Coffee Machine Water Filters

New to coffee filtration? Read the introduction at the bottom of this page. Alternately, give us a call or shoot through an email for some friendly advice. 

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Coffee Machine Water Filter Systems

Coffee machine water filters are speciality products designed to reduce contaminants which can impact the taste and odour of your coffee, or interfere with the coffee extraction process.

Coffee water filters will usually also contain media to remove or alter the form of dissolved minerals and salts in the water. This protects your coffee machine from scale build-up and/or corrosion.

Clarence Water Filters stocks a wide range of high-quality water filter systems ideal for Espresso Coffee machines.

Our coffee filtration systems give both professional and hobbyist baristas the best quality water that is necessary to make the perfect cup of coffee.

Read on to learn more or get in touch with us today for some friendly advice. 

Why The Quality Of Your Water Matters

The quality of your water is critical when it comes to making a great-tasting coffee.

Why? Because water is the primary solvent in a cup of coffee, which makes it responsible for extracting the flavours and aromas from your favourite coffee bean.

Failing to use high-quality water can interfere with the extraction process or even worse, add unwanted contaminants which negatively impact flavour, aroma, acidity, or mouthfeel.

Nothing worse than a cup of coffee that reeks of chlorine or has unwanted sediment particles.

Using properly treated water also protects your coffee machine from scale build-up, abrasion damage, and corrosion.

Coffee filtration is particularly important if you have an expensive coffee machine working in a commercial operating environment.

Contact us to learn more about the coffee machine filter options that are available or continue reading.

Which Contaminants Are Most Detrimental For Coffee?

The contaminants of most concern are:

Chlorine and Chloramines
Municipal water authorities use chlorine and chloramines to disinfect the water supply. Unfortunately, it gives water a poor taste/odour which impacts brew quality. Use a filter containing carbon to correct this issue.

Sediment particles can alter the mouthfeel of coffee and interfere with the extraction process. Even worse, they can cause abrasion damage to the seals and metal surfaces of your coffee machine. Treat with a dedicated sediment or multi-stage filter with a sediment wrap or sediment pads.

Carbonate Hardness (General Hardness or Temporary Hardness)
Carbonate hardness refers to dissolved calcium and magnesium carbonates. When water is heated these minerals can precipitate from the water forming scale which can block up your espresso machines lines and coat the boiler. Limescale can KILL coffee machines.

Carbonate hardness is also referred to as ‘temporary’ hardness as it ‘leaves’ the water when you boil it. Treat using a filter that contains polyphosphate or ion exchange resin (softening resin). Water conditioners can also be used to reduce scale build-up.

Permanent Hardness (Non-carbonate hardness)
There are other non-carbonate minerals and salts which contribute to hardness, including chlorides and sulfates.

These components do not precipitate from water very easily and do not form scale. This type of hardness is often called ‘permanent hardness’ as these specific minerals and salts remain in a permanent dissolved state under normal conditions.

They do pose another risk though — in high levels, some minerals/salts can cause corrosion of metal and pitting of stainless steel boilers. Can be treated with mixed bed resin.

Total Hardness
This is the combination of Permanent Hardness and Temporary Hardness.

Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)
Total dissolved solids refers to all of the organic and inorganic substances in your water, including minerals, salts, metals, cations, and anions.

TDS includes Total Hardness (Temporary Hardness + Permanent Hardness) and any other dissolved solids in the water. High levels of TDS can cause corrosion and pitting in stainless steel boilers. Can be treated with mixed bed resin.

Other Chemicals
Trace amounts of chemicals can sometimes make it into the municipal water supply, including PFAs, pesticides, herbicides, volatile organic compounds, and petrochemicals. Fortunately, most of these contaminants can be easily reduced using carbon filtration.

Interested in learning more about how coffee machine filters remove contaminants?

Read our blog post Why Having A Coffee Machine Water Filter Is Essential.

The Importance of Retaining Mineral Content In Coffee Water

The risk of scale build-up and corrosion may make you think that removing all of the carbonate minerals — however, that is not ideal.

Removing 100% of the mineral content in your source water will result in a very flat tasting coffee without much character.

