When it comes to achieving the perfect water recipe to complement coffee, it’s a careful balancing act. Mineral concentrates, chlorine, and alkaline have a large impact on the taste profile of the water and overall coffee outcome depending on which state of Australia you live.
Over the past few years, the coffee industry has seen a large uptake in filtration systems to help purify the water responsible for extracting flavour compounds from beans. This includes reverse osmosis and ion exchange systems that extract ‘the nasties’. But more often than not, Puretec National Food Service Account Manager Simon Read says it comes with compromise.
“Filtration models are typically a double-edged sword. It’s a balance between looking after your customers and producing a great-tasting coffee, or protecting your equipment – it’s one or the other, and that to us, it is not good enough,” Simon says.
To solve this problem, Puretec, a leading manufacturer of water filtration products, has developed an Australian first: a water filtration system with Balance+ Technology, designed to quite literally ‘balance’ mineral retention and protect espresso machines from limescale at the same time.
“This filter is designed especially for coffee specialists,” Simon says. “It’s not a filter designed overseas to use in Australia. It’s designed here in Australia for the Australian market.”
For the past two to three years, Puretec has been working on this very question. Its R&D department in Adelaide, alongside a water treatment and chemistry team, came up with this solution that works effectively to react with Australia’s varied water hardness levels – different volumes of minerals rich in calcium, magnesium, and carbonates that pass through water.
“There’s no blanket approach to water quality, however this product is very adaptable to suit most conditions,” Puretec’s Ross Butcher says.
It works in most areas where limescale is present – in areas of high water hardness such as Western Australia and South Australia – and even in soft water areas where limescale isn’t as prevalent but water flavour can be enhanced further, such as Victoria and Tasmania. Ross says in some cases, expensive reverse osmosis systems have been used as a “blanket approach” in soft water areas that don’t need such a costly filtration. The solution is the Balance+ Series, an additive-free process with four key roles: sediment filtration, carbon filtration, scale prevention, and mineral retention.
The sediment filtration removes particles, sediment, rust, sand, silt, and algae to clarify the water. The carbon filtration eliminates bad taste and odours, undertakes chlorine and chloramine reduction, and reduces chemical pesticides and sulphur present in the water.
The unique Balance+ Technology then transforms calcium bicarbonate into a harmless, crystal form of calcium carbonate. After these calcium carbonate crystals are created, they cannot be dissolved in hot or cold water, thereby reducing previously formed scale in the system and preventing the formation of limescale. This naturally extends the lifespan and performance of any coffee machine.
“Balance+ Technology doesn’t change the chemical makeup of the water. It’s not about adding elements such as sodium or other chemicals into the water, and it’s not about taking anything away. It’s about preserving rich minerals like magnesium and calcium, and balancing the total dissolved solids after treatment,” Ross says.
Puretec’s Balance+ Series of water filters are available in Australia and New Zealand. Its demographic is for roasters and café businesses looking for a product to help save money when servicing a machine with limescale damage, and wanting to enhance the profile of their coffee with best-tasting water.
Puretec conducts water testing around Australia. Prior to installation, its team also assesses the water quality on site to demonstrate how the Balance+ Technology can best be utilised.
Large companies such as Grinders Coffee and Coca-Cola Australia have already started using the Balance+ Series water purifiers, as has Brendon Bonacci in his Tullamarine roastery in Victoria. The Owner of Bonacci Coffee Roasters says the decision to install the Puretec’s new product was made easy due to its quality and its attractive price point.
“We never looked back,” Brendon says. “The purifiers clean and maintain the water in our machines, which results in great tasting coffee and a clean espresso machine – all while being cost effective.”
Brendon works with coffee machines across the state and has seen a rise in damaged systems due to calcium and carbonate build-ups, a result of unfiltered water.
“You can spend thousands of dollars on an expensive coffee machine but if the water is not properly filtered, you run the risk of damaging your machine in the long run. The price of Puretec purifiers is affordable and will save you money through keeping the machine maintained at all times,” he says.
Not only do the water purifiers help clean the machines, but Brendon has noticed the impact it has on the taste and quality of his coffee.
“It’s amazing to think that the simple element of filtered water can make or break a cup of coffee,” he says. “Coffee is able to shine with the purified water as there are no hindering elements of chlorine, chemical pesticides and sulphur reduction to distract you. Just the taste of coffee in its purest sense.”
Brendon say it’s a no-brainer to keep using Puretec water purifiers in his customers’ coffee machines.
“For the price of these purifiers, and what they do for not only the quality of coffee but for the coffee machine itself, I see no reason to ever stop using and praising this product,” he says.
Puretec’s Simon, also a former café owner, is actively on the road providing advice on water quality solutions to roasters, cafés, and equipment providers. The installation itself takes no more than five minutes. Depending on the volume of coffee used each week and the water hardness level in the area, he recommends replacing the filter every six months, the industry standard. The filter is available in three sizes. The small filter can process up to 2500 litres of water, and its biggest unit up to 9700 litres of water.
Puretec started operating as a small backyard family business in 1989. The company has grown into one of Australia’s largest market leading filtration companies, with 65 per cent of its business catered towards the food service industry.
“What’s unique is that Puretec is an Australian company that understands Australia’s water requirements,” Ross says. “Puretec conducts water testing right around Australia and New Zealand, so we know better than most what businesses need to achieve the best from their products.”
For more information, call 1300 140 140 or visit www.puretec.com.au