So, you’ve done all of the research on which espresso machine is best for you and after what seems like forever, you decide on a gorgeous direct plumbed espresso machine of your dreams. So why should I worry about the water?
Scale deposits are due to high levels of carbonate hardness in your water which can cause several issues, the least of which is unpleasant tasting coffee and the lack of crema in your espresso. More importantly, the scale build up can cause your machine to stop working properly and can be very costly to repair. Lime scale build up can often times lead to a failed heating element, as well as problems and the breakdown of other crucial internal components of the machine. It is our recommendation that you should always use a softening/filtration system to protect the investment that you have just made.
Mavea is our brand of choice for softening and filtration. The reasoning behind this recommendation is that Mavea uses Hydrogen Ion Exchange rather than Sodium Ion Exchange, they are NSF approved, easy to use and replace, and come compact in just 1 cartridge that both softens and filters your water.
The Mavea filtration technology is an optimized mix of activated carbon and ion exchange resin. These two components work together with the unique cartridge shape to improve water taste and reduce carbonate hardness and other contaminants such as chlorine, cadmium, copper, mercury, atrazine, simazine, benzene and tetrachloroethylene. Water is split within the filter head and the by-pass water feeds over activated carbon with the mainstream water flowing through the ion exchange resin. The result is 100% of the water is treated for taste, color, and odor as well as the removal of scale causing minerals which prevents buildup.
Mavea also offers a Flow Meter which is a vital component to have for anyone interested in purchasing a plumbed in espresso machine. The Flow Meter measures the amount of water that passes through your filter/softening system and softening systems are rated to remove a specific number of grains of hardness. Based on the hardness of your water, i.e. the number of grains of hardness per gallon, and the number of grains of hardness your system is rated to remove, you can calculate the number of gallons of water your system will soften. Simply divide your systems capacity by the number of grains of hardness per gallon in your water and the result is how many gallons of water your system is capable of softening. Enter that number into the meter and it will count down in 1/10th of a gallon increments. Once it reaches zero the filter capacity is exhausted, the capacity is displayed as negative and flashes alerting you to change the filter. In addition, a timer indicates the recommended replacement of the filter cartridge by causing the residual capacity to flash after a maximum of 12 months. This ensures the filter cartridge is being changed in a timely and effective manner.
It's important to not overlook the need for an adequate filtration and softening system due to the price tag because the cost of repairing an espresso machine with scale build up will cost you tenfold.