Water Quality


Completely off the Topic of Tea

Postby PeteVu » Mar 7th, '06, 19:01

In my opinion this whole bottled water phase is just as valid as the organic foods fad. I buy bottled water because it tastes better, not because im afraid of what'll happen if I drink tap water. Newsflash: you wont get cancer from tap water. I would imagine the small ammount of plastics you consume from your water bottle are more dangerous than any inert chemicals you find in tap water.
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Postby yresim » Mar 7th, '06, 19:17

The biggest problem with bottled water, as TeaFanatic pointed out, is that organisms often grow in the bottle while the water is sitting on the shelf. This means that even distilled water may be unsafe.

If your water quality is extremely bad, a home water filter may be your best option.

Reverse osmosis will remove most chemical contaminants, because it filters down to .0001 microns. For example:
http://www.freedrinkingwater.com/ro-45-detail.htm

Adding a multi-stage water filter to your drinking water faucet, such as PUR's 3-stage system, will remove bacteria. This particular filter also adds some of the mineral flavors back to the water, which can prevent the water from tasting bland after filtration.

If that doesn't work for your drinking water, you can go a step further, and get a water distiller. For example:
http://www.freshwatersystems.com/products/index/s110/61/110

Every system for filtering water is going to have advantages and disadvantages, and I encourage you to do some serious research before choosing an option. And don't let high-pressure salesmen convince you otherwise.

~Yresim~
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Postby Warden Andy » Mar 7th, '06, 21:21

Wouldn't boiling water for tea kill the bacteria that might be in the water?
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Postby TeaFanatic » Mar 7th, '06, 21:32

Boiling water would not be the best thing to do in my opinion...here's why:

In order to kill off any substantial amounts of bacteria/chlorine, you would have to boil water for at least 5 to 8 minutes. This would greatly reduce dissolved oxygen content within the water and the tea would come up tasting very flat.

Also, while the bacteria may be killed, the bad tastes and odors may still remain behind, still affecting the taste of the tea.

If you boil water you also have the problem of getting the water to the correct temperature to steep your tea. You could let it sit but then you have no idea if you're at the correct temperature or not.

If you let it sit then you are ruining taste even more.

I think that an advanced water filter is the best thing that you can do.
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Postby yresim » Mar 7th, '06, 22:15

TeaFanatic wrote:In order to kill off any substantial amounts of bacteria/chlorine, you would have to boil water for at least 5 to 8 minutes. This would greatly reduce dissolved oxygen content within the water and the tea would come up tasting very flat.

Well-said. The only critters in this house that get boiled water are the chins. And that is because they are hyper-sensitive to chlorine.

Our city water is much better than it sounds like the city water is in Florida. There is only a very small amount of chlorine, and the water filter removes the taste of that, so we don't worry about it for our drinking water.

The reason I chose the 3-stage PUR in the first place (over other bacteria-level filters) is because it runs the water through a mineral filter, to give it back some of the flavor. I wouldn't want to boil it and remove that.

On the other hand, if the water quality is particularly terrible, distilling/boiling may be the only option (note: distillation doesn't remove certain pesticides). In that case, you could agitate the water to try to restore some of the oxygen content.

~Yresim~
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Postby garden gal » Mar 8th, '06, 16:54

The bottled water is purely a convenience issue not a purity issue as far as I am concerned. My husband use to drive truck about 12 yrs ago and was delivering to a company right beside a bottling plant. He was waiting around to get unloaded and started up a conversation with some guys from the bottling plant that were outside on break. They were a water bottling company and thought it was a huge joke that people paid money to buy city water. They put a very healthy sounding name on it because that's the town the offices were in but the water, the employees said, came from city tap- was checked for levels of chlorine and ran into bottles then packaged. I always looked at the bottled water with caution since then- I buy it for trips and such but I think my own well water is probably better for me.
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Postby Carnelian » Mar 11th, '06, 16:19

In my home we buy water in the refillable 5 gallon jugs and use a dual temperature cooler, it makes great tea. There is a place near our house where by filling our own bottles we only pay 2.50 for the water. My family would do this anyways because the water in our city is so hard there are times where its been deemed unfit for consumption.
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Postby Borky » Mar 14th, '06, 19:35

What if my only options are tap water or a distilled water? What would be the better choice for tea?
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Postby Warden Andy » Mar 14th, '06, 20:35

Borky, get a Brita filter. As long as you have a fresh filter, Brita works very well. I've been using Brita for a while now, and I haven't noticed a difference between that and spring water (except for spring water that tasted like tap water).
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Postby Borky » Mar 14th, '06, 20:40

Andy wrote:Borky, get a Brita filter. As long as you have a fresh filter, Brita works very well. I've been using Brita for a while now, and I haven't noticed a difference between that and spring water (except for spring water that tasted like tap water).


I can't, I live in a dorm. It's either the water fountain outside, bathroom sink, or distilled water I get from the local conveniance store.
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Postby Warden Andy » Mar 14th, '06, 21:02

Ok, I'm having second thought's about getting a dorm in college...

You could probably filter the water from the bathroom sink.
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Postby Borky » Mar 14th, '06, 21:32

Do you mean one of those Brita pitchers with a filter that I can just put water in there? I can't physically install anything to the sink.
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Postby yresim » Mar 15th, '06, 03:51

Unfortunately, the distilled water is likely to produce a very flat-tasting tea. :(

Are you sure they won't let you install a faucet filter on the bathroom sink? They are very easily installed, and can be installed & removed without damaging the sink (as long as you have kept all the parts). It only took me about 5 minutes to install our first one (and about 10 minutes to remove it when it turned out to be broken and needed to be sent back).

Normally, I would recommend a PUR 3-stage filter, because it adds minerals back to the water (and is more effective at removing contaminants than most other small filters on the market). However, they don't offer their 3-stage filter in a pitcher format. :(

I guess your best bet at this point is to buy a Brita or Pur (doesn't really matter which) water filter pitcher and keep it in the fridge. As for which water source to use (the water fountain or the bathroom sink), I would recommend that you try running both through the filter pitcher, and stick to whichever one tastes better after filtration.

I would also suggest that you consider moving out of those dorms at your earliest opportunity. No kitchen sink? What a joke!

~Yresim~
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Postby Phyll » Apr 5th, '06, 20:00

I go to Lake Tahoe every winter to collect enough clean snow and ship the snow-water to my home in Los Angeles, where it will be sealed for 3 years before it is used to brew my tea.

Wait...no I never did that. :oops:

I use Arrowhead bottled water to make my tea. No complain so far.

I read that distilled water is the WORST kind of water to brew tea with as it has been stripped of all element. It is, practically, a lifeless water. It's probably better tasting to use water from a tap in Hinkley (Erin Brokovich...PG&E) than to use distilled water for brewing tea.

I found Joe's list of bottled soft water and moderately hard water to be very helpful. Thanks!
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