That’s why coffee filters aim for partial reduction of temporary and/or permanent hardness.

The goal is to set hardness at a level where your coffee still tastes great but scale build-up occurs at a much slower rate.

That’s the reason why manufacturers like Brita include adjustable filter heads in their Quell range, which allow you to limit the amount of water flowing through the ion exchange resin.

This lets you set the hardness at a point where your machine is protected, your coffee tastes great, and your filter has a decent lifespan.

FIltration Systems – Installation Types

Coffee filtration systems can be installed in several different ways. The most common options are:

  • Plumbed In
    The filtration unit send water directly to the coffee machine. This is the most common method for commercial and high end coffee machines, which typically have a 3/8″ water inlet connection on the machine.
  • Dedicated Tap
    The filter system connects to a dedicated drinking water tap on the sink. This tap only produces filtered cold water. A great choice if your coffee machine has a fillable reservoir or you also want to use the filter system for drinking water.
  • High Flow  
    A high flow system is plumbed directly into your standard mixer tap using 1/2″ braided lines. All of the cold water coming out of the mixer will be filtered. Simple to install and affordable. The only down side of this type of unit is that it is typically unsuitable for ion resin exchange filtration and the filter media can be depleted faster as it is used every time the cold lever is turned on.

The Four Water Types

Brita defines coffee water in the following ways:

  1. Scale Water (High Carbonate Hardness)
  2. Gypsum Water (High Total Hardness)
  3. Soft Water (Low Hardness)
  4. Salty Water (High TDS/Total Hardness)

Here is a short run down on how to deal with each water type:

1. Scale Water

Description: Contains high levels of dissolved calcium, magnesium and hydrogen carbonates/bicarbonates. In high levels, these minerals can precipitate from the water when it is boiled, forming limescale.

Most parts of Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, and Northern Territory have water with high carbonate levels. Some parts of Western NSW can also have high carbonate water.

Effect: Scale will form, which coats your heating element and internal water pipes. Can cause blockages and damage. Also impairs coffee production as your boiler may struggle to reach ideal temperature for extraction.

For low carbonate hardness: Filter with Carbon + Polyphosphate.
For medium carbonate hardness: Filter with Carbon + Softening Resin (Cation resin).
For high carbonate hardness: Filter with Carbon + Mixed Bed Resin (Anion + Cation resin).

Filter systems:

Systems using Ion Exchange Resin:

Systems using polyphosphate:

2. Gypsum Water

Description: Contains high levels of calcium, magnesium and sulphate minerals (High Total Hardness)

Effect: Causes white chalky gypsum deposits on the machine. Can negatively affect the flavour and mouthfeel of your coffee. Very high total hardness with high alkalinity can be corrosive.

Solution: For Total Hardness, filter with Carbon + Mixed Bed Resin (Cation and Anion resin) is suitable. Polyphopshate is less effective on water with high total hardness. If using a Brita system, choose from the Finest filter range as it reduces total hardness.

Filters Systems: 

Systems using Ion Exchange Resin:

3. Soft Water

Description: Contains low levels of calcium, magnesium and gypsum.

Effect: The mineral level in soft water will have a limited impact in terms of scale build-up and corrosion. However, filtration is still required to remove sediment, chemicals, and bad taste/odour from the water.

Solution: Carbon filtration is still a must. Polyphosphate or a softening resin is recommended, particularly in high volume situations or when using an expensive espresso machine.

Filter Systems:

Systems using Ion Exchange Resin:

Systems using polyphosphate:

Systems without scale reduction (sediment/chemical reduction only, soft water areas):

4. Salty Water

Description: Salty water has high levels of chlorides and sulphates.

Effect: Can negatively impact flavour by making your coffee taste salty. Can also cause damage to metal surfaces, including corrosion and pitting of stainless steel boilers.


Filter with Carbon + Mixed Bed Resin (Cation and Anion resin).
If very little carbonate hardness is present, Carbon + Anion resin could be used.


Brita Purity Finest

What is The Ideal Water For Coffee?

