Soft water?


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Soft water?

Postby Bakkoi » Jul 7th, '11, 23:44

My green tea always seems to come out so bitter. I've tried steeps under a minute. I've tried decreasing the amount of leaf I use. The only thing I can seem to do that works is brew it at about 140-145 degrees, and the result is a sweet umami first infusion with none of the bitterness I'm used to... but subsequent infusions are completely tasteless. The water in my city is hard, so I'm wondering if it's too hard for sencha and making it bitter. I'm drinking reputable stuff too -- Shincha from O-Cha and Yuukicha, so I know it's not low quality tea that's causing the problem.

Can someone recommend a soft water suitable for making tea that is available in Ontario? Or tell me what I am doing horribly wrong with my brewing? :lol:

EDIT: One other thing I would like to mention that I think is relevant. After I brew the tea, when I smell the leaves in the empty pot, I am always amazed by the aroma... and how I can never seem to get my tea to taste the way it smells. Any ideas why this is?
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Re: Soft water?

Postby Xell » Jul 8th, '11, 00:03

Bakkoi wrote:My green tea always seems to come out so bitter. I've tried steeps under a minute. I've tried decreasing the amount of leaf I use. The only thing I can seem to do that works is brew it at about 140-145 degrees, and the result is a sweet umami first infusion with none of the bitterness I'm used to... but subsequent infusions are completely tasteless. The water in my city is hard, so I'm wondering if it's too hard for sencha and making it bitter. I'm drinking reputable stuff too -- Shincha from O-Cha and Yuukicha, so I know it's not low quality tea that's causing the problem.

Can someone recommend a soft water suitable for making tea that is available in Ontario? Or tell me what I am doing horribly wrong with my brewing? :lol:

EDIT: One other thing I would like to mention that I think is relevant. After I brew the tea, when I smell the leaves in the empty pot, I am always amazed by the aroma... and how I can never seem to get my tea to taste the way it smells. Any ideas why this is?


May be you're simply sensitive to bitterness? What i do to avoid too bitter taste, first infusion as you say is always really mellow, for second infusion i usually pour water in kyusu and immediately to cup, so it's about 5second infusion.

You might want to check out water softeners, that can help not only your tea, but simply drinking such water is more pleasant :)
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Re: Soft water?

Postby entropyembrace » Jul 8th, '11, 00:44

Try gradually increasing the temperature for the subsequent infusions...if your first infusion is to your liking keep it the same....just change the later infusions so that they are too :)
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Re: Soft water?

Postby Chip » Jul 8th, '11, 00:58

+1 ... I slowly increase temps and ultimately times.

A water purifyer might help.
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Re: Soft water?

Postby hopeofdawn » Jul 8th, '11, 10:53

You might also try drastically shortening your brew times, and see if that helps. The rule of thumb I was taught when just starting out was 10 sec per 1 oz of water--you could start with that, and if your tea is too weak, then gradually increase your steep time until you find the right taste for your palate ...
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Re: Soft water?

Postby mlafranc » Jul 9th, '11, 01:56

My experience is that a water softener ruins the taste of water, because it adds salt. I have to have a water softener in my home in order to protect my pipes from hard water deposits, but I cannot use that water for drinking or tea-making. I used bottled spring water instead. A lot of people in my region use a reverse osmosis system to make their softened water drinkable, but I prefer spring water.
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Re: Soft water?

Postby Xell » Jul 9th, '11, 02:01

mlafranc wrote:My experience is that a water softener ruins the taste of water, because it adds salt. I have to have a water softener in my home in order to protect my pipes from hard water deposits, but I cannot use that water for drinking or tea-making. I used bottled spring water instead. A lot of people in my region use a reverse osmosis system to make their softened water drinkable, but I prefer spring water.


There are many kinds, some of them specially made to produce drinking water. Seems your water softener has a different use.

I didn't have my own, since usual filtered water was perfectly fine for me, but i drunk some water from a friends house, who has it build in filter system with separate pipe for drinking only. Taste was same as bottled water at my previous work place.
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Re: Soft water?

Postby teaisme » Jul 9th, '11, 12:28

mlafranc wrote:ruins the taste of water, because it adds salt

A little salt is ok though. Might actually make it taste better.

OP,
how do you brew your tea?

If you have strong aroma and limited taste first thing I would consider would be kettle and teapot, then water. Have you tried using a simple bottled water to compare? Not too hard to find a water that works with japanese greens, even aquafina and dasani can turn out decent brews.
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Re: Soft water?

Postby phuc061290 » Oct 5th, '11, 15:33

great post. thanks.
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Re: Soft water?

Postby Tead Off » Oct 6th, '11, 03:47

Water quality is a major factor in tea making. For myself, the tap water here in Bangkok is too hard for good tea making even if used with a Brita filration system. So, I've switched to a local(Thai) bottled mineral water which has a ph of around 7.1 and high TDS (totally disolved solids) and I find my green teas in particular are much sweeter with deeper flavor.
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