Water Filtertration

sitNsip

New member
Jun 22, 2007
1
0
Deep South
I realize the importance of this, but am also clueless in this department. I realize there are companies, but cannot find any in my home town or the town where the shop will be (or surrounding areas). This is something I need to contact someone for rather than just run to Home Depot/Lowe''s for, correct? :? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Also, any ballpark figures for the Business Plan in this area would be awesome :)

Thanks SO Much

Wanda
 

CafeBlue

New member
Dec 8, 2006
121
0
Toronto
Water quality

You should contact the municipal government for the water quality report for your cafe's water supply.
Contact reputable water treatment providors in your area for an assessment and quotation. You should do this before the plumber starts work on your site in order to minimize plumbing costs.
Generally speaking, high caliber treatment systems usually include pre-filter on incoming water lines to control sediment, NSF grade filters that remove chlorine and off-tastes/off-aromas, and control toxins and things like cryptosporidia) for the beverage (filter brewer, espresso, soda lines, etc) and ice making water lines, and a softening system (either re-chargeable or cartridge type) for the espresso machine (NOT for the filter brewers). Reverse-Osmosis (RO) treatment is usually only required for very hard water supplies. RO systems usually require a "blending valve" mechanism to add a little mineral content back into the treated water - to yield brew water that results in a rich flavorful coffee that is not hampered by water quality.
I have had good experiences treating water in different regions with companies like: Cirqua, Culligan, and Everpure. Some equipment manufacturers such as Bunn-o-matic have extensive water quality databases and experience with various treatment systems, gained from dealing with international restaurant chains.
 

annevela

New member
Jun 29, 2007
5
0
Tampa, FL
Filtration System

After vetting advice from other shop owners, and roasters and books, and the BANK ACCOUNT! we've installed a $300 filter and softener combination system that works like a charm.

Originally, the plumber wanted to install a $600 filter- which we couldn't afford and still did not soften the water.

We bought a $10 test kit from the hardware store that tested for all impurities and hardness. We'd just had lead tested by the water dept.

The actual plumbing system is not the expensive part, it is the filters and the chargers but really, they will run $50 a month and it is worth it for fine, pure water that will not clog the machine or make the coffee nasty. A wonderful bonus to the system I bought is that if my preferred type of cartridge is not available I can use another brand. Also, I installed it myself,..and it was really easy, too.
 

cafemakers

New member
Nov 3, 2004
576
0
Re: Filtration System

annevela said:
After vetting advice from other shop owners, and roasters and books, and the BANK ACCOUNT! we've installed a $300 filter and softener combination system that works like a charm.

Originally, the plumber wanted to install a $600 filter- which we couldn't afford and still did not soften the water.

We bought a $10 test kit from the hardware store that tested for all impurities and hardness. We'd just had lead tested by the water dept.

Such systems give operators the illusion that water quality issues are under control, but often do not address problems specific to the water source at your location that will impact the taste of your beverages. From my experience, the $10 over the counter test kits are wildly inaccurate and address only basic parameters, such as water hardness and TDS.

pH, silicates, bacteria and other elements must be addressed to ensure quality, but often go untreated by over-the-counter home charcoal filter systems.

For the good of your business, I recommend that you dip a little deeper into those pockets and have your water analyzed by a professional, such as Cirqua or the other companies suggested above. This is one factor that differentiates average 'mediocre' coffee shop from landmark destinations.
 

annevela

New member
Jun 29, 2007
5
0
Tampa, FL
Filtration

Um, this isn't an over-the-counter home water filtration system- it's NSF, removes chlorine which water here tastes a lot of and is made to handle the higher volume of water. My pH is being brought to a 6 up from a 3! and I know what silicates are in chemistry but I don't know what they'd be doing in my water, unless you're calling dirt and minerals "silicates".

If there is bacteria in the water at an unacceptable level, then the whole city has got a big problem.

Just because something is more expensive doesn't mean it doesn't do the job the right way. Like I said, the plumber had a gee-whiz wow filter system that would have cost $600 installed but it still didn't soften.

