A couple of years ago, we published a method for making your own water recipes, using concentrated mineral solutions, diluted with deionised water, to make a range of waters with different hardness and alkalinity. This post updates that, with new recipes that allow you to easily target a specific GH and KH in your water.
We’ve also build a web app called the water calculator which allows you to work out what will happen if you add minerals to existing water, rather than just deionised water. This will be useful to anyone in soft water areas who would like to remineralise their tap water, for example.
The Concentrate Recipes
You’ll need the following before you start:
- Baking Soda – NaHCO3, Sodium Bicarbonate (not to be confused with baking powder)
- Epsom Salts – MgSO4.7H2O, Magnesium Sulphate.¹
- Deionised/Distilled/Ultra-pure water
- Scales (accurate to 0.01g)
- 3 x ~1L water containers (preferably glass, and odour/residue free). Two containers are to make the concentrates in; the third is to mix your final brewing water in.
The Buffer Solution
Dissolve 1.68g of sodium bicarbonate in 1L of deionised water. This creates a solution with a KH (as CaCO3) as close as we can get to 1000ppm.
The Hardness Solution
Dissolve 2.45g of Epsom salts in 1L of deionised water. This creates a solution with a GH (as CaCO3) of 1000 ppm.
Create Your Own Water Recipe Using Deionised Water
Using these two solutions with deionised water is very simple. To get your desired KH and GH, you can simply use that number of mls of each solution, then make the total volume up to 1L with deionised water.
Mineralise Pre-existing Water
If you prefer to add hardness or buffer to existing water, perhaps to take advantage of the calcium or other minerals already in the water, then you can use this calculator to work out what the final KH, GH, and TDS of your water will be. This is helpful if just want to boost the hardness of your favourite bottled water, for example, or to mineralise your tap water if you live in a soft water area.
To use this calculator, measure the KH and GH of your existing water (and optionally your TDS), then put these numbers into the calculator along with the amounts of each solution you plan to use.
You’ll see that adding 10ml of a solution doesn’t simply increase KH or GH by 10, like it does with distilled water. This is because the solutions themselves dilute the water that you started with. By tweaking the amounts of each solution that you use accordingly you should be able to work out what amount will get you your target GH and KH.
Why Are These Recipes Different?
Our previous solutions were designed to give you 1g/L of magnesium or bicarbonate ions, respectively. However, this is not the way that we usually measure hardness and alkalinity.
Rather than give the concentration of the ions directly, both hardness (GH) and alkalinity (KH) are usually measured in calcium carbonate equivalents. In other words, it tells you how many parts per million of calcium carbonate you would have, if all the hardness or alkalinity was due to calcium carbonate alone.
It’s measured this way because simple drop test kits can’t distinguish between calcium or magnesium ions, so it’s easiest to assume it’s all calcium. This means that when we start using magnesium or sodium salts to tweak the water, we need to do a bit of maths to convert those amounts into CaCO3 equivalents.
To make it easier for you to experiment with different hardnesses, we’ve altered the recipes to aim for a specific KH and GH instead. This means that you can easily target any GH or KH you like, with no conversion required.
The Water Recipes
These are the original Barista Hustle water recipes, updated for use with the new concentrates.
Recipe 1 – Melbourne
- 11.5g Buffer
- 23.7g Hardness
- 964.8g DI water
This is a close approximation to Melbourne water. This is very “soft” water, low in mineral content, and useful for those long filter brews or cuppings drawn out over five to ten minutes. Would also help with those darker espresso roasts that don’t need as much help extracting out flavours.
Recipe 2 – WOC Budapest
- 40.1g Buffer
- 51.2g Hardness
- 908.7g DI water
This is in the target range for the World Brewers Cup in Budapest (51 mg/L total hardness as CaCO3, 40 mg/L alkalinity). In Budapest the total hardness would come from calcium as well as magnesium, leading to a different flavour outcome — competitors beware …
Recipe 3 – SCA
- 40.1g Buffer
- 68.6g Hardness
- 891.3g DI water
This is the official SCA specifications from the SCAA 2009 handbook. Similar to Budapest only the total hardness has gone up slightly. The specifications state a range of total hardness as low as 17 mg/L as CaCO3 up to 85 mg/L as CaCO3. So you could keep your buffer here constant at 40.1g and go as low as 17g of Mg solution or as high as 85g (don’t forget to subtract the total concentrates used from your DI water!).
Recipe 4 – Barista Hustle Water Recipe
- 40.1g Buffer
- 80.7g Hardness
- 879.2g DI water
The original Barista Hustle water recipe — where it all began. Add an extra 4.3g of the Mg concentrate and you’re at the top limit of the SCA specifications.
Recipe 5 – Rao Water
- 50.1g Buffer
- 75.7g Hardness
- 874.2g DI water
This is close to Scott Rao’s recommended water chemistry for brewing flavourful, balanced coffee. Slightly higher than the SCA in both total hardness and buffer, with a little more buffer than the BH recipe.
