Getting a Bestmax Premium water filter

Last week a friend brought me a BWT Bestmax water to replace the DV8 that I had. The advantage of this new filter was that it has a built in bypass so some amount of Ca minerals that the resin in a DV8 and Bestmax replaces with Na / sodium can be mixed back in for a better coffee extraction.

Then I read that the newer "Premium" version of the Bestmax filter uses Mg(Magnesium) ions instead of Na which further enhances the water taste and subsequent coffee extraction.

Online, BWT are very brief about what exactly sets this filter apart from the rest. I find that generally, water filter manufacturers are terse in explaining the exact workings and most text has words like rich, full taste, particle-free and pleasant. 

I assume manufacturers keep the text vague for two reasons: first, the competition is not to be made any wiser and second, consumers may be taken aback by technical specifics. Anything beyond the absolute necessary, like mention of Calcium ('scales up your machine'), Sodium ('harmless') and Magnesium ('rich') would leave the impression that there's something chemical about the device and one does not want that, even though the best of coffee brews is of course teeming with delicious molecules with complicated names if you get to know them better.

Anyway I decided to get one and try it out.

At first it seemed quite difficult to find a dealer of this "Premium" version. The Dutch BWT office  referred me to a store in Amsterdam but when I visited the shop, the sales lady knew precious little about coffee equipment or water treatment.

Her colleague who is the local expert in this field was in their other shop across the street and when I emailed him with my questions I got no reply so I tried finding the filter from the Dutch BWT office.

They did not have these special products in stock themselves as they are distributed from the Belgian office but they referred me to Danny van der Kuijlen, their national representative for coffee professionals. He told me that Van Pommeren, the store in Utrecht specializing in kitchenware, espresso machines and their own roasted coffee brand, has enough of the "Premium" filters in stock so I headed there, got one and installed it at home.

Bestmax Premium ready to unpack

Some info from their website

Unpacked ready to install

A little more tech data
Measuring filtered volume

Ready to go make coffee!


In the first test of filtered and unfiltered water my friend who brought me the original Bestmax filter nor I could clearly distinguish the taste.

Over the coming days I plan to do some measurements with the pH and ppm meters as well as with hardness droplet test methods and add those findings here.

The espresso (see below) came out delicious but that may have been equally fine with the water I had before the swap. They are lovely Colombian beans that I roasted almost a week ago.


BWT is developing a Reverse Osmosis system which might be the next best thing. The water will be filtered to first be so pure as to be impossible to extract coffee with and in the next steps the minerals needed for the optimal coffee extraction will be added in the right proportions. Some specialty coffee places like Stooker in Amsterdam have a large version of this procedure, but BWT will produce a compact version, about the size of a pc box.

Before I will try that, the current filter will be able to supply about 3,500 liters of water to make coffee with. More than enough and lots of time to wonder if it makes a difference.

At least it will not scale up my machine.

PS measurements on 6 dec 2016
unfiltered 280ppm, pH 6.2
Bestmax
bypass on 1: 266 ppm, pH 5.5
out of tea water tap: 480ppm, pH 8.7

PS measurements on 31 jan 2017
unfiltered 323ppm, pH 7.9
Bestmax
bypass on 1: 262 ppm, pH 7.1
out of tea water tap: 513ppm, pH 9.2

PS measurements on 17/18 March 2017 before and after installing fresh BWT filter

Unfiltered:
Digital meter: 309 ppm
Advantage droplet method: 140ppm
Tetra droplets: kH 5.5
Digital pH meter: 7.6

Filtered, BWT a year old bypass on "3":
Digital meter: 285 ppm
Advantage droplet method: 120ppm
Tetra droplets: kH 4
Digital pH meter: 7.4

Filtered, new BWT Bestmax S, bypass on "2":
Digital meter: 267 ppm
Advantage droplet method: 180ppm
Tetra droplets: kH 4.5
Digital pH meter: 6.9

Filtered, new BWT Bestmax S, bypass on "2" one day later after allowing to soak:
Digital meter: 294 ppm
Advantage droplet method: 160ppm
Tetra droplets: kH 4.5
Digital pH meter: 7.0


PS 10 april 2017
Identical measurements of tap water and filtered water nearby in Amsterdam, at a friend's place who uses a BWT water jug looking much like the Brita jug:

Unfiltered:
Digital meter: 315 ppm
Advantage droplet method: 140ppm
Tetra droplets: kH 6
Digital pH meter: 7.5

Filtered, BWT jug:
Digital meter: 328 ppm
Advantage droplet method: 50ppm  << exceptional. Measurement error?
Tetra droplets: kH 5.5
Digital pH meter: 6.7

My test kits:



PS 27 August 2017:

Dubi Kupferberg from Israel writes this ingteresting extra information:
I checked and the local distributer of BWT only carries the regular BestMax.
I do not trust water that does not have a good taste as cold to produce a good tasting espresso, so I was only aiming to get the Premium model, as you are using.
I asked and they neither have the BestMax Premium, nor are they willing to bring it for me. :(
I also tried to check the price of buying it directly from Europe and in what I was able to find the shipping makes it rather expensive.
So I've decided to drop the idea and just go with the regular salt-regenerated softener and a carbon filter after it.
Now, as for the simple softener, I bought a few drops kits (still waiting for a TDS meter to arrive).
I measured so far the GH, KH and pH.
The results seem to be similar to what I've seen before (though a little more accurate): 
With tap water:
GH and KH are high: GH is 153 mg/l and KH is 130 mg/l. pH is 7.4. 
With the Brita C150 filter: GH is 68 mg/l, KH is 55 mg/l, but pH is 6....too acid I assume 
With the water softener (and green Pentek filter after it): GH is 17 mg/L, KH is 152 mg/L and pH is 7.6. 
The mystery was about the KH of the water softener and why it is higher than the GH. And whether the water softener is actually working or not.
So after digging up and even recalling to some extent something that I've learned in chemistry in high school a long time ago...
The KH test kit actually measures CO3- ions. But the measurement of KH as an indicator for water hardnessis based on the assumption that the water contains CaCo3 or MgCo3.
So measuring the KH  will actually measure the Ca/Mg in the water.
This is indeed true for softeners like the Brita and BWT (probably) that actually remove the Co3 apparently.
However, the salt regenerated softeners only exchange the Ca and Mg cations with Na or K cations, so the amount of Co3 ions does not change (even possibly increases slightly, as the tests show).
This is why KH values are high, but they do not reflect water hardness.
Yet, I do not know if this has any other effect on extraction as it's above the recommended value.
PS 7 Sept 2017 -- bought this BWT Magnesium Mineralizer waterfilter jug to use on the road:


Update 17 Feb 2018

Unfiltered tap water:
299ppm at 20.7ºC
pH 7.0 at 20ºC
140ppm hardness by Advantage droplet set


BWT jug filtered:
253ppm at 18.6ºC
pH 6.7 at 19ºC
100ppm hardness by Advantage droplet set


Unfiltered tap water:
299ppm at 20.7ºC
pH 7.0 at 20ºC
140ppm hardness by Advantage droplet set


BWT inline filtered:
283ppm at 20.9ºC
pH 6.9 at 20.5ºC
120ppm hardness by Advantage droplet set


Reacties

Steve Berke zei…
I enjoyed reading your work. I'll come back for more

Keep up the good work :) from CWR
Frans zei…
Thank you Steve!