How do you know if water is ruining your coffee machine?

Water stone

Coffee is more than 90% water. Most of us focus on coffee as a raw material in its preparation. We address where it grew, how it was processed and how it was roasted. And the properties of the water we use to make our coffee are somewhat forgotten.

We're not going to get into the high chemistry here. Let's just remember that calcium is one of the most abundant elements on earth. It's just all over the place, including water. That's not a bad thing, because it's not just the human body that can do without calcium.

But the problem arises when we startheating the water. The calcium bicarbonate starts to break down into carbon dioxide, water and calcium carbonate. The latter is what causes the deposits known as limescale in our coffee makers.

Sediment on the water reservoir as an indicator of hard water

3 indicators that limescale has entered the coffee machine

Preparation takes longer

In the case of automatic coffee makers you will know limescale in the system by the coffee taking longer to brew than it used to. This is because the heating element is not able to heat the required amount of water to the required temperature in a short time, despite the layer of limescale build-up.

The same applies to the home lever coffee machine.

Unusual coffee taste

You live with your coffee maker and may not be able to judge the changing taste of the coffee you brew objectively. For example, if a visitor tells you that there is something wrong with the taste of your coffee, try not to be offended.

Then pay attention not only to the beans, but also to the water, the filter and the whole coffee machine, including its descaling.

Reduce the overall pressure, nozzle pressure or temperature

If you've noticed something similar, limescale may be to blame . It doesn't just settle on the heating element of your coffee maker, but on other parts as well. For example, on temperature and pressuresensors. These then don't measure accurately and your machine may behave a little strangely.

If you recognise your coffee machine in the aforementioned points, it is advisable to decalcify it. Use the appropriate manual and recommended remedies. An article on cleaning and descaling an automatic coffee maker will explain the descaling process.

How to prevent limescale build-up?

  1. Use only filtered water for preparation. Whether by the kettle or by the filter built into the water tank.
  2. If you use a filter, change it in time. It has a lifespan of around 2months or 50 litres of filtered water.
  3. If you are using a filter kettle, read the packaging of the filter cartridge to see how much water it can effectively filter. Here, the endurance is generally around 100 litres.

Professional lever coffee machine

I recommend leavinga professional coffee maker in the hands of professionals and, apart from basic maintenance and cleaning, not embarking on major anti-scaling campaigns without more knowledge.

The principles of how to tell if your coffee maker is falling victim to limescale are essentially the same as those listed above.

You should have a system in place ofregular service inspections, including descaling.

This of course also applies to water filtration -timely regeneration of the catex softener is important, replacement of cartridges or filter cartridges in the case of reverse osmosis.

Risks associated with limescale inside the coffee machine:
  • Increased electricity consumption
  • Degradation of functionality due to deposits on the coffee machine sensors
  • In case of failure, possible non-recognition of warranty or more expensive service
  • Bacterial growth and associated health problems

How to determine the hardness of the water?

After reading these lines, some may argue that they havesoft water at home and that they do not need to descale their water. However, the formation oflimescale isnormal to a small extent even after thorough filtering and regular replacement of filters or cartridges.

BWT Testkit - Water Hardness Tester

Filtration never completely removes calcium from the water. Because the human body needs calcium and other minerals contained in drinking water .
Another aspect is that minerals give taste to both water and the drinks made from it. Including coffee.

However, in most of the country water ishard. The server speaks of up to 90% of households. And too much hard water is unfortunatelybad for our coffee machines.

If you own a coffee maker, try doing a home water hardnesstest . It takes a few minutes and you'll know where you stand on what care to give your coffee maker. And also what care to give tothe water that makes up the vast majority of your coffee. Whether it's espresso or cappuccino.

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