Do coffee shops in soft water areas still need water filtration?

Do coffee shops in soft water areas still need water filtration

With water comprising up to 98% of a cup of coffee and 99% of a cup of tea, the importance of filtered water to commercial operators really can’t be overstated.

As explained in one of our other blog posts on water filtration, coffee shop owners and baristas aiming to offer high quality gourmet beverages to increasingly sophisticated consumers can no longer view water filtration as a ‘nice-to-have.’ Ask any barista that’s ever entered a competition and they will tell you that in today’s tough competitive environment clean, filtered water is a basic necessity.

In that blog we discussed how temporary or carbonate hardness (which is caused when water picks up certain salts, minerals, and metals from pipes, the ground and air) is often the cause of serious issues to both the health of equipment such as espresso machines, and the flavour, aroma and appearance of freshly brewed coffee.

However, it’s widely known that water hardness varies area by area across the country, and identifying the type of water through testing and analysis is considered a good starting point towards achieving the correct filtration solution.


What’s the difference between hard and soft water?

Hard water contains a larger volume of minerals such as calcium and magnesium ions in the carbon dioxide in the water, these are collected en-route from the mains supply to the users water tap.

It is these particles that when heated during the process of brewing coffee and tea cause the build up of scale. It follows that the busier the café, coffee or tea shop the more water they use, and also the harder the water the greater the potential damage it can do to espresso machines and other everyday equipment.

By contrast soft water picks up less of these potentially harmful minerals, meaning scale and equipment damage is less likely to be a problem for equipment in the short term.


Does this mean coffee shops in soft water areas do not need water filtration?

This is a common misconception, but unfortunately not the case.

While soft water is less harmful to equipment than hard water, it does still have one major effect on coffee. As explained by Gary Norwood, Business Account Manager at BRITA Professional, “often people think because their water is soft they don’t need a water filter, but soft water still contains minerals which can have a drastic effect on the taste of your hot beverages.”

The “drastic effect” on taste that Gary refers to means untreated soft water can lead to beverages taking on a bitter taste and aroma, while the water can often look murky and unclean.

In an industry where the bar is set high, serving inferior lower quality coffee, tea, and hot chocolate can negatively affect the popularity of cafés, coffee and tea shops. After all, if consumers don’t receive the standard of coffee they have come to expect in one coffee shop, they simply walk, drive or cycle a little way down the road to the next one!


What’s the solution?

To prepare and present drinks that allow the unique flavours to shine, and in the case of coffee achieve the perfect crema on top, the solution is to filter water regardless of whether it’s hard or soft, and in the process remove a long list of taste impairing substances such as chlorine.

Brand leading water filtration manufacturers offer filters designed specifically for soft water areas, and because there are fewer minerals for these filters to remove they tend to last longer than hard water filters, resulting in lower filtration costs for coffee shop owners.

For example, BRITA’s Purity C50 Fresh will filter 12,000 litres of water before replacement is needed, as opposed to a maximum of 960 litres for the hard water Purity C50 filter.

On top of this, soft water filters remove the harmful minerals that can cause scale, meaning the chances of scale developing in equipment is reduced from very unlikely to impossible.


How can I find out the hardness of my water?

The handy water map below provided by BRITA offers an insight of what water hardness you can expect in your area, why not take a look now?

For a more detailed and accurate snapshot of the actual levels of water hardness in your area you need a water testing kit, these are inexpensive and easy to use, with clear instructions included:

How to take a water hardness test

Once you’ve worked out the exact hardness of your water, you can purchase a filter that is right for your water and set it up in a way that will allow you to produce the best quality coffee, safe in the knowledge that it won’t be actively damaging your equipment.

For more information, why not take a look at this table from BRITA which helps correctly set up any BRITA filter depending on application and hardness levels.

UK water map

Key takeaways

  • In the modern coffee industry, water filtration is a necessity, not a nice-to-have
  • Both hard water and soft water cause issues with the taste, aroma and appearance of coffee and tea, so a water filtration system is needed regardless of where you are.
  • Testing water is key to ensure your filter is set up correctly.
  • Have any further questions? Simply get in touch via [email protected] or call us on 01189 959 9204.

