Water: It *is* important. (a test w/ TGY)


Owes its flavors to oxidation levels between green & black tea.

Water: It *is* important. (a test w/ TGY)

Postby BioHorn » Jan 9th, '12, 19:42

The current topic of Tie Guan Yin compelled me to try it with different water combinations.

I used 3 grams of TGY in 90 ml porcelain gaiwans. Three kinds of water were used.

1. Filtered water through 'fridge carbon filte: heated in Kanjove Kettle.
2. Filtered water through 'fridge carbon filter: heated in cast iron uncoated tetsubin.
3. Distilled water
4. Spring water (day 2) Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value (Calistoga?) CG ROXANE Spring Salem, SC

First I tried all the waters on their own.

It is actually a lot harder that I imagined. It is difficult to get the parameters exactly the same. Maybe I should have just brewed at a full boil. Tea was brewed at 200 F and timed equally. Does anyone else have parameters they use to help ensure equivalent brews?

The results were surprising. Each tea tasted very different. Even with possible slight variation the contrast was unmistakeable. Today is day two and I added a fourth. (Spring water.)
1. Filtered water: The water heated in the Kamjove kettle was decent. Somewhere between the tetsubin water and distilled water.

2. Filtered water: The tetsubin water made for the roundest fullest flavored tea. Although I did pour right away with all teas, it is possible that the cast iron held heat better?

3. Distilled water: The tea brewed in distilled water was raw and not as pleasant.

4. Spring water: The brew was nice. A bit sweeter. Not as round as the tetsubin water.

The spring water and tetsubin water were my favorites in that order.


Our Cleveland water (filtered) is actually pretty good for most teas.

Image

Anyone have additions or other experiences?
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Re: Water: It *is* important. (a test w/ TGY)

Postby Herb_Master » Jan 9th, '12, 20:23

Impressive experiment, I fear my sensory capabilities are not up to this - I totally failed to appreciate Hojo's tests - but on the other hand . . . . .

I recall, about 3 years ago when ABX told me to record temperature and atmospheric pressure and relative humidity each time I tasted the same tea under otherwise constant parameters

I have also noted how my appreciation of tea changes due to my mood and disposition

. . . . maybe if you tried the same test at another time of day / when the climatic conditions are very different / or when you are in different frame of mind - you would place the waters in a different order :roll:
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Re: Water: It *is* important. (a test w/ TGY)

Postby the_economist » Jan 9th, '12, 21:43

Perhaps it isn't the ranking that is particularly important, but just noting what the different types of water do. Then we can easily pick a water suitable to both the tea and our mood.

Thumbs up to the experiment!
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Re: Water: It *is* important. (a test w/ TGY)

Postby tingjunkie » Jan 9th, '12, 22:35

My fiancee didn't believe that water could make such a huge difference in brewing, so I challenged her to set up a blind taste test of 4 unboiled waters. Poland Spring fresh from the bottle, Poland Spring aged in an antique porcelain jar for 3 days, tap water from our kitchen sink, and tap from our bathroom sink. Happy to report I went 4 for 4 in identifying each. :mrgreen: I think most of us know how important water is, but it really helps to experiment and experience these things for yourself.

I've decided that I am just sticking to Poland Spring in an electric stainless kettle for everything. Aged in porcelain for puerh and heavily roasted oolongs, and fresh from the bottle for lighter oolongs and reds. I'm happy with the results, it keeps things on a level playing field, and it keeps me from lusting after tetsubins or silver kettles.
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Re: Water: It *is* important. (a test w/ TGY)

Postby tingjunkie » Jan 9th, '12, 22:45

the_economist wrote:Perhaps it isn't the ranking that is particularly important, but just noting what the different types of water do. Then we can easily pick a water suitable to both the tea and our mood.


I agree. One analogy could be: water is to tea as the graphic equalizer is to a stereo. Different musical genres might sound better to the listener with different equalizer settings, depending on what parts of the music you wish to highlight. Different waters will highlight different aspects of the tea as well. The water that is best for gao shan and allows the higher floral/fruit notes to shine through is likely not the same water that will be best for shou puerh.
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Re: Water: It *is* important. (a test w/ TGY)

Postby BioHorn » Jan 9th, '12, 23:17

water is to tea as the graphic equalizer is to a stereo. Different musical genres might sound better to the listener with different equalizer settings, depending on what parts of the music you wish to highlight.

I like TingJunkie's analogy! :P

I went in to this open minded without great expectation. In fact I was skeptical.
We focused first on the water. Then we went on to the teas. The brewing on the light side at first. This was a casual probe to explore the differences/similarities.

I'm happy with the results, it keeps things on a level playing field, and it keeps me from lusting after tetsubins or silver kettles.


A tetsubin has made the single largest (positive) change to my tea brewing. It is an altogether different experience. After applying a bit of strained patience I found something nice on eBay. And can also report very inexpensive and functional tetsubins are out there. Some may disagree, but I would not get too hung up on the levels of rust (unless extereme= i.e. too thinned/leaking.)
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Re: Water: It *is* important. (a test w/ TGY)

Postby tingjunkie » Jan 9th, '12, 23:41

BioHorn wrote:A tetsubin has made the single largest (positive) change to my tea brewing. It is an altogether different experience. After applying a bit of strained patience I found something nice on eBay. And can also report very inexpensive and functional tetsubins are out there. Some may disagree, but I would not get too hung up on the levels of rust (unless extereme= i.e. too thinned/leaking.)


