Tap water makes sencha turn brown?


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Tap water makes sencha turn brown?

Postby piratesdrinktea » Jul 24th, '14, 11:13

Hi All,

I had a weird thing happen at work and I was wondering if anyone had any ideas, similar experiences, or scientific knowhow. Out of nowhere, when I was brewing at work, my O-Cha Yutaka Midori shincha started coming out of my teapot consistently brown! Since we work at a psych lab and are scientificially oriented, we isolated every variable. Ultimately, we realized that it must be the quality of the tap water, with or without using the Brita filter that we usually use (we know this because if we put bottled water in the same kettle, same pot, same tea, the tea turns out fine.

The tap water looks completely clear and tastes completely fine, but is obviously reacting with the tea in such a way that it ends up a clear copper amber sort of color, like a lightly brewed black tea. I think it tastes woodier and less vegetal, but of course it could be in my head. Also, when the tea brews brown, it usually starts coming out of the pot green (after 30 seconds of infusion at 173-ish degrees) but then the last few ounces make the whole cup brown.

Anyone have any ideas what could be chemically going on with our water that's causing it to react weirdly with the tea? The building has been under construction, so perhaps that's affecting things...
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Re: Tap water makes sencha turn brown?

Postby gunbuster363 » Jul 25th, '14, 00:13

This is fun... :twisted:
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Re: Tap water makes sencha turn brown?

Postby Chip » Jul 25th, '14, 11:26

That is very ... odd. It is not the tea as I just had it.
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Re: Tap water makes sencha turn brown?

Postby Poseidon » Jul 25th, '14, 11:44

Did you test the water?
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Re: Tap water makes sencha turn brown?

Postby gunbuster363 » Jul 25th, '14, 11:44

Did you try pouring the boiled tap water into the teapot and see if it turns brown?
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Re: Tap water makes sencha turn brown?

Postby Poseidon » Jul 25th, '14, 11:50

gunbuster363 wrote:Did you try pouring the boiled tap water into the teapot and see if it turns brown?

smart! it *could* be seasoning from the pot!
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Re: Tap water makes sencha turn brown?

Postby piratesdrinktea » Jul 25th, '14, 12:19

Smart but unfortunately not that simple. I believe I've tried just steeping water in the teapot. I certainly pour boiling tap water into the empty teapot to preheat the pot, then pour it into the teacup (it comes out clear at this point). It's only when I pour the tap water back into the teapot with the tea that it ends up brown. Weirdly, it starts out greenish, and then pouring out the last few ounces is always what makes it brown, so maybe some kind of reaction is happening as I pour it.

In any case, the tea or the teapot alone are not the issue. We just tried a Chiran tea bag from Lupicia (similarly brews a beautiful green if you use bottled water - we also tried tap water from a not-very-far-away home and it brewed fine). This tea bag was inside a teacup, so no teapot in the equation here, and the tap water made the tea turn brown. Then we can brew a second infusion immediately after, on the same tea leaves, with bottled water - it comes out green!

We just got samplings of a few other water sources on different floors in our building and they all turned the tea brown, so it seems like a building-wide issue. We've notified facilities so hopefully they'll run some tests - I'll keep everyone updated!
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Re: Tap water makes sencha turn brown?

Postby Poseidon » Jul 25th, '14, 12:23

piratesdrinktea wrote:Smart but unfortunately not that simple. I believe I've tried just steeping water in the teapot. I certainly pour boiling tap water into the empty teapot to preheat the pot, then pour it into the teacup (it comes out clear at this point). It's only when I pour the tap water back into the teapot with the tea that it ends up brown. Weirdly, it starts out greenish, and then pouring out the last few ounces is always what makes it brown, so maybe some kind of reaction is happening as I pour it.

In any case, the tea or the teapot alone are not the issue. We just tried a Chiran tea bag from Lupicia (similarly brews a beautiful green if you use bottled water - we also tried tap water from a not-very-far-away home and it brewed fine). This tea bag was inside a teacup, so no teapot in the equation here, and the tap water made the tea turn brown. Then we can brew a second infusion immediately after, on the same tea leaves, with bottled water - it comes out green!

We just got samplings of a few other water sources on different floors in our building and they all turned the tea brown, so it seems like a building-wide issue. We've notified facilities so hopefully they'll run some tests - I'll keep everyone updated!

Thats very odd. Please do keep us updated. I would be interested to know whats going on here.
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Re: Tap water makes sencha turn brown?

Postby gunbuster363 » Jul 25th, '14, 12:49

Meh.

Just use bottled water.

Problem solved. :lol:
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