Water Quality


Completely off the Topic of Tea

Postby Marlene » Jan 24th, '06, 15:30

I checked that out a couple of months ago for my city. My water scares me 72 violations, 50 of which are serious.
My hometown has the funkyest tasting water on the planet, and is very very hard. 2 violations, both minor reporting issues.
So, good tasting water does not always mean healthy water!
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Postby Joe » Jan 24th, '06, 17:54

A list of bottled water i found on www.hibiki-an.com



"When brewing green tea, especially Gyokuro, and Sencha, it is recommended to use soft water that contains fewer minerals. Hard water is not suitable for Japanese green tea because it does not fully bring out the tea's flavor.

Recommended Soft Water

* Volvic (France)
* S.Bernardo (Italy)
* Spa (Belgium)
* Luso (Portugal)
* Norwater (Norway)
* Viking Springwater (Norway)
* Alaskan Glacier Gold Water (United States)
* Crystal Geyser (United States)
* Rocky Mountain (United States)
* Aquator (Canada)
* Bourassa Canadian (Canada)
* Japanese bottled water (mostly soft water)

Recommended moderately-Hard Water

* Valvert (Belgium)
* Highland Spring (United Kingdom)
* Naya(Canada)"
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not to beat a dead horse

Postby cyenobite » Feb 6th, '06, 18:48

I remembered this post thread after reading this on yahoo...

I don't know how yahoo archives their news items so by the time you read this I hope the link is still valid.
Here's a clip from the article that somewhat scares me... My tap water is looking better and better.
Cyen
>>>
More fossil fuels are used in packaging the water. Most water bottles are made with polyethylene terephthalate, a plastic derived from crude oil. ''Making bottles to meet Americans' demand for bottled water requires more than 1.5 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel some 100,000 U.S. cars for a year,'' Arnold said.

Worldwide, some 2.7 million tons of plastic are used to bottle water each year.

Once it has been emptied, the bottle must be dumped. According to the Container Recycling Institute, 86 percent of plastic water bottles used in the United States become garbage or litter. Incinerating used bottles produces toxic byproducts such as chlorine gas and ash containing heavy metals tied to a host of human and animal health problems. Buried water bottles can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade.
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Postby TeaFanatic » Feb 6th, '06, 19:49

I have actually been studying bottled water for parts of this year in environmental science, and it is true that it is not necessarily better than tap water. The problem is that all bacteria cannot be killed off (unless distilled), and the bacteria tend to grow rapidly inside the bottle. Oftentimes the bottles do not hit shelves until months after they are bottle, therefore there is lots of bacteria.

This is the same reason that plastic bottles cannot be reused.

I suggest that everyone get a professional filter installed in their house (preferably an ozonation filter) and that will probably give you the best quality water for your tea. The key is just to remove chlorine, which can harm antioxidants and change the taste of your tea.
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Postby TeaFanatic » Feb 7th, '06, 23:16

Ok, honestly, this water issue has got to be the most frustrating part of the entire tea process. I have good tea, I know how to prepare it well, and I can't get good WATER!!!!!

Here's my dilemma now. Today I used bottled water to make some dragonwell tea...just to see the difference in taste. My cup brewed quite a bit lighter than with my tap water (still trying to figure that one out) and it tasted 100 times better!!!

I do not want to buy water though for all that I drink. A 5 gallon jug of water for example costs around 9 bucks. 5 gallons is about 17-18 liters of water which would last me around...oh... 5-6 days. That's 9 dollars a week....!!!!!!

Yes I have tried a brita water filter which I would say is only slightly better than my tap water. I am getting a new fridge in a couple of weeks, which has a professional filter installed in it, but I'm not sure if that will be any better.

Does anyone else have any other solutions that I am missing???
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Postby Kai » Feb 8th, '06, 00:56

5 gallons = 9 dollars WUT.

WTF kind of water are you using.
If you get a refillable jug, you should be able to hit up one of those watermill type places.