Recipe 6 – Hendon Water
- 30.8g Buffer
- 99.9g Hardness
This is close to the centre of Christopher Hendon’s and Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood’s “Ideal Brew Zone”. If you’re inclined to “dial in” some water for a particular roast, this is a good starting point.
Recipe 7 – Pretty Hard
- 35.1g Buffer
- 126.1g Hardness
- 838.9g DI water
This begins the ascent up in water “hardness”, probably better suited short brew times for filter coffee. This is starting to grab a lot out from the coffee so brew recipes would need some adaptation. This rips everything out from the coffee. So either slow down or speed up the brew time via grind adjustments, and shorten or increase your beverage weight. Dependent on the roast somewhere along those two spectrums you’ll find something tasty. Or not.
Recipe 8 – Hard dot AF
- 45.2g Buffer
- 176.8g Hardness
- 778g DI water
This is a fairly high point with pushing mineral level where you’re basically cranking the amp up to 11. Your brew parameters from the earlier water recipes would need to change a lot here.
A Note About TDS
Note that the TDS given by this calculator might not be exactly the same as the TDS you would see if you measure the resulting solution with a TDS meter. This is because TDS meters assume a certain ratio of all the ions in the water, and by adding these solutions, we’re messing with that ratio.
¹ The “.7H2O” part refers to the fact that water forms an intrinsic part of the crystal form of this salt that you can buy in the shops, which is the clear crystals called Epsom Salts. Each magnesium sulphate molecule is surrounded by seven water molecules in this type of crystal. We’re specifying this here, as the weight of the water in the crystal affects the calculations.
Lastly, a warning: don’t put remineralised water in your espresso machine unless you’re very sure what you’re doing (in which case, you probably don’t need this post!). If you create super-hard water and scale up your kettle, it’s fairly easy to fix — but descaling an espresso machine is no fun at all.
I’m just wondering if you’d know how to make a calcium chloride 1000ppm solution?
I’ve read about the different flavour qualities depending on what you get your hardness from. And since I’m only doing pour overs I’m not worried about scale.
I’d be using something like this:
Any help would be great 🙂
I know that it’s a stupid question but as a completely new to this water world here trying to make my first recipe water, I want to ask, does The mg of all the recipes refer to The Hardness Solution or to the Epsom salt? also, wich recipe would you suggest trying first?
There are no stupid questions, and that could for sure be clearer! Mg in the recipe refers to the hardness solution – I’m going to update the post to clarify, thank you.
We might be biased but the best place to start is clearly the original Barista Hustle recipe – recipe 4. It’s a pretty balanced recipe that should give good results with most coffees.
Hi, considering a lot of people doing these recipes are home baristas maybe I would be nice adding a “Storage/Safe consumption” section? Please correct if I’m wrong but I’m concerned that while using 1lt over a couple days is pretty much safe, the buffer and hardness water would get stale pretty quick so you would have to make a new batch every time.
Hi Mau, thanks for the question. You’re right they can’t be stored forever, but (assuming you start with clean equipment and clean water) they last a bit longer than a couple of days.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control, if you use sanitised containers, you can safely store water for up to 6 months in a cool, dark place (they recommend storing water below 20 °C). The buffer and hardness solutions should be no different: since they only contain distilled water and pure mineral salts, there’s nothing for microbes to grow on.
However, if there’s even a trace of contamination inside the bottle you store the water in, or anything gets into the bottle while you use it, that can allow pathogens to grow. For this reason, we recommend storing your solutions in the fridge and using them up within a month. At room temperature, we would recommend keeping them for no more than a week.
Either way, it’s important to keep the bottles in the dark, to avoid the growth of algae. If you notice any change in flavour or odour, or see any cloudiness or sediment in the bottle, discard the water immediately, and thoroughly clean and sanitise the container before using it again.
If you want to store concentrates for longer, a good option is to pre-portion them into ice cube trays or ziplock bags and freeze them. Hope that helps!
Hello, I am curious about the base water used. I don’t have a water purification system in my house and my tap water is about 220 TDS, nor do I want to be buying a lot of plastic distilled water (wasteful). Would a Zero water filter be a good substitute? It claims to get the water to a whopping 0 TDS reading.
We haven’t tested the Zero water filter directly ourselves. If it works as advertised, then yes, the water from it should be suitable for these recipes. I would recommend periodically testing the hardness and alkalinity of the water from the filter yourself using a drop test kit to make sure the filter is working as it should.
My water provider’s report has given the following key details about my water:
Calcium 71.1 mg/l
Calcium Carbonate 177.7 mg/l .. (dH of 9.96?)
Magnesium 3.8 mg/l Mg
Alkalinity 134 mg/l HCO3
By the looks of this I have incredibly high alkalinity and is probably really messing with the taste of my coffee (as I’ve always suspected) – my De’Longhi machine uses a water filter which I believe softens the water, reducing calcium and thus reducing alkalinity… would this be correct?
