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Will Your Water Cause Scaling in a Commercial Espresso Machine?

Commercial espresso machines are a significant investment, and choosing the perfect machine(s) will benefit your coffee shop, office, or even home for years to come. However, it’s important to be aware of one of the leading causes of wear and tear on these machines: water scaling. Not sure if the water in your area will cause this type of damage? Here, we share the details on water scaling and how to protect your espresso machine. 

What Causes Water Scaling? 

As a quick recap, scale is the formation of mineral deposits that occur when water that contains calcium and magnesium is heated. As the water is heated, it combines with silica, sulfate, and carbonate, which hardens and attaches to metal surfaces. Scale is a silent problem and doesn’t significantly affect the taste of water, but as time passes, the scaling will accumulate. Without proper filtration and maintenance, the machine may suddenly begin performing poorly or stop working altogether. 

Why Is It Important to Prevent Scaling? 

Although scaling may be challenging to detect by taste alone, it’s definitely an issue that you should care about. Too much scale will cause your machine to become less efficient and will eventually lead to serious damage over time.  

How Can One Reduce Scaling? 

Since a small amount of mineral content is necessary to promote optimum extraction during the brewing process, espresso machine users will simply need to be aware of the “hardness” of water in their area. 

The buildup of scale from excess minerals happens over time, and the best way to prevent it is to be proactive and purchase a high quality water filtration system.  

The first step in selecting your water filtration system is to know the water hardness(often referred to as Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)) in your building, as this can vary widely by location.  You can check with your local municipality on its water quality standards, but it is always recommended to perform an on-site test with a simple Water Test kit to know exactly what kind of water you are dealing with.  

Once you know the water hardness of your specific location, then you can make an educated decision of your filtration needs. In a soft water scenario (low TDS) a BWT Premium or simple Carbon Filter may be all that is necessary to protect your machine.  In a medium hardness situation, a comprehensive filter with a softening cartridge may be required, instead. In an environment with extremely hard water, the only true solution is a Reverse Osmosis system, which strips almost all of the TDS from the incoming water.  Then, an optimized balance of minerals is added back into the water to get to the desirable TDS for your application.  Regardless of your water's hardness, though, investing in a filter or Reverse Osmosis System is the best way to help prevent scale build up and extend the life of your machine.

If you’re ready to purchase a commercial-grade espresso machine for your coffee shop, office, or home setting, it’s crucial to understand how water quality can impact its performance. Fortunately, the negative effects of scaling can be avoided by a proper water filtration system and regularly servicing and cleaning the machine. For added protection, you can monitor your water monthly to ensure that your filtration system is keeping your water within the manufacturer's recommended parameters. 

Interested in taking the next steps to stocking your establishment with everything you need for an excellent cup of coffee or espresso? We’re here to help you at Voltage Coffee Supply. We make it easy to shop for a wide array of products, from equipment packages to accessories (and much more). If you have any questions, please contact our team. 

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