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Medium Format and Coffee

Shashin

Well-known member
These days I seldom go out without my cupholder as long as I don't have to be too conscious about weight.

Don't any of you bring your coffee on your shoots?
And people thought I was joking about that...:toocool::ROTFL:
 

beano_z

Active member
And people thought I was joking about that...:toocool::ROTFL:
Well, it turned out to be a great suggestion, and I thank you for that! The only (minor) downside is that during long exposure, when my coffee is sitting in the cupholder, I'm not able to take it out because of the vibration it'll create :facesmack:
 

dave.gt

Well-known member
Well, catastrophe averted somewhat.:)

In order to provide the coffee experience for the two of us, I decided to initially get the Keurig simply because the coffee(s) I like are too strong for my bride and I can pick up the Bialetti this weekend.

Compromise and caffeine fixed.

Now, I have been reading, and I noticed that no one mentioned the importance of water! I do not trust tap water... perhaps because of my civil engineering background. We have used bottled water for a long time around the house. But now... microplastics! What to do?

Filtered water?:facesmack:
 
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darr

Well-known member
Dave,

I use a Berkey filtration system, and IMO, the best for the price!
My water taste so good! Even better than our expensive *customized* whole house system we had in Miami previously.

Kind regards,
Darr
 

dchew

Well-known member
Well, catastrophe averted somewhat.:)

In order to provide the coffee experience for the two of us, I decided to initially get the Keurig simply because the coffee(s) I like are too strong for my bride and I can pick up the Bialetti this weekend.

Compromise and caffeine fixed.

Now, I have been reading, and unnoticed that no one mentioned the importance of water! I do not trust tap water... perhaps because of my civil engineering background. We have used bottled water for a long time around the house. But now... microplastics! What to do?

Filtered water?:facesmack:
Well Dave, you have fallen into my area of expertise. I’ve spent my whole career treating everything from residential, industrial to municipal water, both drinking water and wastewater. I assume you are on Atlanta City water...? Here is your water quality report:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1iB2CDOjjI4Cjehxuv06KuURUz_m82QyD/view

That will tell you a lot of info about your drinking water quality. As for treatment specifically for coffee, there are a few things to consider. First, your water comes from the Chattahoochee River, which means it is surface water, not ground water from wells. In general, surface water isn’t very hard, so whatever coffee machine you get should be ok with normal cleaning to avoid scale build up. Note that report does not include hardness because it is not a contaminant they are required to report. They do measure it so if you dig a bit I’m sure you can find it. Probably a few grains hard at most (<35ppm).

That leaves you with taste and odor left to deal with. For most people, that simply means removing chlorine. Just about every “point of use” system (POU) on the market, whether it is a simple Brita, the little filter on the back of your fridge or a more robust reverse osmosis system under your sink will include a carbon filter to remove chlorine and it’s associated taste. All of them should do a reasonable job removing that taste.

There are a host of other waterborne contaminants that various filters/systems remove from lead to Trihalomethane (THM) /haloacetic acid (HAC), MTBE, cysts, etc, etc. The only one that exists in your water to any appreciable level is HAC and THM. These come from the chlorination process. As chlorine does it’s work, it breaks down organics that naturally exist in the river. Those partially broken down byproducts are THMs. Many cities have trouble with that.

The one thing I tell people: if you are going to treat your water with any POU system, make sure you change the filter! Especially those tiny fridge filters, which I hate. The new refrigerators are not so bad because they now give you a way to change the filter from the front and they tell you when to change it. It’s the ones that require you to pull out the fridge I can’t stand. Just pull it off and throw it out! Carbon does a great job removing chlorine, but it also removes a bunch of other stuff. When carbon is exhausted it leaches out what was adsorbed, and your first shot of the day could be worse than what is in the raw water. So, change them religiously and don’t let them sit around unused for a month.

I prefer RO treated water, but I’m a water snob and don’t want to bother with ever having to clean the machine. Most coffee experts will tell you it is better to have a bit of hardness and TDS in the water; it makes better coffee than RO or distilled water. Atlanta City water should be pretty close to perfect in that regard. Even Starbucks (I know - eeww) has a specified range of TDS and minerals for their feed water.

Dave
 
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Bugleone

Well-known member
Dave,...Excellent post which I have printed out and put on the kitchen wall! I never drink coffee but being English I could not survive without regular tea brews especially when having to concentrate etc. Living in S.E. England near to London our water is vile,....evil tasting and very hard.....We change the all important kettle every year or even more frequently and sand appears around the spout in a couple of days from new!
 

dchew

Well-known member
Dave,...Excellent post which I have printed out and put on the kitchen wall! I never drink coffee but being English I could not survive without regular tea brews especially when having to concentrate etc. Living in S.E. England near to London our water is vile,....evil tasting and very hard.....We change the all important kettle every year or even more frequently and sand appears around the spout in a couple of days from new!
Well tea is a little different story! I do think tea benefits from purified water like RO water. Do this test we call “The Tea Test” [we in the water industry are not that creative - too much regulation ;) ]

Find some purified bottled water, not spring water. It will say something like “purified with reverse osmosis and...” Make two cups of tea right next to each other. One with your tap water and one with the purified bottled water. Look at it, and notice how lighter the purified water tea looks. Smell it; the aroma will usually be stronger and more pleasant even though it looks lighter. Now let them both sit on the counter for a few hours. If you have any hardness in your water, the tap water tea will start looking pretty nasty, while the tea made with purified water will look just like it did when you made it.