1 gallon = $.25
5 gallons = $1

I think.
It's RO water and usually pretty good.
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Postby TeaFanatic » Feb 8th, '06, 01:02

watermill???
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Postby AnnaAult » Feb 8th, '06, 12:40

TeaFanatic -- check your local grocery for a water machine -- around here I can fill my own jug of water for 25 cents a gallon at this large machine that looks a little like a soda machine. I think that's the watermill Kai is referring to.

I can also fill for 25 cents/gallon at the local water supply place, ClearWater Systems -- you might find a local water supplier that offers fill your own.

I think tea with bottled water brews lighter because there are fewer dissolved minerals to bind with the components of the tea and darken it... but I'm no chemist, so who can say for sure?
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water perfection?

Postby WhiteTeaWizard » Feb 11th, '06, 11:22

I think distilled water is not good tea water, as it does not contain any minerals and as a result will impart a flat taste.

I find that natural artesian water is a good choice. One water I use is Buffalo Don's Natural Artesian water, mixed with B. Don's Natural Spring water in about a 3:1 ratio. This gives excellent body with enough high-end flavor note extraction. B.Don's is from Wisconsin. When I am in California, Crystal Geyser is the best for me. But it has to be from the Mt. Shasta source!

What I am really wanting to know is what makes these waters ideal for tea (at least to my palate). Anyone know of a cheap water testing kit? I'd like to know the ph and total dissolved solids.

According to tea god Norwood Prat:
T.D.S = 10-30 ppm
P.H = at 7 or just below
Last edited by WhiteTeaWizard on Feb 16th, '06, 11:12, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Kai » Feb 11th, '06, 12:59

Some pet stores have water testing kits. (for aquariums)

Among them, I think pH tests are common.
Dunno about the rest.

I think mine is Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrite, pH-mid, pH-high scale, and something else...

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/...
http://www.marinedepot.com/aquarium...

I have no idea if the accuracy would be enough for a tea maker.
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like water for tea

Postby Jing Cha » Feb 13th, '06, 07:20

Though I could write dozens of pages on the subject of water, I will try not to deluge you all in a flood of philosophical musing. That said, get out your umbrellas!

Back in 2000 (or was it 2001? 1999?), I remember Benjamin of Rishi Tea fumbling around under his demonstration booth at CoffeeFest muttering, rather vehemently, "They told me this was good water!" He had several large water-cooler-sized jugs of water under a table; I think he was trying to strangle one when I walked up to his booth. "This water sucks!"

I had to almost fight to get him to make a cup of tea; he was too ashamed of his tea prepared from such disappointing water. After many disclaimers and qualifications (which, naturally, made me smitten), we brewed some Oriental Beauty gongfu style. In a word: Amazing. Even with subpar water. Simply sipping in his fuzzy-faced company was swoon enough for me. The care, the grace, the focus he brought to the preparation heightened each layer of flavor.

When I brewed some at home later, it wasn't nearly the same near-religious experience. Oh, I had good, fresh, clean, soft, dechlorinated, purified pricey water. I just didn't have the grace, the honor, the enlightened company. Nobody to say, "Do you taste that? I feel a circle of vanilla rising!"

*sigh* Well, yes, water does make a difference too. Bottled soft spring water with the proper PH and the right mix of trace minerals is ideal except for the bottling part and the transportation part and the shelf-life part and the cost part, not to mention the part of lugging it from store shelf to kitchen counter. (Hey, I drink A LOT of tea!) Did I mention the cost part?

Brita filters and Pur filters and the like can help immensely. The only problem with them is that they truly don't last very long--I'd advise their real life in terms of tea preparation to be less than half of the proclaimed lifespan for general use. If you use them, it's worth actually counting how many gallons you use them for and replace them on a strict schedule.

When I used them, I actually double-filtered my water. First, I put water through a faucet-mount system which I used for all my drinking and cooking water. Then I put water meant for tea through a second refrigerator pitcher filter. This allowed me to change the general-use filter less frequently and the tea filter more frequently. The quality difference versus one filter for everything was significant.

