Best water for tea


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Best water for tea

Postby iheartea » Sep 21st, '09, 16:28

I have just experienced first-hand the importance of the type of water used to make a good pot of green tea. I was in Kyoto at a restaurant specializing in soba and was served a cup of water along with green tea. I tasted the green tea first and noticed a strange chemical taste. Then, I drank the water and it had that same taste, which was probably straight from the tap. Right then and there, I was convinced that the type of water used is very important if you want a great pot of tea.

I've read many posts that suggest using a Brita filter for purifying your water used to make tea. Does any water filter available in the marketplace accomplish the same thing? Would a Waterwise water distiller work as well or is it not recommended for tea? There are so many pros and cons about the best kind of water to drink for health and it must have an effect on the quality of tea we make, too. Any thoughts or recommendations?
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Re: Best water for tea

Postby Chip » Sep 21st, '09, 16:48

I drink water from our well, but I brew with water filtered with the GraviTea by Adagio. I never had a filter before and really have hard water, major scale issues that would require descaling teaware every week. But no chemicals in my water.

I started using the GraviTea on 1/1/09 and have not had to descale since!

Anyway, I am very pleased with this filter which also removes chlorine.
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A tougher question then I once thought

Postby teaisme » Sep 21st, '09, 17:14

Water is taken for granted until you realize just how varied each individual houses water tastes. I moved 4 blocks up the street and there is a drastic difference. I once thought that a PUR water pitcher was all that was neccessary to treat the water but after moving house my tea just doesn't taste the same any more. It is MUCH more flat, a lot of the flavour has been muted, aroma in general is still there though. This is very obvious for green teas, slightly for oolongs. I have not changed my kettle or anything else, the only different parameter is the water. Very strange but I have noticed it elsewhere at friends houses too. I have some more bamboo charcoal on the way to see if that helps. I even tried double filtering with a brita faucet mount , into a pur pitcher. That was better but still muted. WHAT IS GOING ON?! I really don't want to try leaving my water overnight like other suggest because I want my tea NOW!

Sorry, to answer part of your question, distilled water and R/O water makes tea taste kinda flat too.
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Re: A tougher question then I once thought

Postby iheartea » Sep 21st, '09, 17:40

churng wrote:Sorry, to answer part of your question, distilled water and R/O water makes tea taste kinda flat too.


I've heard that about distilled water, but didn't realize R/O water was the same. All I know is I must do SOMETHING to make myself the ultimate pot of tea. :)
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Re: Best water for tea

Postby iheartea » Sep 21st, '09, 17:43

Chip wrote:I drink water from our well, but I brew with water filtered with the GraviTea by Adagio. I never had a filter before and really have hard water, major scale issues that would require descaling teaware every week. But no chemicals in my water.

I started using the GraviTea on 1/1/09 and have not had to descale since!

Anyway, I am very pleased with this filter which also removes chlorine.



It must be chlorine that gave that bad chemical taste at that restaurant in Kyoto. I think I should give GraviTea a try!
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Re: Best water for tea

Postby Intuit » Sep 21st, '09, 17:45

I live in a relatively small town. It's serviced by 10 public source supply wells;these are arranged into districts. Each district has annual water quality reports posted for the last couple of years. From these reports, it's obvious about half of the wells share a common aquifer source. The others are mixed bag of well depths, overlying soils, drainage topology, geological strata differences, etc.

My district is no larger than 1/2 by 1 mile. It's by far the worst water of the 10 wells - pump placement is very shallow (less than 200 of the 650 ft total well depth, cased to 350', so not excuse for it being shallow except that its got adequate yield), very hard, and occasionally gets a heavy dosing of chlorine in the mixing well that primes/conditions the distribution system.

This water, like yours, kills off aroma and taste. My spendy tap filter cartridges are overwhelmed in 2 weeks, vs 2 months at another smaller city to the North, also groundwater fed, but with minimal water hardness due to it's proximity to the pristine main irrigation canal 'leakage' strata that provided much of the flow in the well. The Main Canal water quality matches the original supply (Columbia R, Banks Lake Reservoir, which is remarkably good water for a larger Western US river*.

My present water is so hard, I have no choice but to use bottled water for making tea, cooking and drinking water.

So it's plausible that your move put you in an other supply well source district, with comparatively poor water quality.

If your tea foams easily, but your soap has a hard time lathering up, you have problems**. You mention using bottled water for sincha. May as well use it for all your teas.

*based on a 2000 USDOI Interagency water quality assessment of 87 Western irrigation basins, it can be rated among the best in terms of low dissolved solids/minerals/organics and relatively little heavy metal and pesticide contaminants.

** Don't bother with tap and carafe filters; they haven't the capacity to provide deonization by zeolite resins when the water is hard-to-very hard.
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Re: Best water for tea

Postby Oni » Sep 22nd, '09, 02:03

I buy volcanic spring soft water bottled in 2, 5 liter plastic bottles, the water is exceptional, I use it for all my tea, if you can find a very cheap similar source that would be great, I spend 2 $/10 liters of water, it usually last a week or two, I plan on further improving my water quality by buying a huge 10 liter + glass jar with a lid, so that when I buy water in plastic container I would immediantely transfer it to the glass jar and keep it in a cool dark place, so that the water can "rest", just remember to keep it under 20 C temperature, and don`t let the sun see it.
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Re: Best water for tea

Postby teaisme » Sep 22nd, '09, 15:51

Intuit wrote:
** Don't bother with tap and carafe filters; they haven't the capacity to provide deonization by zeolite resins when the water is hard-to-very hard.


