(Photo: Jong Hoon Le.)
[I]f the chance to brew great coffee consistently hasn’t persuaded you to invest in a filtration system, this might: if you don’t use a water filter and softener, your espresso machine is likely out of warranty. This is universally true among the espresso machine companies, and except for those using a few soft water sources, it’s true for all cafés.
This isn’t fine-print stuff. The espresso machine manufacturers want you to know.
At the end of their manual’s long admonishment to use water filters, Slayer closes with this unequivocal line: “Damage to or failure of your machine due to inadequately treated water is not covered under warranty.”
La Marzocco’s installation manual says: “Water quality must be within the range of parameters specified in the chapter on installation, otherwise warranty is voided.”
At the bottom of their webpage laying out water specs, Nuova Simonelli takes a more positive tone, but the all caps make it clear they’re serious: BY MAINTAINING THE WATER AT THE REQUIRED LEVELS YOUR WARRANTY WILL REMAIN VALID AND ALL COVERED REPAIRS WILL BE FIXED WITHOUT HESITATION.
The map on the opposite page provides a general idea of how hard your water might be and how important filtration will be to your machine’s health, and its warranty. Local water sources vary, so get your water tested. It could save you money.
—Cory Eldridge is Fresh Cup‘s editor.