It also looks as though my Magnesium is incredibly low – so do you think it’d be advisable to just bump up the magnesium of my tap water with the GH solution to approximately 29 or 30 mg/l by simply adding 25ml of the solution? With regards to my alkalinity I would hope that the water filter is dealing with that, but I’m unsure to what extent it’s actually helping?
Hi Dan – we normally measure hardness and alkalinity in terms of calcium carbonate equivalents – whereas here you have concentrations of individual ions.
You can convert from this to GH/KH using our water calculator app which tells you that you have a GH of 193 ppm and KH of 110 ppm – so yes, your water is pretty hard.
What the filter is doing depends on what kind of filter it is. If it’s something like this baggie then that’s just a carbon filter and will only remove particles and some odors/chlorine from the water. I’m not sure how effective these little sacks are, I’d always prefer to use filtered water myself.
If you have a filter cartridge that you slot in, more like this one, then that probably is softening the water but Delonghi don’t give any details on what kind of softener it contains, so I can’t really advise you on how effective it is.
Since the water is already hard, I wouldn’t add more magnesium. If you don’t want to make your own water with the recipes in this post, you could use a filter jug to reduce the hardness a bit, or use bottled water. Or even, for the quickest and dirtiest solution, dilute your tap water with distilled or very low mineral bottled water.
By the way, your water may change with time, or depend on exactly where in your water provider’s network you are. Testing your own water is cheap and easy to do with a drop kit from a pet store: I highly recommend double checking the test results yourself before spending any money on filters etc.
According to my water provider their last report gave the following results:
Calcium 71.1 mg/l
Calcium Carbonate 177.7 mg/l … dH of 9.96 I believe?
Magnesium 3.8mg/l Mg
Hi there, | would like to know about a second, overlooked approach. What about taking a readily available, great tasting spring water, then diluting it down to appropriate levels using RO water?
For example, two major, readily available bottles water brands here are Nestle Pure Life and Costco Kirkland. I’m going to assume the straight water is
too rich to be used on its own. But can it be cut with RO to reach appropriate levels, and if so, what is the best approach or things to be mindful of?
Hi, thanks for the suggestion! I expect that could work. If you mix two different waters to try and target a particular KH/GH ratio then the maths becomes more complicated, but if you want to just reduce the GH/KH while keeping them in the same ratio, it would be pretty simple.
If you want to get an idea of how hard those waters are, you can use the ‘bottle calculator’ on our water calculator app to calculate the GH and KG from the mineral content on the bottle label – although bear in mind the bottle label is generally an average reading and might vary throughout the year, so better to test if you can.
The biggest problem really is that RO water is not completely pure. How close to pure it is depends on your particular RO – it might be close enough that you can more or less ignore it, or it might not. It depends on how accurate you want to be. And again, if you try to account for the hardness in the RO to come up with a recipe, then the maths becomes a bit more complicated. But it could be worth trying! If you do, let us know how you get on 🙂
Hi! Does the Epsom salt have to be “food grade,” or does any other unscented one is fine? There’s quite a jump in price between the two in my country. Great guide, thank you!
Definitely use food grade. One clever system you can use to get better value out of your concentrates is to pre-dose them into icecube trays, so you can then drop an icecube of concentrate into your brew water being careful to ensure you have the ratios measure correctly.
Hi there, I would like to know about a second, overlooked approach. What about taking a readily available, great tasting spring water, then diluting it down to appropriate levels using RO water?
For example, two major, readily available bottles water brands here are Nestle Pure Life and Costco Kirkland. I’m going to assume the straight water is too rich to be used on its own. But can it be cut with RO to reach appropriate levels, and if so, what is the best approach or things to be mindful of?
Is there a way to convert/compensate if using MgSO4 rather than MgSO4.7H2O? I dont seem to find the latter available anywhere
Unless you’re specifically buying anhydrous Magnesium Sulfate (which you would only get from specialist laboratory suppliers) then you can assume it’s MgSO4.7H2O.
If you had anhydrous, then it would give off a lot of heat when you added it to water. If you’re really, really sure that you have anhydrous, then you’ll need 1.20 grams instead.
But bear in mind, as soon as you open the pack it will start absorbing water from the air and throw your measurements off.
Hi, why not dillute those salts directly into a deionised water tank? For exemple I would like a have SCAA recipe. I’d put 2,06g of sodium bicarbonate and 1,76g of epsom salts in a 18 liters dosionised water tank (GH 68/KH 40). Is that correct? tx
Hi – it’s possible to do this in a large tank of course. However there are a couple of big difficulties: first of all, by using concentrates it’s much easier to make sure all the minerals have dissolved before using them. Stored water also needs to be used pretty quickly, otherwise you can end up with things growing in there (like algae or bacterial biofilms).