Even with coupons and sales and discount clubs, my purchase of water filters became quite expensive and just a bit of a hassle. So I consulted with the proprietor of a local teahouse I respected and he referred me to a commercial plumber who specialized in water purification for coffee and tea establishments in my area.

I eventually had a semi-professional under-the-sink system installed which meets all my water needs for a little over $500 for the first year, plus a smaller fraction of that on-going from there. It's still cheaper than bottled water, about the same cost as countertop or faucet-mount retail units. But it made me make a commitment and never look back.

I used to say, "Maybe I can run this one more teapot . . . one more day . . . one more week." I would slack on changing filters or buying the best bottled waters. I had to justify the indulgence to myself time and time again. Even though I had made up my mind that the indulgence was worth it, I still had a hard time following through.

Also, I had used much better water for tea than regular drinking or cooking or even coffee. When I switched to a semi-professional filtration system, I noticed that I drank more water in general, not just more tea. I enjoyed water more. Life had become just a little bit better in a small yet important way.

Anyway . . . I think it's good to filter water at home instead of buying it in the store. I think it's worth consulting with someone who has experience with your particular water source to see what's feasible and most important and within budget. (Options range from reverse osmosis to carbon-block filters to granular carbon filters to activated alumina to anion and cation exchange, etc.) I think it's nice to occasionally buy artesan and spring waters and taste-test compare them in making tea as an educational experiment as well as entertaining exercise. And yes, I think tea can be highly enjoyable even if your water sucks.

Remember, tea became so very popular because humans could not drink water for many centuries without boiling it first. The bacteria and scum and filth in water were widespread rampantly worse than we could dream today. Then again, tea lovers of centuries past would never have dreamt of the perils of chemical water "treatments" and the fall-out industrial pollutants we have on offer today.

Distillation is a very effective filtration method; it's a great killer of offensive taste and a great killer of taste, period.

As for measuring Total Dissolved Solids, a number of manufacturers make a TDS Meter. Unfortunately, I don't think this will tell you what exactly those solids are, but it will give you the sacred ballpark count to let you know if you're in the zone at 10 to 30 parts per million.

Though Dupont swears it's completely safe, the presence of Teflon in drinking water disturbs me. It's been found in both tap and bottled water supplies. It's also turning up in greater and greater percentages in the hospital delivery room, detected in higher and higher concentrations in umbilical cords. I guess we're entering the era of non-stick babies.

Will Gladly,

Jing Cha
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Postby Kestrel » Feb 15th, '06, 14:34

Wow. Reading all this, I am definately grateful for my water. I live in Colorado. When I lived inside the Springs (Colorado Springs, no idea why they called it that - I haven't seen a single spring) we got water that was from the runoff of water melted from ice in the mountains. It was pretty good water, but it still tasted funny to me. My parents thought I was nuts - we'd just moved from California, and I was still refusing to drink tapwater. They couldn't taste anything weird about it, but I could taste all the chemicals and stuff. I have never been able to drink tapwater, even run through a Brita or Pur filter. I either drank milk (as a kid), soda (from the age of 12 on) or tea.

Then I moved out to Black Forest (technically still inside the Colorado Springs area, but definately not within city limits) and the house out here has well water, drawn from a lower level water table or something. I know it's drilled past the normal water table thing that wells are usually drilled to around here - it's a level deeper than that, so the water is far less affected by droughts and chemical changes and stuff. This is the first water I can actually stand to drink. It doesn't taste like chemicals, it doesn't smell funny, and it makes absolutely fantastic tea. Especially after reading about all the problems people have with bad water, I'm even more grateful that we have excellent water.
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Postby vbguy772 » Mar 7th, '06, 13:57

Linda,

I also live in Florida - on the east coast. Years ago the water was great here right out of the tap. Today it has a funky flavor. After buying bottled water for a while I quickly got tired of dragging all that water back from the store so I bought an under the counter water purifer for the kitchen. It cost less than $100 and was easy to install. The water tastes great and I only have to change the filter cannisters about once a year for less than $30. It's an easy solution for a nasty problem. You may find that this would work for you.

Happy sipping..............

Ron
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