According to Speciality Coffee Association (SCA) the ideal water for brewing espresso coffee has the following qualities:

Characteristic Target Acceptable Range
Odour Clean Fresh / Odour Free
Chlorine None None
Calcium Hardness 50-175 ppm CaCO3 50-175 ppm CaCO3
Alkalinity 40 ppm At or near 40-70 ppm
pH 7 6-8
TDS 150 mg/L 75 to 250 mg/L

Proper filtration can help your water reach these levels, dramatically improving the quality of your espresso coffee.

It’s important to note that the ideal water does contain some hardness. That’s because calcium and  magnesium carbonates will add brightness to your coffee. Pulling all of the hardness out can result in a cup of coffee that is dull and lifeless.

Catering Equipment Filtration

We also have filters that are designed to protect domestic and commercial catering equipment like:

  • Ice makers
  • Dishwashers
  • Glass Cleaners
  • Beverage dispensers
  • Convection Steam and Combi ovens

Protects appliances used in the Home, Cafes, Bars, Pubs, Clubs and the Hospitality industries.

Coffee Machine Water Filters — Our Brands

We work in partnership with the world’s best coffee machine water filter manufacturers including:

  • 3M
  • Brita
  • Everpure
  • BWT
  • Omnipure
  • Pentair

We also stock filter housings which are compatible with standard 10″ and 20″ Double Open Ended filters. They can take a wide range of filters, including sediment, chemical and scale reducing filters.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do Water Filters Improve the Taste and Odour of Coffee?

Water filters can improve tatse/odour help in several ways.

Sediment filters will help by removing particulates which may impact mouth feel, flavour and odour. This can include contaminants like rust, dirt, sand, metal particles, silt, and algae.

Carbon filters help in two ways. The first is the reduction of chemical contaminants like chlorine and chloramines. These contaminants affect both the taste and odour of your brew,

The second way carbon filtration helps is by enhancing your water’s ability to extract flavours and aromas from the coffee bean itself. That’s because clean water is more effective at extraction.

Ion Exchange Resin reduces scale build-up in your coffee machine by removing dissolved minerals/salts and replacing them with an inert molecule. of some type. This reduces the risk of scale build-up from excessive calcium/magnesium carbonates or corrosion due to high total hardness. (Best option for moderate-high hardness or for stainless steel boilers)

Polyphopshate reduces scale build-up by sequestering dissolved calcium and magnesium carbonates. Ideal for soft and slightly hard water types.

Water conditioners change the form of dissolved minerals, so they are less likely to attach to form scale.

It’s worth noting that many coffee filters will use several types of filtration in a single cartridge. The Brita Purity C 150 Finest for example, has sediment, carbon, and resin filtration in a single unit.

What Is Limescale and Why Is It Dangerous To Coffee Machines?

Groundwater naturally contains dissolved solids including minerals, metals, and salts. When water as boiled, some of these dissolved solids can precipitate from the water.

When dissolved calcium and magnesium carbonates precipitate from the water, they create a hard crust called limescale.

Limescale is especially dangerous in coffee machines, as it can coat the heating element in your boiler and clog up the thin lines that carry hot water and steam.

At the very least, scale build-up can impair the performance of your coffee machine and impair its ability to extract flavour from the coffee beans. It will also cause your coffee machine boiler to turn on more often as it tries to maintain temperature – increasing energy consumption.

In the worst case scenario, scale build-up will completely clog internal lines or damage the boiler permanently — leading to expensive repairs or the destruction of your beloved coffee machine.

What Is Hardness?

Water Hardness refers to the level of dissolved minerals in water. There are several terms used to describe hardness including:

Carbonate Hardness (Temporary Hardness)
Primarily refers to calcium and magnesium carbonates/bicarbonates. Often referred to as “temporary hardness” as these minerals will precipitate from the water over time – creating hard limescale deposits.

Carbonate hardness leaves the water faster when the water is heated. This makes it particularly concerning for espresso coffee machines, which have an on/off heating cycle.

It’s important to note that calcium and magnesium plays an important role in adding flavour to coffee. These minerals make a cup of coffee taste brighter, so it is important to maintain some level of mineral carbonates in the water.

Carbonate hardness is usually the most important form of hardness to consider as scale is a significant issue.