In any case, for 18L of water, you would want 1.21g of bicarbonate and 3.03g of epsom salts to get the same as our recipes above. I think you’ll find it easier (and need to do less maths) if you make slightly larger batches of the concentrate and just multiply up the recipe by 18. Good luck!
Using Magnesium Sulfate (Epsom Salt) for magnesium hardness, and/or using Calcium Chloride for calcium hardness, would the released sulfates and/or chlorides affect Kh alkalinity? (sorry if I have some terms mixed-up.)
In other words if you calculate the Magnesium and/or calcium hardness, and calculate the baking soda alkalinity in isolation of each other, is the alkalinity valid or would the freed sulfates and/or chlorides change that alkalinity from baking soda?
Hi, thanks for the question! Sulfates and chlorides do not add to alkalinity, so you can consider the bicarb separately.
Hi there, I absolutely love all of your content. I am a little confused at one aspect though.
I am re-mineralisng tap water.
The water is 58GH and 40KH. I’ve made a 1000ppm solution of Epsom salts.
I’m confused what the significance of ‘Amount of water to add (ml)’ is? If I add 30ml of the magnesium/Epsom concentrate. This should increase my GH to 86 or so. How does the amount of water affect the mineral amounts? Would more water simple reduce the concentration of the amount of minerals?
So If I took 1litre of my tap water at 58GH and 40KH and added 30ml of the Epsom salts concentrate. Would that create a GH of 86? Sorry if this is a dumb question!
Hi Ben, thanks for asking and sorry that this wasn’t clear! Your aim is to make a 1L solution in total. So if you’re using 30ml of the concentrate, then you should add 970ml of water to make it up to 1L in total – rather than adding 30ml of concentrate to 1L of tap water.
Alternatively, if you’re only using this to mineralise your tap water, then you could simplify matters by making up the concentrates with your tap water as a base as well, instead of distilled water.
If you do that, then each ml of concentrate in your final 1L will add 1ppm of hardness – so adding 30ml of concentrate to 970ml will give you 1L of water at 58 ppm. This is the approach we now recommend and use in our water app: https://www.baristahustle.com/app-archive-main/the-water-calculator/. The approach with distilled water used in this post is more suitable for people that want to make concentrates and use them to mineralise different kinds of water.
Hi there, how would I know if I would benefit from using this type of water? My tap water doesn’t taste off (Winnipeg), but is there a certain range of elements I should look at to see if they’re in a proper range? Thank you.
The key measurements are Total Hardness (GH) and Total Alkalinity (KH) which in your case are 80 and 60 – both well within the good range for coffee brewing. The only treatment your water will need is ideally some kind of carbon filtration to remove the chorine, which tastes fine in the tap water but messes with the flavour of your coffee.
Are these recipes recommended for espresso machines? If so, which is best to minimize scale? Thank you.
We don’t recommend any of these recipes for espresso machines due to the risk of corrosion. Since these recipes don’t contain calcium, they won’t form normal limescale – but without a small amount of limescale forming a protective layer, water has the potential to damage equipment.
We hope to investigate and write a post on this in the near future, so keep an eye out for future posts!
I was was reading another article in your website, published back in 2017, despite you’re sayin there’s no water recipe for brewing espresso, you’ve suggested one then, see the link below:
so, what should I do now? should I ignore the old article? help me out here please :)))
Hi, thanks for the comment and sorry for the confusion. The reason we don’t recommend using these recipes in espresso machines is that we don’t know enough about the risk of corrosion when using them long term. It may not be a problem for many machines, especially those with all-steel construction, but it’s possible that without some scale-forming potential, these recipes would cause some corrosion in certain machines. How much of a problem this type of water is in espresso machines is a matter of debate, so for now we don’t recommend them for this use simply out of an abundance of caution.
However, if you’re using water on a short term basis to brew an individual coffee like this one, then it won’t do any harm. So feel free to experiment if you like, but just make sure after you’re done that you go back to using water with a safe LSI. Once you’ve found a GH and KH level that you like, you could use the app to mineralise existing bottled water, which will give you water that has a safe level of calcium as a base, but the KH and GH level that you want.
Do you talk about corrosion due to often used aluminium boilers? Can I use these recipes safely with a fully copper espresso machine? Maintenance and descaling is not a problem.
Hi Andras, no this isn’t only related to aluminium. Copper by itself is indeed quite corrosion-resistant thanks to the oxide layer it forms, but when coupled with other metals it can be susceptible to galvanic corrosion. I don’t think I’ve seen an espresso machine made entirely of copper, but copper and brass together (a common combination) won’t generate much galvanic corrosion because the metals have similar electropotential, which means a copper and brass-only machine will be relatively resistant to corrosion.
I talk more about corrosion and why we don’t make recommendations for specific machines in this video. TL;DW if you want a definitive answer, best to check in with your espresso machine manufacturer. I hope this helps!