Dave
 

dave.gt

Well-known member
Wow, Dave!!!:thumbs:

You are so much more awake, energetic and productive early in the morning than I have been lately!!! :salute:Amazing information and much appreciated. So much comes to mind and I don't have time at the moment to even begin a discussion. But I will! Thanks!

Coffee awaits... and I will pull a bottle of water out of the pantry to make a quick cup. I can't wait to ask the first question though:

With so many bottled waters to choose from, I have been using Spring Water from Publix. I have only taste and convenience to go by and it is "better" to me than Kroger's purified water. I have no idea as I have simply not put for the time and effort to compare all the water options in regard to either objective or subjective tests.

For now... what are the "best/better" choices for bottled water? I will have a zillion questions about filtered and such later.
 

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
Dave and Dave,

I used filtered water (not purified), but I add some Potassium Carbonate so get a low, but nonzero, TDS for coffee taste. My steam boiler was scale-free after 10 years of use.

I claim no expertise, but this is what the coffee site I trust advises. If I should switch to RO, I will. I guess. :D

Matt
 

dchew

Well-known member
For now... what are the "best/better" choices for bottled water? I will have a zillion questions about filtered and such later.
Just like cameras, there is no "best." I will separate bottled water into four categories:

Spring Water: spring water is ground water that flows naturally to the Earth's surface / on the ground. It has some hardness minerals in it like calcium and magnesium, plus sodium, carbonates, and other elements naturally found in ground water. Spring water is usually preferred by folks who are more "taste aware," so it is generally considered the best tasting. Spring water always fascinated me because the only difference between well water and spring water is that well water has to be pumped; spring water flows naturally out of the ground. That's really the only difference, yet well water gets a bad rap while spring water is coveted. Marketing is a wonderful thing, eh?

That's not quite fair, because spring water that is bottled comes from select springs that don't have some of the troublesome contaminants like iron, manganese or sulfur. Those troublesome contaminants taste and smell bad. Some spring waters have those contaminants just like some well waters, but no one would bother bottling and selling water from those springs because, well, no one would buy it! When you build a house and dig a well, you are kinda stuck with whatever water is in the water table under the property. That's why well water gets a bad rap.

Anyway, spring water is usually considered the best tasting, but from a "safety" standpoint it is no better than city water. In fact, city water is monitored, tested and regulated more than bottled water. Anyone who thinks spring water is generally "safer" than city water is misled. There are always exceptions...

Purified Water: usually this is city water run through a combination of water treatment unit operations like backwashing filters, softening, reverse osmosis (RO) nano filtration (NF) and ultraviolet light (UV). If "safety" is your main concern, and/or you want the lowest level of contaminants in your water, then this is the bottled water I would recommend. Dasani (Coke) and Aquafina (Pepsi) both fall into this category, although Dasani adds back some minerals. I constantly put the word safety in quotes because here in the US, most water is quite safe. Even the lead fiasco in Flint wasn't that bad compared to some parts of the world where people die every day from waterborne illnesses. [please don't read that to mean our water infrastructure is fine; it needs serious attention and funding]

Distilled Water: distilled water is boiled water. This is what most people put in their irons to keep them clean. Some people say you shouldn't drink distilled water, thinking it will suck out the minerals from your body. It really is fine, just a waste of money to drink it. RO treated water (purified water) is pretty close to distilled water quality (and better in some respects). No point in drinking distilled water, but it really won't harm you.

Flavored Water: Starts out as purified water or spring water, then sugar and/or other stuff is added. Yeah, whatever...

_______

It really comes down to what water you think tastes the best; the world is your oyster! They are all essentially just as "safe"; the safety differences (including city water) are marginal at best, and "safe" relative to what and which contaminants? As far as nutrients go, even if you drink the recommended 8 glasses of water a day, the amount of nutrients you get from water is inconsequential compared to food or one glass of milk. Literally milligrams instead of grams. Drinking one type of water over another for the nutrient benefit is like hand-holding a 10-minute exposure with IBIS activated. I just isn't going to matter.
:lecture:

Dave
 
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dchew

Well-known member
Dave and Dave,

I used filtered water (not purified), but I add some Potassium Carbonate so get a low, but nonzero, TDS for coffee taste. My steam boiler was scale-free after 10 years of use.

I claim no expertise, but this is what the coffee site I trust advises. If I should switch to RO, I will. I guess. :D

Matt
I think that is a great approach for coffee. As I mentioned above, most coffee aficionados do not recommend RO water without adding back some TDS/minerals. The primary scale concerns are hardness minerals, calcium & magnesium. Iron and manganese are a problem too, but those are generally managed by the local POTW (your city water utility). If you are on your own well, then you at least want to get rid of iron, manganese and hardness, especially if hardness is more than 10 grains / 170 mg/l. Not just for coffee, but for the general benefits around the house.

Dave
 

dave.gt

Well-known member
This topic will be fun reading this weekend. I am still bugged by this example of an article because it has no real conclusion.

https://time.com/5581326/plastic-particles-in-bottled-water/?amp=true

There just doesn't appear to be much scientific data available about the safety of our water.

So, I guess for now, taste is my driver. Potassium carbonate... Matt, where does one purchase that for personal use and how is it mixed?

Although my/our ability to taste discriminately seems to diminish with age, I would prefer to be sure I don't make anymore bad cups of coffee. Life is far too short for that!!!:ROTFL:

Another correlation with medium format photography... taste! We, the discriminating connoisseurs of both vision and taste must continue the pursuit of excellence according to our preferences.:)
 
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