Fixing up a "New-to-you" Batch Brewer

Hey Hustlers,

Recently got my hands on a used Curtis Batch Brewer that is in need of a tune up. Currently looking at a calcium build up issue and potentially some leaky tubes. Looking more for some tips in how to get rid of the calcium build up. Any help is appreciated.

Not too difficult an issue. Get a gallon or maybe even two of distilled white vinegar at some grocers… cheap is fine. Dilute half vinegar and half water and somehow fill the reservoir of the brewer with it. If you have aportable on demand water system (which I use for events… saves the hassle, delay, expense, of having the union guys plumb the thing into their water system) just put the dip tube from the pump into the venegar solution and let it fill the reservoir. You could let it sit overnight with the brewer cold, then plug it in and let it heat up the next day. The mild vinegar solution will dissolve most, if not all, the calcium, it being acidic, After the overngiht soak, and letting the brewer come to temperature, let that sit for a few hours, then “brew” as normal, not forgetting that, since you have no bed of drycoffee grounds to soak up some water, the airpot will slightly overflow, or very nearly so. Once the “brew” is complete, let the brewer recover, dump what’s in the airpot, brew again… maybe twice more, to make sure you flush out all the vinegar. If you are supplying the brewer with the portable pump, you coul,d after brewing maybe three batches of the vinegar solution, mix a batch of water with baking soda in it… maybe two tablespoons perthree or four gallons water, to chemically neutralise the vinegar. Run all that rhoguth the brewer, one batch at a time, then refill your supply container with clean water and brew a few more batches. Yes, lots of time has gone by, but you’re only cycling through the next batch of the acid/rinse, not taking up much of your actual time. That should remove most if not all the calcium scale.

As to the flexible hoses inside the brewer housing, take one piece off, measure for the lenghts needed, and take the removed piece to some hardware or other such supply outlet. Remember, you MUST get a food grade tubing. What works on a backhoe might not make the tastiest coffee, even if new!! Get some help from staff at the vendor to match it up sizewise and get you the lentgh you need. Most of that can easily be cut with a box cutter type knife. Might be a good idea to get some stainless worm-screw type clamps to replace the plastic pinch type clamps used by the maker. AN hour or two of your time and perhaps twenty dollars should have that brewer as good as new. And you’ll be glad you did.

I’d recommend getting the Curtic water conditioining filter that mounts on the back of the brewr’s body. Rather on the dear side (I think about $140 for the base and one filter unit). I use these and no matter where I set this up, the water tastes anywhere from acceptible to very good. I will sometimes draw an airpot full of hot water to be used for tea brewing, where the delicate flavours of the tea do not mask bad water as well as coffee can. I carry a spare filter, certain that at any time I’ll need to replace it, but so far that has remained in its box. I’ve brewed a few hundred gallons through two machines off that one filter.

Hey Ryan!

Tionico definitely gave you a good answer- I wanted to suggest this as well. You can also use citric acid powder. If you open the resevoir from the top, you can dump citric acid right in, (there are tons of products, zojirushi has one that I’ve had success with. the ratio is described on their box. Amazon sells a pack, and you can basically dump all that they give you in and its pretty much the right ratio. Anyways, just install the brewer, let it fill and heat like normal, and let it sit for a day or two just like Tionico said.

Instead of brewing to get the acidic water out, in most brewers I’ve worked with (Curtis included) there are tubes behind the metal casing that you can use to drain the whole boiler. You can drain into a bucket (make sure the machine is turned off and the water source is shut off), reconnect, refill, reheat, and drain like three times and you should be pretty much there.