More choice than ever before

More choice than ever before

15,000+ Coffee machine spare parts available to order now, with fast delivery

In 2019 the coffee industry is in its 5th Wave which focuses on the business of coffee, providing excellent customer experiences, and developing & launching artisan brewing concepts. For our B2B customers, including vending operators, machine engineers, catering equipment dealers, coffee wholesalers, roasters, and retailers this means more frequent new product launches of espresso machines that are more eco-friendly, efficient and technologically advanced, with programming often being done via a supplied tablet.

This creates obvious sales and marketing opportunities for smart baristas and proprietors, and the knock-on expectation is for dealers to keep pace with the change and have access to new machines without having to wait for long, with the same expectation applying to engineers when the need for new spare parts arises.


Now stocking spares for more than 85 manufacturers

And many more!

Covering espresso machines, automatic machines, grinders, vending machines, boilers and more – every year new brands and hundreds of new Original and Compatible products are listed for specialist beverage machine engineers in the UK.

In direct response to customer demand we have added more than 380 line drawings to our website to make product selection and ordering as easy as possible by ordering directly from line drawings, these include exploded diagrams showing all relevant components to help eliminate guesswork and get the right product first time round. A lot of spares are ordered out in the field when engineers are on site so our website has been optimised to be easy to use on mobile phones and tablets.


Now stocking a huge range of vending spares

In recent years we have massively expanded our vending machine spares range from tens of parts to hundreds, including brands such as Bianchi, Coffeetek, Necta, Crane, Rheavendors, Lavazza, Cantina, Matrix, Saeco and Westomatic. We have also added a number of new Nitro coffee solutions for customers looking to take advantage of the hottest summer trend.

Besides this, all new product releases by all supplier manufacturers every year are reviewed and all common parts for new models are stocked as soon as they become available, so customers don’t need to worry about their offering (or our website) becoming out of date.

It doesn’t stop there! Jaguar stock 2000+ coffee accessories including water filtration from BRITA, cleaning solutions from Puly Caff, machine consumables, and installation items. Barista accessories, brewing kit, and grinders are available from market leading brands, and espresso machines and equipment from manufacturers including Iberital, MACAP and Bravilor.

With so much to choose from, it’s no wonder so many of our diverse customers consider us as their number one online shop for their everyday coffee equipment needs.


Still haven’t found what you’re looking for?

It does happen occasionally! And when it does we’re always ready to help. Whether you’re a one-man band, a large multinational company, or anything in between and looking to order a part or parts you can’t find, please tell us and if we can help we will.

Just give us a call or email [email protected] to let us know what you’re looking for, and one of our experienced team will source the best product for your needs based on quality, price and lead time, and will get it set it up for ordering as soon as it becomes available.


Next working day delivery available

Over 10,000 lines are stocked in our warehouses in Reading and available for next working day delivery to customers based on the UK mainland, offering peace of mind that products are available at very short notice. Please note that order cut off is 6pm.

For non-stock products and out of stock items, we set up a back order, and ship the parts out as soon as they become available, giving customers the option to take the in-stock parts right away or wait and have the order shipped complete.

As always, it’s whatever works best for the customer.


Great customer service

We do our best to make sure everything goes according to plan, but if anything isn’t quite right, or if you have a question, why not get in touch? Our customer service team has a wealth of product and process-specific experience and provide an outstanding level of service and support to all of our customers. So if in doubt, give us a call!

5 Top tips for cleaning commercial espresso machines

5 Top tips for cleaning commercial espresso machines

Bean selection, storage, coarseness of the grind and extraction time are just a few of the many variables to get right when striving to produce outstanding espresso. Yet while baristas spend a great deal of time personalising their brewing choices, often it can be at the expense of other less interesting (but equally important) aspects!

Cleaning is a great example. Though it is rarely forgotten altogether, for a whole host of reasons all too often espresso machines are either not cleaned often enough, or they are not cleaned thoroughly enough, and over time the machine starts to perform less well. The successful coffee shops that Jaguar have come to know well over the years have built cleaning processes into their daily routines, and they stick to them rigidly.

A notable trend in the UK Speciality Tea and Coffee industry is the growing popularity of 100% organic cleaning solutions, which offer highly effective solutions without using phosphates and are supplied in packaging that is either recyclable or recycled.

Think about it, aside from the brewing decisions mentioned above, what are the two key ways to making great coffee AND getting the best long term return on expensive espresso machines? The answer is cleaning! But as always the devil is in the detail and the trick is to make the most of the cleaning solutions so that they keep your machines in the best possible condition.


