Brita Space Saver Water Pitcher

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That Oil Slick on My Coffee Just Disappeared!

Sep 22, 2000
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Eliminates oily film from coffee and tea, takes many nasty chemicals out of your water, improves taste, fits in refrigerator door.

Cons:A bit tall

Here’s a reason to use a Brita Water Filtration Pitcher…better coffee. Much, much better coffee. Surprised? So was I. Not only can you taste the difference, you can actually see it.

Is That the Exxon Valdez In Your Cup or Just Bad Coffee?
One of the few pleasures of a northern Illinois winter is the sweet smell of a freshly brewing pot of coffee. After warming your hands around the mug, it’s time to get invigorated by sipping the tasty brew, perhaps accompanied by a scone or hot blueberry muffin. I especially love a freshly ground batch of flavored coffee, like chocolate raspberry, cinnamon, or hazelnut cream. Until recently, every cup had two things in common…tantalizing aroma and a disgusting oil slick.

I always thought it was the coffee. I rationalized that oil in the coffee beans was released by the heat of the brewing process and just naturally collected on the surface. There was no getting away from it. The scum was visible in every cup. It seemed more noticeable at home than when dining out, but maybe that was due to low lighting in the restaurants, or the fact that their five carafe professional brewers were somehow superior to my little home Melitta 10-cup coffee maker. I never guessed that the secret was in the water.

What a Difference a Filter Makes
My wife, Barbara, and I became interested in water filters for health reasons. There are all sorts of nasty chemicals leaching out of the soil and into the water table. They’re the byproducts of agriculture, dry cleaning and industrial production. We love our modern way of life, but as a society we haven’t done such a good job over the last couple of hundred years in completely protecting the water supply. Our city water is protected by disinfecting it with chlorine. That’s good, because it kills bacteria that would otherwise make us sick. But it also leaves the water tasting slightly funny. Some days they crank that chlorine level so high it smells like you’re showering in a swimming pool, and the tap water tastes just awful. Some days they flush the pipes and the water comes out looking brown. Do you really want to drink that?

We bought a Brita Water Filtration Pitcher because it gives you two benefits in one. First, it filters the tap water to make it taste better and get rid of chemicals that could be harmful. Second, it lives in the fridge, so you can get an already chilled glass of pure refreshing water any time you like.

The taste improvement that comes from filtering out the disinfecting chlorine in the water is immediately apparent. Once we started drinking water from the Brita pitcher, there was no going back to getting a glass directly out of the tap. The taste improvement was so enjoyable that I wondered if it would have any benefit in making coffee. Would the strong coffee flavor simply overwhelm the effect of the water filter? I was stunned by what I saw and tasted in the first pot of coffee.

The very first thing I noticed was that the carafe of coffee was a clear translucent brown. You could see through it. There was no sediment and, amazingly, no oil slick or foam on the surface. The taste was noticeably improved, too. No matter what the brand or type of coffee, it tasted better with filtered water than when made from tap water.

How the Brita Pitcher Works
There are two chambers in the clear plastic pitcher. The top section is the tap water reservoir that is filled from your kitchen faucet. The bottom section is the filtered water, ready to pour. In between is a plug-in replaceable filter that does the magic.

What’s in that filter? There are two components. One is activated carbon that absorbs chlorine and some of those nasty chemicals from farms and factories. The other component is an ion exchange resin that works something like your home water softener. It softens the water and reduces the scale that builds up in your coffee maker and other appliances. It also eliminates 99% of any lead that might be present in your pipes and reduces mercury and copper. It’s been proven that lead causes delays in physical and mental development in children and kidney damage in adults. Too much copper or mercury can also cause kidney damage in adults.

You can read more about the specific chemicals that the Brita filter removes and their potential health risks on the Brita web site at: <A HREF= ></a>.

Inexpensive and Easy to Use
You can buy filters that attach to your faucet or are plumbed to a separate faucet and sit under the sink. The advantage of the Brita pitcher is that it is inexpensive, around $20 with one filter included, and keeps the water chilled as well as pure.

Any of the systems using charcoal (carbon) to filter the water will need to have the filter changed periodically. You don’t need to be a plumber to deal with this pitcher. Simply open the top and pull out the old filter and discard it. Soak a new filter in tap water for 15 minutes and then plug it in where you pulled out the old filter. The filters are white plastic cylinders with a groove molded into the base so you can easily align them properly. Then fill up the tap water reservoir and put the pitcher back into the refrigerator. The water will drip through the filter and into the bottom of the pitcher, where it will be waiting for the next time you want a glass of water or are ready to fill the coffeemaker.

When do you change the filter? Every 40 gallons or every 2 months, whichever comes first. To help you remember, they used to give you a static cling sticker for the outside of the pitcher that would tell you the day and month to change the filter again. Now Brita gives you a plastic cap and ring that attach to the top of the filter and act like a meter. The cap rotates slightly every time you refill the pitcher. The pointer on the cap eventually reaches a mark on the ring that tells you it’s time for a new filter.

A pack of 3 filters costs about $20. Both filters and pitcher can be bought in just about any store that sells kitchen accessories. Watch for sales and you can do even better than the prices I’ve mentioned.

Minor Aggravations
Certainly, there is nothing more convenient that just turning on the tap and fill up from the faucet. The Brita pitcher has the inconvenience of requiring filter changes, but other water filters systems do too.

The pitcher also seems to be in constant need of refilling. We selected the Space Saver model, which is 10 in. tall x 4 1/4 in. wide x 9 1/4 in. long, and holds between one and two quarts of filtered water. If you add water every other time you get a glass, you’ll always have plenty. I typically make about 5 cups of coffee at a time and have enough filtered water available.

There is a short wait if you empty the pitcher. It’s a matter of minutes for the water to drip through the filter, but it seems like forever. You shouldn’t leave the water level so low that the bottom of the filter is exposed. It needs to be wet to work properly.

I like the Space Saver model because it fits into odd spaces in the refrigerator, even in the door. The round standard model holds 2 quarts of filtered water, but is larger in diameter. There are other models with various capacities, up to the Ultra Max, a rectangular tank with a spigot that holds over a gallon of filtered water.

Since the Space Saver is tall rather than fat, it won’t fit on every shelf. It also won’t fit under the faucet if there is anything else in the sink, so I sometimes have to use a large cup to refill it from the tap.

Don’t Even Think About Taking Away My Brita
Some minor annoyances? Yes, but nothing compared to giving up the sweet taste of filtered water or lugging plastic jugs of the stuff from the grocery store. If you buy 3 filters for $20 and get 40 gallons of filtered water from each filter, you are paying about 17 cents per gallon. Plus the price of the pitcher, of course, but that’s a one-time cost. You simply wash it when you change the filter and it should last for years and years. As I mentioned before, watch for the sales and you can do better than list prices.

Would I go back to tap water now? NEVER. I don’t know what nasty chemical reaction put that slimy film in my coffee, but now that it’s gone I can’t stomach (literally) the thought of ever going back. The Brita Water Filtration Pitcher is in the fridge to stay.

Recommend this product? Yes

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