I don’t understand why it is necessary to create separate hardness and buffer solutions in a liter of water, then add these solutions to DI water. Why not just add the appropriate amount of sodium bicarb and epsom salt to some amount of DI water all at once? For example, if you are creating a ~0.017% solution of buffer and ~0.025% solution of hardness, why not just add ~0.3g of sodium bicarb and ~0.8g epsom salt to a gallon of DI water and call it a day?
1 gallon = 3785ml
To get the appropriate ratios of buffer and hardness, you would need to add 305ml of the hardness solution and 152ml of the buffer to 3328ml DI (3785ml – 457ml) water. Hypothetically, 0.017% of the buffer is sodium bicarb, which yields 0.26g (152ml x 0.017 = 0.26g) and 0.025% of the hardness is MgSO4 (305ml x 0.025% = 0.76g). Assuming negligible displacement, these figures should yield the same concentration as the original recipe.
Am I missing something vital here?
Hi Joseph – yes, there’s no reason you couldn’t make a single batch in one go as you suggest (I didn’t check your maths, but the principle is solid). We suggest using two concentrates for two reasons:
Firstly, it’s easier to measure the chemicals accurately this way with the kind of scales baristas typically have access to – if you weigh out a larger mass, your percentage error is smaller. With a smaller amount of liquid it’s also easier to mix the chemicals thoroughly to make sure they dissolve.
Secondly, having two separate concentrates allows you to tweak your water recipe as you go along – you might find that different recipes suit different coffees, and having access to two concentrates allows you to ‘dial-in’ your water recipe on the fly. If that’s not important to you, then you could use a single concentrate bottle.
I would love to try and play with different mineral content in water, but I am not sure how the measures I have translate into KH, GH, TDS and so on.
My measurements from the water supplier:
Conductivity (mS/m): 19
Alkalinity, HCO3 (mg/L): 46
Chloride, Cl (mg/L): 29
Sulphate, SO4 (mg/L): 7
Calcium, Ca (mg/L): 23
Magnesium, Mg (mg/L): 1,7
Hardness, calculated (dH): 3,5
Would the GH be based on the hardness of 3,5 dH (around 62,3ppm CaCO3), KH based on the alkalinity (not sure hot to calculate it ), and TDS estimated from conductivity?
I read about there being some linear correlation between the conductivity and TDS, with this 19mS/m value being between 95-140 TDS ppm depending on scale. Which scale to choose?
Would rather try to remineralise my tap water instead of working with deionised water.
Also, would a zero water filter work to produce almost deionised water with their 5 step filtration system?
Thank you in advance for the assistance.
Hi – yes, you can calculate GH from the hardness and KH from the alkalinity numbers there.
The ‘Bottle Calculator’ from our Water Calculator App can crunch the numbers for you in this case: Just plug in the numbers for Ca, Mg, and HCO3 and it will tell you the GH and KH – in this case, GH = 64.4, KH = 37.7 – not a bad starting point.
We would generally recommend focusing on the GH and KH, and not worrying too much about the TDS / conductivity readings. Especially if you are remineralising your water, then the TDS readings become meaningless (they assume that the proportion of the various ions in water is normal, which is not the case once you start adding minerals).
The Water Calculator App can also help you with mineralising your tap water.
I would also strongly recommend taking your own GH/KH readings rather than relying on the supplier. It’s very easy / cheap to do, and you might find your water supply varies.
Finally, I’m not familiar with the Zero water filter. If it works as they claim, then you should be able to use it as base water for mineralising, but I would suggest you make your own measurements of the output water.
Thanks for such a clear and helpful resource!
Maybe a little off-topic, but have you had any experience/seen any data around whether pushing water hardness upwards can help offset the reduced extraction achieved with lower brew water temperatures (eg, at high altitudes)? I imagine the effects of “temperature” and ions might differ with respect to specific molecular interactions, but maybe it’ll help a bit.
Hi Rocky – hardness definitely helps with the extraction of certain flavour compounds, but it’s not clear that it has such a strong effect on overall extraction. For example, in The SCA Water Chart, the authors say hardness is assumed to increase extraction but that they could not verify this in their own experiments with a refractometer.
If you want to boost extraction to offset the lower water temperature, you’ll probably have more luck with increasing brew time or agitation. I would also focus on raising the brew temperature any way possible: use plastic brewers to retain heat in the slurry, or larger brew sizes, for example.
Can I use “Demineralized water” for these recipes?
Yes, as long as it is food safe.
Hi, thanks for this article.
Justo to clarify: In the Recipe 4 – Barista Hustle Water Recipe, the “Buffer” is the “Buffer solution” (Sodium Bicarbonate+DI water), but what is the “Mg” referring to? Is it the “Hardness Solution” (Epsom salt + DI water) or only “Epsom salt”?
Ok it refers to the Hardness solution, the recipes are all for 1L of water.
Hey 5ku77, yes, you’ll end up with 1L of usable water, but please note, the recipes are asking you to add specific amounts of the hardness and buffer solutions to a specific amount of deionised water. (So you’re not measuring out 1L of pure water and adding the solutions to that.)
