and very clean water. I am glad bought the right one. I love it.” -- Michael U.

3M BREW125MS Coffee & Tea Filtration System

Commercial Coffee Brewing

“So far, so good. Water tastes great, and filter change is great and easy. Company is perfect.” -- Nathanael I.

Browse coffee, tea, and espresso filtration systems by brand: 3M Aqua-pure | Everpure | Selecto Scientific

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