Permanent Hardness
This term is used to describe the minerals which remain in the water after it is boiled, including chlorides and sulfates. Although these minerals won’t create scale, they can cause other problems like pitting of stainless steel and general corrosion (in high levels).

Total Hardness 
The combination of temporary and permanent hardness.

What Is TDS?

Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) refers to all of the dissolved minerals, salts, metals, cations and anions found in a water sample. It includes all of the minerals responsible for water hardness.

High TDS levels can be very alkaline and corrosive. High TDS water is also more likely to be scale-forming as it will contain high levels of calcium/magnesium carbonates. The chlorides found in high TDS water can also cause pitting in stainless steel boilers.

Low TDS water (below 50 ppm) can also be corrosive as it becomes be more acidic. It can attack metal and leach contaminants from the surfaces it touches.

The ideal TDS level for making coffee is about 150mg/L.

How Does Polyphosphate Reduce Scale?

Polyphosphate is a food grade substance that is capable of sequestering (locking up) dissolved calcium and magnesium ions. It makes the ions remain soluble in the water, so they cannot form scale as easily.

It is also capable of gradually stripping existing scale from the lines within your coffee machine, which is useful for older machines.

Polyphopshate is best used in situations where you have low to moderate hardness. It can be used on both domestic and commercial operating environments.

If you have moderate to high hardness, high TDS, or a stainless steel boiler, it is often wiser to use resin, as it is capable of greater hardness reduction and can also remove non-carbonate hardness.

How Does Ion Exchange Resin Reduce Scale and TDS?

Ions are molecules which have a positive or negative charge. This includes dissolved solids found in water including like calcium and magnesium carbonates (which are primarily responsible for scale build-up).

Ion Exchange Resin consists of resin or plastic polymeric beads, which hold an ion with a negative or positive charge (usually hydrogen or sodium). When water flows through the resin, contaminant ions are exchanged for the hydrogen or sodium in the resin.

Cation resins have a negative charge so will attract and remove positively charged ions like dissolved Calcium Carbonates. This type of resin is often referred to as a softening resin. It will remove most scale build-up.

Anion resins have a positive charge so will attract and remove contaminants with a negative charge including chlorides and fluorides. Although most anion resins won’t contribute to scale build-up, they can cause corrosion or metal pitting in high levels.

A mixed bed resin will contain both anion and cation resin, so it can remove all total dissolved solids. This is a useful approach for very hard water or coffee machines with stainless steel boilers, as high levels of chlorides can damage metal surfaces.

Do I Need a Water Filter For My Coffee Machine?

If you want to produce the best tasting coffee possible, then yes, you should filter your water. It will dramatically improve the taste, odour and mouthfeel of your coffee.

If you have an expensive espresso machine, then yes, you should also use a coffee machine water filter. The right filter will protect your coffee machine from abrasion damage from sediment, from scale build-up, and from corrosion of metal surfaces.

If you have a cafe, then yes, filtration is essential. It will improve the quality of your product, keeping your customers happy. It will also ensure your expensive commercial coffee machines remains protected from damage.

Will I Still Need To Descale My Coffee Machine?

Yes, you will.

Filters containing media like polyphosphate and ion exchange resin are designed to significantly reduce scale build-up. However, they are not designed to completely eliminate the minerals that can form scale (if you did that, your coffee would taste terrible).

For this reason, we still recommend routine de-scaling. This is particularly true if you are in an area with very hard water, like South Australia, Western Australia or Northern Queensland.

How Long Will A Coffee Machine Water Filter Last?

It will vary based on serval factors, including:

  • Water quality (hardness, chlorine levels, sediment levels)
  • Usage (how many cups are you making per day, is it a commercial kitchen or private residence)
  • Size of filter (large filters tend to have more contaminant reduction capacity)

In most cases, the scale reduction media is the main factor that determines lifespan. You are much more likely to deplete than have the filter clog up from sediment or reach chemical adsorption capacity.

Most filter manufacturers will specify the number of litres of scale reduction capacity on their filter specifications. For some higher end filters, like the Brita products, they will have specifications which show filter hardness reduction capacities at different hardness levels.