Please tell me which one of these recipes is suitable for light roast profiles? Also for medium roast specialty beans?
Hi aslan.sobati, thanks for commenting. Trial and error with several different water recipes will give you the best result. But as a rough guide, if you ever find a particular coffee tastes a bit too sharp for your palate, you may find using a water recipe with a higher KH value will help. Just don’t overdo it. We generally find a KH above 70ppm mutes the taste of most coffees. BH
Can someone here rebuttal this video? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=peX93sksu6k , this guy sells espresso machines and stresses how using distilled or RO water with added minerals is very bad for machines with PID sensors, but would probably be bad for non PID machines also. I guess you need to know chemistry, so I’m trying to understand. If I get natural spring water checked and found out exactly which minerals, and how much of the minerals are in it, and then get distilled water and add those exact minerals and exact quantities, what would be the difference between the two? As many who have been researching water probably ran into Jim Schulman’s Insanely Long Water FAQ, he summarizes at the beginning to use a certain brand of natural spring water. I’m currently using water from an RO system that adds magnesium and calcium (before this I was using tap water through a Brita with a resin pouch inside). The RO has a TDS of 60, PH of about 7.5. I haven’t checked other parameters.
It’s hard to fully evaluate the claims in the video, since they don’t name the specific mineralisation treatments they’re talking about. Limescale can form on temperature sensors (‘PID sensors’ are not a thing) and water level sensors and they should be cleaned periodically as part of normal maintenance – but a small amount of scale is normal.
In general, you’re right that adding the correct minerals to distilled water can make an absolutely identical product to tap or softened water. Remineralisation kits often include different minerals though, which may have different effects on machines – you can see some examples in this post. Similarly, we don’t recommend our own water recipes for espresso machines as they don’t include calcium.
If you want to check your own RO and be sure it’s safe, then you’ll need to do a bit more testing. You’ll need a calcium test kit and an alkalinity (KH) test kit – you can find both of these in pet stores that sell aquarium equipment. Depending on how the mineralisation part works, you may also find that the mineral content varies depending on how heavily you us the system – so make sure you check that out too.
You can then plug the numbers into our Water Calculator and check that your LSI is in a safe range. If so, and everything tastes good, then you’re golden.
Oh no – these water recipes not recommended for espresso machines… I’ve got an ECM Synchronika and have been using the SCA recipe for a few months now, but just saw your note here about not using these recipes for machines. Have you got any recipes that I can use in mine?
Thanks and all the best!
Hi – at the moment, we don’t: but we are going to do some research into the risks of corrosion and aim to write a post about this in the near future. In the meantime, I recommend the approach outlined above: use mineral water (or filtered tap water) with a reasonable amount of calcium as a base, then tweak it as needed by adding small amounts of minerals using the Water Calculator App as a guide. Double check the LSI of your resulting water after mineralising, and you should be good to go!
Can I use this recipe to make my own water but use RO water instead of distilled water?
Hi Tony, we’ve found pure RO (that has not been bypassed) has a TDS of about 11ppm. So yes, it’s a good base water so long as your RO gives you a way to isolate the water coming directly our of the RO membrane. But we certainly advise you to take GH and KH readings of the base water first, before you use it in your machine.
Thanks for this post guys, really useful.
I’ve tried Rao’s recipe over distilled water. V60 brew time went from6 minutes, almost irrespectively of the grind size used (things barely changed even when grinding much coarser). I’ve searched online extensively for this and didn’t find anything – and pretty sure I got the weights right (using an Acaia lunar). Did you ever experience this? What could be the cause?
I don’t understand how you obtained the amounts of salts required for 1000 ppm buffer and hardness solutions. In other words, how did you work out 1.68g and 2.45g per liter for baking soda and Epsom salt respectively? Here is my calculation:
The chemistry/math is simple. Take hardness solution (MgSO4) as an example. The percentage of Mg+ in MgSO4 by weight is the atomic mass of Mg+ (24) divided by the atomic mass of MgSO4 (atomic masses of Mg, S, O being 24, 32, 16 respectively, this comes out to be 24+32+16*4=120). Therefore, the percentage of Mg+ in MgSO4 is 24/120=20%. Then taking any amount of Epsom salt, to work out how many grams of Mg+ there are, we just need to multiply by 20%. Therefore, there is 2.45g * 20% =0.49g of Mg in 2.45 g of Epsom salt. Dissolved in 1 liter of water gives us a solution with Mg at 490 ppm, not 1000 ppm. A similar calculation for the buffer solution also yields a different concentration than 1000 ppm. Am I doing something wrong? I have not touched chemistry in 15 years.
Hi – the confusion here is that these are designed to give hardness (as CaCO3) of 1000ppm, rather than a magnesium concentration of 1000ppm. We explain this a little more in this post: https://www.baristahustle.com/blog/what-can-we-use-to-remineralise-water/
I love this post! I’ve read and re-read it multiple times.