I know a lot of folks who feel this way. Many of my tea buddies own tetsubins and I have subsequently tried teas made from a handful of different ones. For my tastes, water from a tetsubin has a tendency to round off flavors just a bit too much. They generally do good things for mouthfeel, but I'm the type that (after a tea's overall feeling and Qi) tends to focus on flavors and aftertastes before focusing on mouthfeel. Some teas really benefit from a tetsubin though- Japanese greens and certain puerhs in my opinion.

For high fire oolongs like yancha, I often love using water from a clay kettle heated over hardwood charcoal (when my friends who own this set-up prepare it). I've even been lucky enough to try water from silver kettles on a few occasions. In my experience, this sharpens the water and puts the focus on the higher notes. I guess that's why gao shan connoisseurs like them a lot.

I'd like to do more experiments with water storage myself. I think a lot could be achieved with a giant glass jar, and adding various types of (non toxic) rocks, metals, household minerals, or even old silverware! I just recently threw some 99.9% fine silver wire in to my antique porcelain water jar. I've yet to really observe any differences, but at the very least, silver's antibacterial/antimocrobial properties should cut down on any "aquarium" odors which sometimes come around after a week+ of aging.
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Re: Water: It *is* important. (a test w/ TGY)

Postby brandon » Jan 10th, '12, 00:06

Image

I have no idea what you guys are talking about... :oops:
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Re: Water: It *is* important. (a test w/ TGY)

Postby tingjunkie » Jan 10th, '12, 00:21

Wait, where's the "Like" button on this forum? :lol:
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Re: Water: It *is* important. (a test w/ TGY)

Postby BioHorn » Jan 10th, '12, 00:56

brandon wrote:Image

I have no idea what you guys are talking about... :oops:

Is that an octopus in the glass jar in the background?

@ Ting:

Funny thing. I have been searching a bit. This is what I will probably choose for my glass kettle:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=150570074610&category=67714&_trksid=p5197.c0.m619

Also I agree (from this recent observation) that the tetsubin seems to round things off a bit. Thanks for the idea. I have been just using it for pu and yancha, but I will try it with some recently gifted sencha.
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Re: Water: It *is* important. (a test w/ TGY)

Postby tingjunkie » Jan 10th, '12, 19:04

Round silver beads (like Brandon has in his glass kettle above) have more surface area than wire does. Just something to think about considering the high costs of silver lately. :wink:

http://www.riogrande.com/Product/Fine-S ... 0802?pos=7
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Re: Water: It *is* important. (a test w/ TGY)

Postby David R. » Jan 10th, '12, 20:51

tingjunkie wrote:I know a lot of folks who feel this way. Many of my tea buddies own tetsubins and I have subsequently tried teas made from a handful of different ones. For my tastes, water from a tetsubin has a tendency to round off flavors just a bit too much. They generally do good things for mouthfeel, but I'm the type that (after a tea's overall feeling and Qi) tends to focus on flavors and aftertastes before focusing on mouthfeel. Some teas really benefit from a tetsubin though- Japanese greens and certain puerhs in my opinion.

For high fire oolongs like yancha, I often love using water from a clay kettle heated over hardwood charcoal (when my friends who own this set-up prepare it). I've even been lucky enough to try water from silver kettles on a few occasions. In my experience, this sharpens the water and puts the focus on the higher notes. I guess that's why gao shan connoisseurs like them a lot.

I'd like to do more experiments with water storage myself. I think a lot could be achieved with a giant glass jar, and adding various types of (non toxic) rocks, metals, household minerals, or even old silverware! I just recently threw some 99.9% fine silver wire in to my antique porcelain water jar. I've yet to really observe any differences, but at the very least, silver's antibacterial/antimocrobial properties should cut down on any "aquarium" odors which sometimes come around after a week+ of aging.


Very interesting, thank you.
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Re: Water: It *is* important. (a test w/ TGY)

Postby BioHorn » Jan 11th, '12, 01:29

Brandon:
Is that one ounce of silver?
-----

Thank you TG for the link. I had come across it. It does sounds like a better idea and probably looks nicer. There is a discrepancy in RioGrande's description:
Composition: The purity of the silver is a nominal 99.99%+ fine.

Flow point (liquidus): 1761°F (961°C) Density (after casting): 5.525 (T.O./cubic inch) Form: Round shot Color: Brilliant white metallic luster
Form: Casting grain
Metal type: Fine silver, .999


If silver is 99.99% fine it would be .9999 (four nines.) Then again that may not really matter. Any metallurgists on the forum?

Another option I have considered are Nikken PiMag aqua pour replacement stones. They are for their gravity fed water filters. My wife's mom has one. It doe make nice water. They used to make them with silver embedded. Looks like the increase in silver prices may have stopped that?

Link:
http://www.panoramavital.com/p-122/AGUA/PiMag--Maxi-Replacement-Mineral-Stones
eBay link:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Nikken-Aqua-Pour-Replacement-Mineral-Stones-NEW-/190509256931?pt=Small_Kitchen_Appliances_US&hash=item2c5b3c90e3
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Re: Water: It *is* important. (a test w/ TGY)

Postby bagua7 » Jan 12th, '12, 00:41

Herb_Master wrote:I have also noted how my appreciation of tea changes due to my mood and disposition


+1. A biggie IMO.

I also practice regular fasting whereby increased awareness and sensitivity are experienced, this really helps me appreciate tea tasting significantly.
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Re: Water: It *is* important. (a test w/ TGY)

Postby futurebird » Mar 17th, '13, 12:43

Is there any reason you didn't include rested tap water? Tap water from good pipes in certain regions often beats "spring water" --
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