Tip 1: Clean your commercial machines every day

…Without exception! Commercial espresso machine cleaning solutions are designed to be used daily and are simply less effective when used less regularly. Cleaners used at intermittant intervals will leave coffee residues in the machine which will become harder and harder to remove over time and this is a frequent cause of machine damage.

If you use Automatic Coffee machines we think Puly Capucino Cleaner with it’s dual cleaning system that cleans milk deposits and also sterilises the whole system takes some beating.

For espresso machines you will need cleaning solutions for group heads, filterholders, steam arms, and coffee grinders to mention a few. Many operators find it helps to make daily cleaning as convenient as possible, and choose to buy their cleaning solutions in handy daily doses, for example, Puly Caff Group Head Cleaner Sachets.


Tip 2: Don’t use too little (or too much)

Using too little solution will probably fail to remove all coffee residues during cleaning. As with infrequent cleaning this build up will eventually become too much for the cleaner to handle and can lead to more severe issues such as machine breakdown.

It’s worth noting that while it might seem that using more cleaning solution should equal more thorough cleaning, it is essential to follow the manufacturers instructions. Many espresso machine cleaners contain potent ingredients, and using too much, too often, can cause equipment damage.

To ensure baristas are using the correct dose, many customers go for a pre-measured options as mentioned above, and we can’t recommend these highly enough.


Tip 3: Use each product only on the intended equipment

This sounds obvious but you would be amazed at how often it happens. Unfortunately there is no one-size-fits-all solution for efficiently cleaning the entire espresso machine. Modern espresso machines are complex and have numerous parts with different functions, and to get the best results you need to buy the correct cleaning solution for the intended pieces of equipment because anything else will likely be less effective.

To keep your machine clean at all times you will need at least a group head cleaner, a milk frother cleaner, as well as a general chrome or stainless steel cleaner for the machine exterior. Other cleaners worth considering for your espresso set up are grinder blade cleaners, hopper cleaners and descalers. Many customers get started with the handy Puly Caff Cleaning System.


Tip 4: Stock up on machine cleaning tools

Keeping espresso machines in top shape is much easier with the right professional quality cleaning accessories.

For group head cleaning a blanking disc will ensure cleaning powder and hot water returns up into the group head, thoroughly cleaning it in the process. Couple this with a specially designed group head cleaning brush to ensure any tough spots are cleaned thoroughly.

With steam arms, a heatproof cloth is ideal for wiping milk away immediately after each drink is served, while a pipe brush such as the Pallo Steamy Wanda is designed to slot into the steam tube and clean out any left-over milk residue.

Cloths will also help keep machine exteriors sparkling throughout the day, while a cleaning basin can be used to soak filterholders overnight, ensuring they are clean and ready for use first thing in the morning.


Tip 5: Read the manufacturer instructions for machine cleaning solutions

Finally, it is important to remember that all machines are different and therefore they have different requirements – the same can be said for cleaning solutions.

Before using a cleaning solution for the first time always read the instructions for both the solution you have bought from Jaguar and for the espresso machine you intend to use it on.

Doing this, and following the rest of the tips above, will help keep espresso machines in tip-top condition all day, every day. Only a clean machine produces the best coffee.

Looking to resell a range of espresso machine cleaning products to your customers?

Jaguar are proud stockists of Puly Caff, the European brand leader for espresso cleaning products and official long term sponsors at the UK Barista Championships, making them a real authority in the espresso equipment cleaning industry.

For more information why not head over to the cleaning section of our website? Or if you’d like to learn more, feel free to get in touch at [email protected]

Top 10 equipment ideas for new coffee shops

We have seen countless coffee shops open in our almost quarter century of operation, many of which we have been delighted to watch flourish and prosper in an ever changing and increasingly competitive environment.

Jaguar’s core audience is trade resellers in the Speciality Coffee and Tea industry, and having indirectly supplied a significant volume of coffee equipment to end users over the years, we thought it might be interesting to offer up some thoughts on the most popular equipment products for new coffee shops. We are mindful that every new coffee shop has its own unique purchasing requirements, and at a product level each one is likely to be influenced differently by brand name, product innovation, what other baristas are using,  yet at a product category level clear themes emerge, read on to find out more:

Commercial espresso machines

The number one essential piece of equipment for any coffee shop. But before you rush out to buy the most expensive machine that’s percieved to be the ‘best available’ today, consider whether it is the right machine for you and your coffee shop. Some considerations before you buy:

Capacity: will you have the footfall to justify a two or even three group machine? For many new ventures the output from a one group machine (i.e. 80 cappuccinos or 90 espresso shots per hour) will be more than adequate.