What should the recipe be to achieve:
~95 mg/l Magnesium Sulfate
~45 mg/l Calcium Citrate
~10 mg/l Sodium Chloride – (so 10 mg/l of chloride)
Hi, I would really love to learn to remineralise the water in my local area as it just seems more sustainable for me. Firstly, if remineralising your local tap water do you still need to use de-ionised/distilled water to make up the concentrates? Secondly, I have my water stats here but I’m just not sure what my GH, KH and TDS are as I think we have different names for it in Ireland!
Calcium Hardness (mg/l) 27.9
Magnesium (mg/l) 0.6
Potassium (mg/l) 0.3
Calcium (mg/l) 10.2
Total Hardness (mg CaCO3/l) 11.2
Clark English Degrees 2.0
French Degrees 2.8
German Degrees 1.6
NI Hardness Classification Soft
I would really appreciate any guidance. Thanks in advance!
Hi Matty, thanks for the question.
Regarding your stats, it looks like your general hardness (GH) is 28ppm (which is 1.6 degrees). My guess is what they’ve called ‘total hardness’ there is actually your KH at 11ppm. ‘Total hardness’ normally means GH, I think this is a mistake.
I hadn’t realised this before, but if you just use your supply water to make both your concentrates and dilution, you’ll get the desired hardness – plus whatever is already in your water. So if you follow our recipes, but add 28ppm less hardness and 11ppm less buffer when you mix it, you should end up with the results you’re looking for.
I’d recommend a carbon filter to remove chlorine and other odours though – and it’s a good idea to test your water each time you mix and not rely on municipal testing, since water can be variable, and test kits are not that expensive.
Using the tap water to create the concentrates makes so much sense. And it is way easier to calculate how much to add of each concentrate. You should add this as an option on the section where you write about remineralising soft water.
Thanks for the tip. This will make my workflow much easier!
Hey guys thank you for the updated recipes. I was using the Barista Hustle Recipe all the time. Now I found out about this updated version.
I‘ve used this water recipe for approximately 3 years with my Bezzera Unica and had no problems with scale/ corrosion so far.
Will these „new“ versions be safe to use in an espresso machine?
Thank you on advance!
I am hoping someone can shed a little light as I have been getting a lot of conflicting information from various sources.
I have an RO system with the following filters:
Stage 1 – Sediment Pre-filter
Stage 2 – Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) filter
Stage 3 – Ultrafine TFC RO membrane (300 litres per day 1)
Stage 4 – Carbon polishing Post-filter
Does the base water need to be deionised (effectively distilled water) by adding another stage 5 Ion Exchange filter. Before creating the above water recipes?
Thanks a lot.
Hi Mark. Thanks for posting the question! I bet there are many users out there trying to figure out what is appropriate filtration and what is good enough.
Although the recipes mentioned in the post are based on ‘pure’ water (0ppm) and using ‘calculator 1’, you can easily mix recipe water with an ‘almost pure’ RO product water. My personal RO system’s product water is around 12ppm, where GH is 12ppm (mostly calcium).
If you’re able to carry out a diluted titration test for GK and KH, you can figure out what your RO product water contains, too.
With that number in hand, head back into the post and look for the paragraph ‘Mineralise Pre-existing Water’. You’ll find a calculator called ‘Remineralisation Calculator 2’, which is designed to work with an existing mineral content in your water. Here, in my case, I would be subtracting the amount of calcium I have (12ppm) from the target amount of magnesium.
If you want to re-create the exact water recipes mentioned in the post, then yes, you need to start with a ‘pure’ water.
To get your RO system producing pure water, I would recommend you contact a local water filtration expert and get their advice on what type of filtration you need. Unless you distill your water, it is very difficult to produce ‘pure’ water.
Hello, thank you for the article, can you please let me know if Im doing this right? If I wanted to make Hendon’s recipe for one gallon, is the method correct as followed?
Hendon Water Recipe as listed in the article for 1 liter
869.3g DI Water
(1 Gallon = 3.78541 Liters)
Buffer: 30.8 * 3.78541 = 116.59g
Mg: 99.9 * 3.78541 = 378.16g
Water: 3290.66 (this is calculated as 1 Gallon = 3785.41 g/ml, 3785.41(1 Gal) – 116.59 (volume of Buffer) – 378.16 (volume of Mg) = 3290.66 ml of water after displaced volume)
116.59 + 378.16 + 3290.66 = 3785.41 (1 gal)
Rather concerned that the 2nd calculator doesn’t work and is outputting incorrect data. It is incorrectly varying the final calculation based on the size of how much of the existing water is added.
For example, if we input that no hardness or buffer solution is used, and simply vary the amount of existing water to add, it is suggesting that the output ppm of the resulting water is changing, which is clearly incorrect.