And as far as my "Total Dissolved Solids", my water is tasting really good now where before I had too much minerally taste and sulfur smell. It works with my coffee, too.

Here's a more technical question that money can't buy- what kind of minerals do baristas here prefer in their water? Do you like a really soft FIJI-ish water, or a spring water crispness, or ?
 

cafemakers

New member
Nov 3, 2004
576
0
Custom commercial water treatment solutions are not purchased for the "gee whiz" factor or on the principal that "more expensive is better"; they supply the primarily ingredient of your beverages to a specific formula that ensures beverage taste consistency -- and do so at all times while in service. These systems are not merely Tommy Bahama designer-label water filters with gold plating for cachet, they are custom-designed to a specific source and desired output formula.

The design of typical filter systems allows for mineral particle buildup in charcoal filters and resinous cartridges -- as a result of the changing flow of water through the system, you'll find that the quality of water of your system will be very different near the end of its useable life than when new cartridges are first installed.

There is no single water treatment solution that will accept all input of water quality and output water ideal for espresso extraction and brewed coffee. The only solution is a system designed to meet the composition of water present at each of your store locations. This is one area where the average independent location can learn a great deal from Starbucks -- they build a custom system for each location to ensure consistency. If you ever have a second store, you'll want the beverages sold there to taste the same or the brand association of both will suffer.

Most water filters have received some form of NSF certification -- even the PUR home tap units. NSF is not an assurance of quality performance in a commercial environment, only a mark that uniformly recognizes a product as safe for its intended use.

Further underscoring the points made in my previous message, a pH value of "3" indicates that your tap water has approximately the same acidity as vinegar. It is highly unlikely that the readings that you have obtained are accurate; perhaps resulting from human error. Even if your "6" pH level is accurate, the flavor of your coffee has been dramatically altered from its ideal state, as would be the case if it were neutral. If correct, this is a problem that you should fix.

Unfortunately, what you perceive as "good taste" in your local market is not an indication of your water quality, you really don't know what is in it unless it is analyzed by a water specialist. In my opinion, the best water for coffee does not taste "good."

Commercial systems designed to treat water for brewed coffee and espresso typically cost between $1,500 to $3,000 -- sometimes much more in areas with unusual chemical makeup or concentration. It is possible that you reside in one of the extremely rare areas of the country that have a natural formulation perfect for its use, but again, we really don't know.
 

cafemakers

New member
Nov 3, 2004
576
0
Re: Filtration

annevela said:
My pH is being brought to a 6 up from a 3!

You are right about one thing: at a pH of 3, you do not need to worry about bacteria. :grin:
 

CCafe

New member
Aug 11, 2004
1,557
0
Des Moines, Iowa
Amen Brother!

The last time I checked just about every water filtration manufacture is NSF certified.

But yet there is still companies out there that make substandard water filtration systems. I won't name any companies off hand, but have you ever had a carbon filter blowout? You talk about one hell of a mess to clean up and if I have one more in the next year it will be too soon!

Cafemakers has made a really good point, it not cheap to solve problems. Now it can be done for less then $1,500 - $3,000 but it will be on a single machine basis. It would be better for the higher priced initial investment because in most cases it would cover all your water based appliance needs rather then a single machine.

There are other things to worry about like the ice machine, dishwasher, soda fountain, and steam trays. Bad water will take its toll on these appliances as well, and can be very costly to repair.

The one thing I do know is that water is different all over this country. One of the biggest hurdles I face is when someone is introduced to a product that was designed for low usage or for certain area's of the country. Iowa water tends to be very hard water. I seem to get a lot of customers that consulted with a company that is based in a state that has low water hardness and the company always sells them an all in one water filter that is just to small to fit the bill. The disadvantage to the customer is the cartridges life expectancy is only a couple of months versus the cost of replacement which is somewhat high. All of this could have been avoided if the water was sent off to a lab to be tested and the results sent to the company selling the product. Then they would have known to match a different system to meet their clients needs.

In the end, its the equipment that fails and the customer who is asking how this could have happened.
 
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