If you are considering acquiring a BRITA filter system or if you are already a BRITA user and you have a question, why not first browse through the Frequently Asked Questions pages - we may have anticipated your questions and the answer is there.
Minerals like sodium, potassium and calcium are indispensable for a superior aroma. For water processing it is important to secure the necessary contents of minerals in coffee water for a optimal aroma.
Only cold drinking water may be used with the BRITA water filter system. Microbiological polluted water or water of unknown microbiological quality cannot be used without appropriate sterilization. Central water softeners may influence the composition of water immensely which makes it necessary to contact BRITA.
The total hardness is all dissolved calcium and magnesium ions.
The pH value may range between 0 and 14 and indicates how acidic or alkaline a substance, in this case water, is. A neutral pH value would be set at 7, values below are considered to be acidic, higher values are alkaline. Drinks like Cola and lemon juice range at a pH value of about 2.3 or 2.5 respectively. Tap water has a pH value between pH 6.5 and pH 8.5 depending on the region and the type of water. This is controlled by water suppliers.
Carbonate hardness is the quantity of calcium and magnesium hydrogen carbonates dissolved in water. When water is being heated up these salts develop scale deposits.
The ion exchange resin binds certain calcium and magnesium ions and exchanges them for hydrogen ions, thus reducing the temporary hardness of the water.
Activated carbon very effectively absorbs substances in water that cause unwanted odours and tastes.
Professional water filter-systems remove unwanted properties (e.g. chlorine) and eliminate - if necessary - unpleasant odour and taste in drinking water. Especially important is the effective reduction and control of water hardness. Scale deposits in coffee machines are thereby eliminated.
When choosing and setting up a water filter the required mixture of coffee beans and the type of coffee machine should be taken into consideration. Arabica mixtures e.g. need other water attributes than those mixtures with a high portion of Robusta beans. Coffee machines with integrated boiler have different demands than those with a continuous-flow water heater. Table-top machines without direct water connection require special water filters. Producers of water filters can give advice how to optimize coffee water. Coffee water to be used should always be "freshly filtered". Water that has been in taps or in filter for some time - (so-called stagnation water), e.g. after week-ends should be poured away. It is important to choose the right coffee machine and consider the actual needs. Moreover the installations should be maintained regularly and the hoses be replaced after around 5 years at the latest. That is why one should think of the producers of machines and water filters already at the time of planning an installation of a new professional coffee machine.
In general only water filters which are produced according to food grade quality should be installed together with professional coffee machines. The quality of the filter should be checked and certified regularly by independent institutes. The regeneration of the filters should be exclusively done by the producers. Only then the full productivity of the filter is guaranteed and a constant high quality of coffee water is assured.
The capacity of a water filter depends primarily on the quantity of carbonate hardness that has to be neutralized. The lower the contents of carbonate hardness in water and the lesser the daily quantity of water to be filtered, the bigger is the filter capacity. If a large quantity of water together with a high carbonate hardness is prevalent a filter with a big capacity should be chosen. Before every installation the carbonate hardness has to be determined with the BRITA test kit. By given charts the capacity of the water filters can be made out in liters. A water meter will show the filtrated quantity of water at any time.
Every professional water filter for coffee machines should only be operated with cold water of drinking water quality. The installation of the filter should be as near as possible to the coffee machine. The supply of water to the filter is made by a 20mm(3/4”) BSP connection (BRITA Purity filter system) or 10mm (3/8”) BSP connection (BRITA Purity C filter system). Both connection fitting and filter head have an adjustable bypass and hence are suitable for coffee and espresso machines as well as for drink dispensers. These devices are flexible and can be adjusted for individual needs. This bypass allows an adjustment of the coffee water in accordance with individual requirement. The different types of coffee machines and various sorts of coffee may be considered. BRITA will gladly make recommendation on request.
Water filters which are especially used for optimizing coffee water have so-called ion exchangers. These eliminate only certain ingredients (e.g. hardness setters, heavy metals) and take them off the water. Thus the chemical composition of water is changed in a way that no scale deposits can occur. By adding activated carbon no unpleasant odour or taste in water arises.
Heavy metals may get into drinking water through contamination (from industrial sources or even household installations) and can be harmful if highly concentrated. A reduction of lead and copper by professional water processing is therefore recommended.
Professional water filters reduce the carbonate hardness of coffee water without removing it completely. Note: A carbonate hardness portion of approx. 4 °dKH should be maintained at all times. Also the proportion of the total hardness of water should be kept high - since it is important for a full coffee aroma. In addition the pH-value should not be reduced significantly, as this will also affect the taste. All these attributes must be guaranteed during the filter operation. Only special water filters are used today to bring coffee water to a required high standard.
Coffee consists of approx. 98% water. Apart from coffee beans and the coffee machine itself, water is the most important factor for superior quality in your coffee cup. "Ideal coffee water" should neither be too soft nor too hard, with a neutral pH value. Water with a high level of carbonate hardness can lead to scale deposits which will negatively affect machine operation, service costs and energy consumption. More importantly, it will affect the taste of the coffee and lead to a "flat tasting" product with a subdued aroma. The real coffee taste and smell can then not be appreciated.