Water Towers that deliver boiling?

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Water Towers that deliver boiling?

Postby Aaron Ultimo on Fri Nov 19, 2010 1:05 pm

I've spoken with some of you here about this, but figured I'd open the question up to more folks. Essentially, I'm not sure if there is in existence a hot water tower for manually brewing coffee that delivers near boiling water (210-212). For instance, our Curtis tower has a 210-211 reading at the internal probe, but at the spout you'll be lucky to get 204-205 degrees. This means that by the time that water hits a preheated kettle and is delivered to a bed of coffee in a dripper you're looking at sub-ideal brew temps. Many of you out there have compensated for this by busting out the induction heaters and introducing that into your brewing process at the brew bar. The problem is that I don't want to introduce an induction heating step into our already tedious process at Ultimo. I know there are some technical issues with creating a boiler that constantly hovers at a boil, but I know it's possible. All of our espresso machines can do it. Wouldn't it be easier if there was a water tower out there that gave me a few degrees more? Does anyone know of one? I know that there are some new boilers coming out (ie. Marco Eco, et al.), but I've heard mixed reports on water temp. delivery. If anyone has any info I would love to be in the know. Thanks!
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Re: Water Towers that deliver boiling?

Postby Jim Saborio on Sat Nov 20, 2010 5:10 pm

Even if your tower delivers at 212, will it continue to do so in situations of heavy tedium? Nope. It will drop significantly.

Aside from people selling water towers, I'd expect to hear crickets.
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Re: Water Towers that deliver boiling?

Postby phaelon56 on Sat Nov 20, 2010 6:41 pm

The delta between incoming water temps and the temp of the tower is a big factor in being able to keep it high enough. I suppose a dual system where the incoming line was heated with an HX of some sort in the way that pre-heated water is delivered to brew boilers in the new generation of dual boiler espresso machines? I'd check online in the sites that sell heavy duty commercial kitchen equipment. If they don't have it then a custom system might be called for. I also think the the Buono has so-so heat retention capability - another problem.

I've been testing an 18/10 stainless cooking oil can as a pouring kettle. I found some "seconds" for way cheap with no noticeable flaws (about $20 each shipped) and love it for many reasons. Aesthetically I think it's terrific - tall, narrow, and graceful. It holds about 16 oz of water and the pouring characteristics (how well flow can be controlled) are IMO superior to the Buono. best of all - it seems to have noticeably better heat retention (I have not measured this - it's an observation and hunch.)

Downside: if one as pouring a number of cups successively the handle might get a tad hot to the touch, but I'm sure there's a clever fix for that issue if one ponders it.

http://www.chefscatalog.com/product/118 ... =BW1PF1054
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Re: Water Towers that deliver boiling?

Postby Aaron Ultimo on Sun Nov 21, 2010 3:21 pm

Jim Saborio wrote:Even if your tower delivers at 212, will it continue to do so in situations of heavy tedium? Nope. It will drop significantly.

Aside from people selling water towers, I'd expect to hear crickets.


Am I the only one interested in this? I would think that with everyone out there turning to manual brewing behind their bars that this would be a really important thing to get our hands on. Without an induction burner worked into your process my guess is that you are most definitely brewing below ideal temperatures.
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Re: Water Towers that deliver boiling?

Postby Jim Saborio on Sun Nov 21, 2010 7:38 pm

Aaron, if you have not tried an induction plate on-bar, you owe it to yourself to do so. It may add less fuss than you'd think.
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Re: Water Towers that deliver boiling?

Postby Klaus on Mon Nov 22, 2010 6:40 am

Sorry to go a bit OT but what kind of inductions plates do people use in bar? Can you point me to any websites for specific models that have been tried and tested? Thanks in advance.

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Re: Water Towers that deliver boiling?

Postby Aaron Ultimo on Mon Nov 22, 2010 8:40 am

Jim Saborio wrote:Aaron, if you have not tried an induction plate on-bar, you owe it to yourself to do so. It may add less fuss than you'd think.


I have. It's a pain in the butt. Induction plates are big and take up too much of our already limited bar space. It's another variable that I don't want to deal with or to have to train my staff to deal with. I think that it would be so much easier to have a water tower that delivers boiling. (or even better boiling and pre-dosed). But as you said earlier, it seems to be a non issue for most folks judging by the silence here. I still think this is within the realm of possibility for manufacturers out there and may even be in the works. I don't know. Hence my question, does anyone know of a solution?
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Re: Water Towers that deliver boiling?