Hi Bruce, thanks for the question, good spot. That field (‘Amount of water to add’) was accidentally coloured blue but isn’t actually supposed to be editable – it’s just supposed to tell you how much water to add to make it up to 1L after you add a certain amount of concentrate. If you leave that cell unedited then the calculator should still give you correct results. We’ll update the calculator so that line isn’t blue to make it clear.
If you want different quantities to 1L, then you’ll need to multiply your recipe accordingly. Hope that helps!
Ran into this same issue…thought the spreadsheet was wrong, but luckily spotted this exchange in the comments. So just a reminder to make that change to the spreadsheet!
This article is great thank for you putting this together, as someone new to this I had a few questions:
For the above Budapest WOC mix do you mix the hardness and buffer solutions or the buffer and epsom salts?
Once the concentrates are made how many ml do you add to 1 gallons; should you target 150 PPM?
After creating the buffer solution I had to add more baking soda to get the PPM to 1000; are store bought TDS detectors accurate or should I stick to the concentrations outline above?
Hi Tim, You will find all the answers to your questions in The Water Course. https://www.baristahustle.com/education-products/single-course-sales/course-the-water-course/ Just to clarify, the hardness is achieved by using Epsom salts.
Would scaling these recipes up to multiple liters/gallons be as simple as multiplying the buffer, magnesium, and DI water up to your desired total? Or do the amounts need to be adjusted further for larger quantities of water?
Hey Robin, for sure these recipes scale up and down. Just note that we don’t advise you leave very large quantities of water sitting around in storage for reasons of hygiene.
Is it possible to make the hardness solution using calcium sulfate (gypsum) in place of the epsom salt. If so, how many g/L?
Hi Jamie, In cases where you have corrosive water that is very soft, working with Gypsum might help to create a slightly positive LSI index. But there is a major risk of causing too much limescale buildup with this approach so you need to proceed with caution. To get at better understanding of working with LSI, we go into detail about it in the Water Course. We also recommend the Water Geek app for android. https://www.baristahustle.com/education-products/single-course-sales/course-the-water-course/
Hi, thanks for the recipes!
Quick question, do I need to shake the solution to make sure it is mixed properly, or can I just wait to let it dissolve by itself? Thanks.
Hi Leonardy, Epsom salts and bicarb of soda are readily soluble in water but it’ll speed up the process to give your concentrates a shake when you are preparing them for sure.
can any one help me how to measure the kh and gh of existing bottle water/tap water?
Hi imagin4ry, we cover this topic extensively in The Water Course https://www.baristahustle.com/education-products/single-course-sales/course-the-water-course/
The titration kits for GH and KH can be found at most shops that sell water filters and — surprisingly — almost every aquarium shop on the planet.
Hey BH, just wandering what”the book” is? It’s referred to in the original post under the “method” section. I’d like to read further about this. Super interesting stuff!
Also, can I keep the “buffer”, “hardness” and a bottle of the BH mixed water in the fridge for any length of time? Or should it always be done fresh everyday.
What about the freezer? You could dose what you need into a little ice tray and add a cube as and when you require.
Hey, i have a knot in head.
What should be the final ppm of the crafted water?
Hi Chris – don’t try to measure the ppm with a conductivity meter. These assume a normal ratio of ions in (tap) water, and won’t give you an accurate reading for this recipe.
Quick question. Baking soda is made up of sodium and bicarbonate at 27% sodium the rest bicarbonate. So if we have 50g of the buffer in 1 L of water isn’t it only 36.5ppm of bicarb and 13.5ppm of sodium. Is this correct thinking? This also applies to the epsum salt also.
We’re talking about ppm in CaCO3 equivalents, not the concentration of bicarbonate ions itself. We explain this a little more in this post: https://www.baristahustle.com/blog/what-can-we-use-to-remineralise-water/
Also, note that 1g in 1L of water is 1000ppm. Hope this helps!
Hi Gordon – Deionized water by definition has a pH of near 7 at 25C (77F) initially. When it comes into contact with the atmosphere it will absorb C02 and form carbonic acid, which will lower the pH. It sounds like you are using either distilled water; or RO water that naturally has low pH. Note that measuring pH can be tricky and is highly temporal. Also, the neutrality point of 7 is only true at 25C/77F. Meaning that as water temperature changes, so does the neutrality point. For example, the neutrality point of water at 200F is 6.14 pH. So at 200F, a pH of 6.14 would not be acidic.
Did you find an answer to this question, was wanting to do the same thing.
You first need to find out the form of the mineral. For potassium bicarbonate , manufactures never state, after talking with a lot of people it seems that it is crystaline and natural no added water so “anhydrous” . There is maths included in another BH post –https://www.baristahustle.com/blog/what-can-we-use-to-remineralise-water/
this nice post will tell you how much to add to 1 ltr DI water for your conecntrate. I have found with the maths included:
100.115 divided by 50,000 x 1000 = 2g per litre
Hope this helps
I’ve begun crafting water for espresso using the above as a guide and, so far, I’m pleased with the results. It truly is amazing how great an impact the water chemistry has on the extraction!