The unsung workhorse of your coffee shop
Hidden away behind a fridge, neglected, possibly mounted to the wall sits the humble hard working water filter. A lot of the time they sit on the floor, accumulating dust and dirt, out of sight out of mind, it isn’t a glamorous life for one of our industry's unsung heroes,
Water water water, so much has been talked about water over the last few years, and how important it is to the flavour of your coffee, after all most of the time 90% or more of your coffee is water, so it makes sense. The water filtration system you choose is critical to how your coffee will taste, but often overlooked is the work your filtration system does to protect your coffee machine from nasty stuff in the water that causes blockages and flow restrictions in the group heads and scale build up in the boiler.
Prevent the headaches
Preventative maintenance on your coffee machine can save you time, and money whilst reducing the chances of stressful breakdowns during busy service periods, and a critical element to any good preventative maintenance schedule is making sure you choose high quality water filters and replace them regularly based on the manufacturer's guidelines. It is also important to understand that those usage guidelines are just that, guidelines, lots of things can happen to your water supply throughout the course of a year, six months, a month, even a day. Construction, mains supply issues, blockages, desalination plants, all these things can impact water quality and how hard your filters have to work. If you have major construction near your shop that is likely going to put more sediment into the water supply due to vibrations from the build. This can reduce the lifespan of your filters, and mean something designed to protect you for a year ends up giving up the ghost after a few months.
Go with the flow
Often a tell tale sign that your water filters are expiring is reduced water flow out of the group heads. As the filters age their ability to reduce calcium buildup in the machine lessens, causing scale, blocked restrictors and harsh tasting coffee . A simple and effective way to test your machine each morning is to remove the portafilters and weigh how many grams of water you yield in 30 seconds for each head, they should all be similar depending on your restrictor size. If one yields considerably less then chances are it has a blockage and the restrictor needs to be cleaned or replaced. This is a good time to get down behind that fridge and check the install date on your filter set up.
Clean machine is a happy machine
At Marvell Street we log all the install dates of every water filter we install and organise when they are due to be replaced so our customers don’t need to worry about it, however that doesn’t mean that those hard working filters should be out of sight and out of mind, if your machine starts showing warning signs like slow flow rates or inconsistent volumes then maybe it’s time to check those filters, a clean machine is a happy machine. Grind with confidence!