Reimagining the basics
High quality water for your glass, your cup of coffee, or as an ingredient in your lunch
Before Mission Heirloom launched, we knew we wanted to truly change people's standards of culinary health. With water being among the essential ingredients for survival, this was our vital beginning. We brainstormed how we could filter the purest and healthiest water while reducing our overall water consumption. Sustainability is important to us and we wanted to take on a greater role in environmental conservation.
So we enlisted the help of David Beeman, an expert in water treatment. David Beeman is a world renowned water filtration specialist, famous for designing the mechanics behind Peet's and Starbucks water system. He also helped Soma design the first plant-based biodegradable home water filter (hint! hint!). With Beeman’s expertise and ingenuity, Mission Heirloom operates the world's first non-waste reverse osmosis water filtration system.
Reworking our water supply
Reverse osmosis + zero waste + organic coconut shells + minerals + copper pipes
Many of us associate water filtration with cylindrical charcoal filters, easily recognizable by the small black flecks of charcoal often deposited into the glass of water. Charcoal filters have an activated carbon surface which sufficiently bond to organic compounds, preventing chemicals like chlorine from entering the water supply. However, impurities that have already dissolved or do not bond to carbon can escape, moving through the filter. All the more, once all the surface carbons bond with passing compounds, the filter will only catch large particles and let the remaining materials through. The short story--they’re flawed. A more remarkable water purification system uses reverse osmosis.
Reverse osmosis relies on the principle of osmosis. Osmosis occurs when solvent (a substance, often a liquid but can be a gas or solid, can retains properties capable of dissolving) moves across a semipermeable membrane from a low solute concentration to a high solute concentration. Some of you may recognize this as a necessary function in a healthy cell. Imagine a cell full of super salty water. If that cell is placed in another solution that contains less salt, water from the outside will move into the cell in order to dilute the salt concentration in the cell, just as you would add additional water to a salty soup to make a less salty soup. Once the water inside the cell has the same concentration of salt as the water outside the cell, water will stop flowing into the cell. At this point, the cell and the surrounding water have reached osmotic equilibrium.
Given no outside forces, osmosis will happen when the opportunity presents itself and it will continue until both solutions are at equal concentration. However, if enough pressure is exerted on the highly concentrated solution, osmosis can be halted and even reversed.
Our water filtration system has been built using this principle. In reverse osmosis, tap water or any other contaminated water is pushed an incredibly high pressure—greater than 500 psi—through a manufactured semipermeable membrane. Because this pressure is higher than the osmotic pressure, the solute-free water easily rushes through the membrane.
Water Filtered Through Organic Coconut
After running through the membrane, the water is filtered through a series of activated carbon filters to remove any remaining contaminants. As we mentioned before, we have too many issues with the charcoal and plastic filters and really see them as a filter of the past. We’ve upgraded to organic coconut shell. Coconut shells go through a high heat treatment, producing a catalytic activated coconut shell with a carbon porous surface capable of bonding to unwanted organic materials. These coconut carbon filters are just as effective as the coal- based filter, but are 100% biodegradable and free of any plastic-based toxins. All the organic food you love can be accompanied by water filtered through an organic device.
Our water filtration system works really well. In fact, our water is pure enough that we added some healthy minerals back, with Beeman’s advice. This helps us create the right balance of minerals to enhance the flavor of the coffee beans. It also complements the minerals in bones so we can optimize extraction of gelatin, collagen, and, more minerals. Our mix of (mostly) potassium and calcium is added back to the water at 150 parts per million (ppm). At this concentration, the water tastes better and its minerals are easier for our bodies to absorb.
Sustainability: Our Zero-Waste System
Due to the required pressure required to push the pure water out of the membrane, reverse osmosis systems can be abundantly wasteful. Some systems can use 4 or 5 gallons of contaminated water to produce 1 gallon of pure water!
The biggest difference between our reverse osmosis system and what you’d normally see at other reverse-osmosis systems, in a coffee shop or business, is that we don’t waste water! As it’s name sort of implies, a direct-reuse system collects and recirculates the excess waste water by reincorporating it with additional tap water to recycle through the system. Water that still doesn’t pass is directed to our hand washing sinks. We’re not dumping gallons and gallons of water down the drain!
(1) Reverse osmosis relies on the principle of osmosis. Osmosis occurs when solvent moves across a semipermeable membrane from a low solute concentration to a high solute concentration. Reverse osmosis uses a semipermeable membrane and applied pressure to push water particles through the membrane while preventing larger particles like salt, bacteria, and viruses.
Water is filtered through an (2) organic coconut shell filter (as opposed common charcoal and little plastic bit filters). Coconut shells are heated to create a naturally absorbent carbon surface free to bond with chlorine and organic molecules, preventing the particles from entering the water supply. 100% biodegradable, free of any plastic-based toxins, highly effective. (3) Zero waste: Reverse osmosis is effective for pure drinking water but can be wasteful as it requires incredibly high pressure. The water that doesn’t pass through is then mixed with new tap water and recirculated through the system again and rerouted to hand washing sinks. (4) Optimized minerals: We add back minerals--mostly potassium and calcium--into the water, for taste, for our health, and to maximize the extraction of nutrients in coffee, tea, and bone broths. (5) Copper pipes: All the water is transported through copper pipes. They’re new and don’t leach chemicals like PVC pipes do.