Intuit have you tried purifying your water with zeolite granules? I know they use it for aquariums and such, just wasn't sure about water for tea.
Maybe that might help my problem.

I really don't want to use bottled water because it makes me feel guilty.

You know the past couple of brews it has tasted flat but not as flat. This leads me to think maybe chlorine or some other chemical peaks at certain times during the month/season/year. I wish I wasn't too lazy to hunt down the answer locally, but I think I am.
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Re: Best water for tea

Postby Intuit » Sep 22nd, '09, 17:12

This is an issue of water softening. Typically, that's pressurized bed unit, ion exchange operation, using plain old table salt (sodium chloride, NaCl). Lots of wells have them, where the water is quite hard.

Normal cities* are required to soften public supply that is very hard not so much for reasons of aesthetics as practical plumbing concerns.

I haven't seen a table-top water softener version. :-)

** This area isn't normal. It's caught in a conservative time warp, circa 1950s water/wastewater treatment, traffic engineering.
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Re: Best water for tea

Postby iheartea » Sep 23rd, '09, 03:30

Oni wrote:I buy volcanic spring soft water bottled in 2, 5 liter plastic bottles, the water is exceptional, I use it for all my tea, if you can find a very cheap similar source that would be great, I spend 2 $/10 liters of water, it usually last a week or two, I plan on further improving my water quality by buying a huge 10 liter + glass jar with a lid, so that when I buy water in plastic container I would immediantely transfer it to the glass jar and keep it in a cool dark place, so that the water can "rest", just remember to keep it under 20 C temperature, and don`t let the sun see it.


Oni - Where can I find volcanic spring soft water? I believe that the water used in preparing green tea plays an important part in our overrall enjoyment. No more tap water for me!

Thank you all for your comments!
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Re: Best water for tea

Postby Intuit » Sep 23rd, '09, 09:43

A subset of volcanic hydrothermal waters are potable.

Some are saline (salty), some quite mineral hard; they have to be treated before being circulated for heat exchange, their most common use.

And then there are the soft waters, high in bicarbonate, low in dissolved oxygen, enriched in sulfides, boron, and arsenic. Common throughout the world in well-known volcanic provinces.

Potable geothermal spring water in the Sierra foothills, Calistoga Springs, mined, bottled and peddled by the controversial Nestle Corp, is an example.
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Re: Best water for tea

Postby Oni » Sep 23rd, '09, 11:03

Hibiki-an offers some guideline to buy some brands in the US, http://www.hibiki-an.com/readings/how-t ... n-tea.html ,
# Alaskan Glacier Gold Water (United States)
# Crystal Geyser (United States)
# Rocky Mountain (United States)
# Aquator (Canada)
# Bourassa Canadian (Canada).
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Re: Best water for tea

Postby Tead Off » Sep 23rd, '09, 13:38

Intuit wrote:A subset of volcanic hydrothermal waters are potable.

Some are saline (salty), some quite mineral hard; they have to be treated before being circulated for heat exchange, their most common use.

And then there are the soft waters, high in bicarbonate, low in dissolved oxygen, enriched in sulfides, boron, and arsenic. Common throughout the world in well-known volcanic provinces.

Potable geothermal spring water in the Sierra foothills, Calistoga Springs, mined, bottled and peddled by the controversial Nestle Corp, is an example.


Shouldn't you be invested in a water ionizer?
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Re: Best water for tea

Postby Seeker » Sep 26th, '09, 16:53

iheartea wrote:
churng wrote:Sorry, to answer part of your question, distilled water and R/O water makes tea taste kinda flat too.


I've heard that about distilled water, but didn't realize R/O water was the same.


I have read that distilled water and RO water are NOT the same. They certainly go through different processes. I thought I understood that distilled water is TOTALLY pure, and some also say 'dead'. Whereas RO doesn't get the water quite that purified, tho very pure. I'd be curious to read Intuit's take on RO vs distilled.

Also, historically I've had difficulties with 'chlorine' smells and tastes in my tea when I first became serious about tea. Brita and Pur were totally and completely insufficient at solving this issue. Putting in an RO system at my kitchen sink was the only thing that worked and my tea is wonderful (not even close to flat - tho I have had equally great results with good bottled waters, which we used until the RO system was in). Here in the tri-valley area of Northern California's Bay east bay area, we have very hard water.
:)
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Re: Best water for tea

Postby JBaymore » Sep 26th, '09, 17:58

I'm pretty lucky when it comes to our tap water here in New Hamsphire. I have water from the exact same aquifer as the commercial operation at Monadnock Spring Water, which is basically a next door neighbor to me here.

http://www.monadnockspring.com/home.cfm

I don't envy those of you who are in cities and such. I've been in some where the water is absolutely awful.

Of course the radon levels here in NH are a whole separate issue :wink: :shock:


best,

............john
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