From Perfecting Coffee to Reinventing Water Filtration

Vitaloop water filtration
As a seasoned product developer, my professional journey has been marked by countless adventures, countless learnings, and countless attempts at perfecting the things I love. During one such pursuit, a quest to create the ultimate coffee experience took an unexpected detour. It was a path that led me to advocate for clean water and an enthusiast for sustainable technologies.

In the realm of coffee connoisseurs, water often takes a backseat to the aromatic beans, the grind, and the brewing method and machine. People need to remember that it doesn't matter how great coffee you buy or what coffee equipment you have if the water needs to have the right profile. The water's purity, taste, and mineral content could make or break the coffee experience.

As I researched water quality, the bigger picture of global water issues came into view. Contaminants, pollutants, the crisis of clean drinking water in many parts of the world... the challenges were vast and complex. This led me to explore water filtration technologies in detail.

As I embarked on this journey, it quickly became apparent that understanding water filtration technology needed fairly amount of effort. There's a sea of jargon and myriad filtration systems, each with unique characteristics, pros, and cons. Also, the industry is replete with claims that can sometimes be murkier than the water these devices are intended to clean.

So, I dug into the research, determined to make sense of the water filtration landscape. I want to share what I've learned in an accessible way, to help you make informed decisions about your water filtration needs.

What is clear, there's no one-size-fits-all solution. Here's a brief overview of the standard systems. What direction is the best for you depends on where you are going and what kind of water sources there is available where you are traveling to. 

There are broadly five types of water purification systems:
  1. Activated Carbon Filters (ACF): These work by adsorption, a chemical reaction where certain particles are attracted to activated carbon and bond with it. ACFs are excellent at removing organic compounds, and chlorine, and improving taste and odor. However, they don't remove bacteria or viruses. 
  • Pros: Improves taste and odor, chemicals, and heavy metals, and removes VOCs (organic compounds). Please note: The effectiveness of contaminant removal by an activated carbon filter is determined by the size and material used. 
  • Cons: Doesn't remove bacteria or viruses.
  1. Microfilters (MF): These use a physical barrier to remove contaminants. They're excellent at eliminating bacteria and parasites but cannot remove viruses. Most of them in the market claim a 0.2-micron size which is small enough to reduce bacteria and protozoa.
  • Pros: Removes bacteria and parasites.
  • Cons: Doesn't remove viruses or improve taste and odor.
  1. Ultraviolet (UV) purification: These kill bacteria, viruses, and cysts by exposing them to UV light. However, they don't remove them or any other contaminants from the water. Please note if the water is cloudy or contains particulate matter, the UV light might not reach all the microorganisms. The effectiveness of UV purification depends on the dosage of UV light. UV lamps lose effectiveness over time. Check certification and lifetime before you depend on it. 
  • Pros: Kills bacteria, viruses, and cysts.
  • Cons: Doesn't remove other contaminants. Doesn´t improve taste and odor.
  1. Reverse Osmosis (RO): This system forces water under pressure through a semi-permeable membrane, effectively removing contaminants, including bacteria, viruses, and heavy metals. It's one of the most comprehensive filtration methods available.
  • Pros: Removes all contaminants, including bacteria, viruses, and heavy metals.
  • Cons: Requires high pressure, wastes water and energy, and removes all beneficial minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Not for portable use outdoors. The taste feels “dead” or flat.
  1. Chlorine and iodine: These disinfectants kill harmful microorganisms in water, such as bacteria and viruses.
  • Pros: Both are effective, cheap, and provide lasting disinfection
  • Cons: Both affect water taste and are less effective against certain protozoa.
Vitaloop and outdoors

My conclusion

Each type of these purification methods are designed to tackle specific contaminants and is best suited for certain kinds of water sources. For example, ACF can be ideal for treating the chlorine taste from tap water, while you'd need at least an MF when drinking water from natural sources due to potential bacteria and parasite risks. A UV filter could be an added benefit or alternative if there are chances of viruses in the water.

But here's where it gets tricky. Not all filters are created equal, and performance can vary widely within each category. The lack of universal water filtration standards means companies often make bold claims about their products' capabilities. This can significantly lead to a false sense of security among users when these devices underperform in real-world conditions. Many filters in today's market also play with combinations and use small ACF and claim all the benefits of it, but in reality, it's a short-term solution for taste. 

Understanding these nuances has been an eye-opening journey. As I navigated these complex waters, I was driven by a vision: to create a water filtration device that delivers on its promises, ensuring access to safe and clean water wherever life takes you.

Our journey at Vitaloop is inspired by this vision, fueled by rigorous research, and committed to transparency. We understand the importance of providing accurate information, setting realistic expectations, and delivering high-quality products.

Join us as we continue to explore, innovate, and contribute to making clean, safe water accessible for all. Please follow us for more information on water filtration and our unique offerings. In short, Vitaloop is a water filtration solution for all kinds of water scenarios. We believe in multistage filtration and use new technology where we combine methods based on desired outcome. We have developed several kinds of filters that you can use based on your need, depending on where you are traveling, and the required health benefit. Interested in the product sign-up here.

Arild Vikingstad

Founder Vitaloop