Postby Jim Saborio on Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:25 am

Klaus,

Luke from 21st St recommended Fagor's portable cook top. We've had one for 8 months now. It is not a commercial unit, but runs all day without complaint and has not noticeably changed our electric bill. The combination of a dosing tower running at a lower temp and the induction plate have actually seemed to reduce our electric bills... even after upgrading from a 2 gallon to 5 gallon tower.

We had our guru disable the speaker on the induction top. It makes a lot of annoying beeps that seem redundant with its visual indicators.

We plan on getting a second unit soon.

-JIm
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Re: Water Towers that deliver boiling?

Postby nick on Mon Nov 22, 2010 4:19 pm

In the interest of openness and sharing, when I open my next coffeebar, and assuming I definitely want to have hot water on-hand for manual brewing or such, I'm thinking about getting a system like this (click for a closer look):

Image

Image

Gas range with three 2L kettles and integrated thermometers. They work like most gas ranges, but also have a "candle flame" warming-mode. They seem to work really well.

Seems like a good setup. I'm going to be looking in to it while we're in Korea again this week.
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Re: Water Towers that deliver boiling?

Postby Aaron Ultimo on Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:42 am

PERFECT!! :)
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Re: Water Towers that deliver boiling?

Postby Jim Saborio on Wed Nov 24, 2010 5:57 am

Nick, was they guy using this 3 burner in conjunction with with a water tower? If they made a similar unit with induction instead of gas, that would be "tight" as we say in these parts. Induction is very 21st century. My plate has 5 or 6 settings that will keep the water hovering at a temp +/- a degree. I would be hard pressed to do that with gas. Also, there is so little ambient heat created by the induction plate. If you were using the gas burners without a water tower, wouldn't the station get pretty hot? I hope you can gather more info on your trip.

Aaron, I'm not sure how this setup meets your aforementioned criteria re: training and counter space?

Question: if you get water to a rolling boil and transfer it to a reasonably pre-heated kettle, will the temp ever be ideal once the water is in the coffee bed? Even with a thorough pre-heating of the air and all things and people surrounding the brew station?

Someone once told me it won't. Let's see though. If rolling boil water fails in a "transfer to a kettle" situation, we can just give up the search for a better tower then and there, right?
-JIm

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Re: Water Towers that deliver boiling?

Postby Aaron Ultimo on Sun Nov 28, 2010 5:46 pm

I guess we could give up the search, yes. I think transferring truly boiling water works to an almost ideal temp and manages to get that extra shine out of a coffee that I don't think I'm currently getting. I guess if I had giant kettles rolling I might be able to do it that way. Maybe I should just replace my tower and set up a few induction heaters in it's place. I wonder which takes more power?
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Re: Water Towers that deliver boiling?

Postby TimNoble on Thu Dec 02, 2010 2:46 pm

Aaron,
We're interested in this too, and I don't see how this couldn't be worked out with a simple HX set up like the one on the [manufacturer's name withheld] I have in the lab... That puts out 215 degree spitting fury at the group head... Yeah, I know.
The tea spout on the GS2 similarly runs water right off the boiler, I think. That we don't mess with.
Any luck on the Buono cozy yet?
:wink:
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Re: Water Towers that deliver boiling?

Postby theotherone on Wed Mar 30, 2011 10:40 pm

Gas burners are incredibly stable. Hook on of thems up to a PID, and you have more precise temperature control. Of course it costs dollars, but gas can be throttled, electricity is just on and off.
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Re: Water Towers that deliver boiling?

Postby Andy Schecter on Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:50 pm

theotherone wrote:Gas burners are incredibly stable. Hook on of thems up to a PID, and you have more precise temperature control. Of course it costs dollars, but gas can be throttled, electricity is just on and off.


Sorry, I don't believe you're correct on this.

Electricity can be easily "throttled" by turning it on and off many times a second via a PID and an inexpensive solid state relay (SSR). This is extremely accurate, effective, and durable.

Gas can be controlled with a PID, but one needs a modulating gas valve that costs 15-20 times as much as an SSR and is far more finicky to set up.
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Re: Water Towers that deliver boiling?

Postby TimNoble on Fri Apr 01, 2011 1:13 am

Andy, Aaron, so where is the PID kit for the Bunn, Fetco, Curtis towers? Is this a reasonable fix, to augment an existing tower?
Could we get some recommendations for models that would best meet the parameters for such a work around?
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Re: Water Towers that deliver boiling?

Postby theotherone on Fri Apr 01, 2011 3:31 pm

Good point Andy, I had a long conversation with a guy about gas with PID controllers. Didn't really think that one through obviously. Thanks!
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