Hardness. Alkalinity. Buffering Potential. Saturation Index.
There are a lot of fancy and complicated terms being bandied about where water is concerned. While people are over there arguing about the pros/cons of magnesium carbonate versus calcium carbonate, you just want to make a delicious shot of espresso. We get it. That’s why we’ve started to sell a new product called Third Wave Water. It’s a no-fuss solution to getting the perfect brew water for espresso. Instead of doing a bunch of tests on your water to find a filter that will remove the perfect amount of only certain things in your water, and then having to figure out when to change your filter based on those tests and the brand and model of filter, and then having to remember to actually change those filters… Whew, I’m exhausted just thinking about it. With Third Wave Water, you just have to empty one packet into one packet of distilled water and you’re done. The only thing you have to remember is to shake the bottle before pouring it into your machine. Now isn’t that easier?
Water is complicated, sure, but the benefits of getting it right will show themselves in the quality of the espresso in your cup, and in the longevity of your machine. Is the alkalinity too low? Your espresso is going to taste acidic. Too high? It will taste muted and bland. Too much iron? I hope you like the taste of pennies.
The problem with water filtration is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Sure, it matters how much hardness your water has, but the ratio between hardness and alkalinity is just as important. So if the ratio was skewed in favor of hardness but you still needed to reduce the overall amount, you might use a conventional softener. With the ratio flipped to the benefit of alkalinity, you would instead have to use an alkalizing filter. And either way, you’ll still need to install a carbon filter for tastes, possibly a sediment filter for larger particulates. Certain things, like excessive chloride content, will also mean that you’ll be forced to invest in an expensive Reverse Osmosis System, which then has to be remineralized.