Space: where is your new machine going to sit and are you going to have space for the machine you want bearing in mind all the other essential everyday barista equipment that you’re going to need? Work out the space you have available before choosing your machine. Some models are available in a smaller size, such as the Iberital IB7 Compact, which offers the output of a standard 2 group machine without taking up as much space.

Budget: it doesn’t make business sense to jump in and make an emotional purchase by buying the ‘perfect’ espresso machine with all the bells and whistles if it offers lots of functionality that you aren’t going to use.  The extra cost of those bells and whistles can saddle start-up’s with unnecessary extra debt at what is an expensive phase in your business’ development, so work up to it. Calculate your budget and stick to it, searching out the best model within your price range.

There’s plenty of choice on offer. Make sure you assess the essentials first, e.g. single vs dual boiler, ease of operation, dialling in and servicing, and then consider the nice-to-have features such as LED lights and down lighting before you make a final purchase.

Coffee Grinders

As with espresso machines, baristas have favourite grinder manufacturers. Macap, Mazzer, Baratza, Eureka and Cunill offer professional quality grinders, while Wilfa, Kinto and Hario fill the gap in the market reserved for relatively low usage professional users and home baristas seeking an impressive machine with a small footprint.

Again, when considering what’s right for you it’s worth thinking through the following:

  • Do you run a busy city centre shop and want to grind each shot at the time of order for best possible freshness in each cup? If so have a look at On-Demand models such as the MACAP MXD XTREME, which takes some beating for those that are looking for the very best top end grinders.
  • If you expect to be too busy to grind each shot individually or are looking to spend a little less, check out a grinder with a doser hopper with either manual, timer or automatic operation.

With plenty of choice from Jaguar Espresso it’s often helpful to work out your budget first along with the functions you need and will use, taking into account practical limitations such as available space. Remember to add some domestic grinders to resell to consumers. Do the above and you are ready to start shopping! As always if you need any assistance narrowing down the options please contact us.

Water filtration

Up to 98% of coffee and up to 99% of tea is water, so filtration is an absolute must.

Coffee brewed using unfiltered water can taste bitter and have an unpleasant aroma, it can also result in inferior looking crema – add all these elements together and new coffee shops are likely to find it hard to win a reputation for quality where established local competitors already have this box ticked.

Besides this, unfiltered water will be busily (and silently!) building up limescale in your appliances. Over time the damage this causes to espresso machines and other vital equipment is likely to result in machine breakdowns and expensive repair costs – unwelcome at any time but particularly so for new coffee shops working hard to cover start-up costs and turn a profit.

With this in mind, it’s no wonder more and more coffee shop owners consider water filtration to be an essential ingredient in creating a successful coffee shop. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to resell BRITA Domestic water filters to consumers!


Equipment cleaning solutions

One of the best ways to reassure new coffee shop customers and guarantee the finest quality drinks is to keep equipment clean, creating a professional  first impression and making sure the pure natural freshly ground coffee flavours shine through every time. Here are some of the reasons why cleaning is so important:

To get years of trouble-free use from your espresso machines
Backflush the group heads daily with a high quality cleaning solution to keep water flow rates healthy to help achieve this
To get rich crema and quality extractions
Soak baskets and portafilters in a cleaning solution daily. If you have an    automatic machine use Puly Capucino Cleaner

To get milk to froth quickly, taste great and produce quality micro foam.  Keep steam wands free from milk deposits and calcium build-up ensures high quality taste and texture.


Milk Foaming Jugs

It’s no secret that experienced baristas generally agree that the best foaming jugs for making cappuccino, latte and hot chocolate are made from stainless steel. There are many different types and sizes available, so how do you choose amongst them?

Do you want to create latte art? If you want to put your own stamp on your cups of coffee you’ll need a jug with a narrow spout and a shaped handle that allows constant flow and pouring control. Motta have a superb range of jugs that are very popular with professional baristas, many who successfully practise latte art.

Do you want to reduce milk waste? Jugs with lined measurements mean baristas can accurately portion control the amount of milk they need for each drink, reducing waste and saving money. Some have lined measurements on both sides making it easy for left and right handed baristas – if this sounds good try the range from Yagua.

Are you keen to prevent cross contamination? If this is a priority our best selling etched foaming jugs are a fantastic solution. Choose from full fat, skinny, soya, or chocolate in 600ml or 1 litre sizes, or alternatively check out Milk ID Handles and Clips.

Is time of the essence? Teflon jugs are super quick and easy to clean, a real favourite with busy coffee shops.

And to get the best results don’t forget to add thermometer clips or label thermometers to your order to make sure you are steaming the milk at the optimum frothing temperature!


Many of our trade customers who resell to new coffee shops select tampers by size and brand of choice. Size breaks down into two main categories, domestic and commercial, as follows:

Domestic machines including Gaggia, Krupps, Delonghi, Sage and many more, (see the ‘what size tamper do I need for my machine?’ section of our catalogue for details) need 45mm – 58mm tampers.

Commercial espresso machines use a range of 49mm – 58.4mm tampers, fitting more than 50 brands including La Spaziale, La Marzocco, Iberital, San Remo and more.

With the size sorted it becomes a case of deciding what you need vs what you want. For example a professional barista who is tamping all day long in a busy high street coffee shop will need a comfortable, well balanced tamper and may also want the option to easily change or upgrade the handle. Motta, Espresso Gear, Crema Pro, Reg Barber offer superb ranges for professionals, including high performance competition tampers, and Jaguar stock a range of domestic tampers available in plastic, metal, stainless steel, aluminium or with wooden handle. If you have time, coffee levelling tools are also well worth considering, and so are tamper holders, seats and stands.

Brew scales

There is a vast range of brew scales for baristas to choose from so the key question is how is the end user going to use it? Will an economy scale do the trick or is an impact-resistant case needed for portability to events, competitions and training courses?

If they are to be used with V60 brewers Hario offer some great options, or if you need to weigh portafilters On Balance offer a best selling Bench Scale. All brew scales available from Jaguar are suitable for setting up and monitoring espresso machines and grinders, and then using them to keep an eye on brewing consistency.

Many scales offer extras such as timers (as with the Yagua Barista Scale), USB recharging (Bonavita Rechargeable Coffee Scale) and even Bluetooth connectivity (Felicita Bluetooth Scales).

Espresso thermometers

As with brew scales, espresso thermometers are a vital component for brewing consistency. Getting the milk heated to the correct temperature so it can be stretched just right for the drink it’s going to sit on top of, or poured into, is half the battle when producing top notch milk based coffee.

Make sure you buy thermometers with the correct stem length for your foaming jugs, and a clear face showing the optimum frothing zone to make sure it’s as quick and easy as possible to ensure milk temperature is consistently perfect.

Thermometers with clips, or stick-on label thermometers very popular with busy baristas.

Knock Boxes

Easily taken for granted the humble knock box performs an important task when disposing of used coffee pucks regardless of whether at home or in a coffee shop. Bashing out pucks into a waste bin rather than a knock box presents a few problems, for example the presence of germs, messy espresso leaking out of the portafilter on the way to the bin, and in some cases being able to find the bin!

Sturdiness, stability and capacity are deciding factors when buying knock boxes although some of this will be governed by available space and where they will be placed. This also affects the type of knock box that’s suitable, whether they are counter sunk, freestanding on the counter or floor, or placed underneath a grinder.

Resellers can choose from hard wearing counter or floor standing Crema Pro polypropylene boxes available in black, red, dark grey or burned orange. Stainless steel boxes are very popular with professional baristas and for something more stylish have a look at the stainless steel knock box with bamboo surround.

The choice available for professional users and retailing to home users include offerings from top barista brands including MottaCafelatCrema Pro and Espresso Gear, and replacement spares such as knock bars and sleeves are also readily available in case repairs are needed!

Drinks blenders

The growing list of freshly made blended gourmet drinks consumers expect to see at coffee shops means baristas need at least one blender to satisfy demand. It also opens up the opportunity to be creative with recipes, think Mojito Milkshakes, Cappuccino Cold, Frappes, Freddos, and smoothies!

A commercial model such as the popular range of Artemis Mixers is vital to handle constant demand throughout the day. While you will want to look for something easy to use (look for one-touch operation), it also needs to be fast and the right fit for the physical space available.

And finally…..

There are many other essential items of barista kit such as teaware, tamping mats, kettles, cups, mugs, saucers, glassware, and pour over brewers that are key to setting up and running a coffee shop.

If you are a coffee shop owner, or just about to take the jump, ‘Good Luck’ from everyone at Jaguar!