Water for Tea


One of the intentionally aged teas, Pu-Erh has a loyal following.

Re: Water for Tea

Postby zhi zheng » Jul 24th, '12, 07:16

bagua7 wrote:Water running from a natural source (cave, springs, waterfall, etc.) improves the quality of the brew tenfold aside of being better for your kidney Qi.


I'm not sure that's totally true.

As others have noted, my experience is that higher TDS tends to have a detrimental effect on fragrance/aromatic aspects of sheng puer which is why water like Volvic seems to work quite well - low TDS and neutral pH. So it depends on the geology of the region and the tea.

I would imagine a fair bit of the Himalayas is volcanic (similar to Puy de Dome) and the areas that have sedimentary rock are likely sandstone as much as limestone.

It's of note that on Nan Nuo Shan, which is blessed with ample natural spring water, local water works well with local tea on the mountain (at 1,700 metres), but bring the same water and tea back to Jinghong and the experience is quite different.

A moot point is also whether water very high in Mg and Ca is a contributory factor in Kidney stones.
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Re: Water for Tea

Postby BioHorn » Jul 24th, '12, 12:20

zhi zheng wrote:
bagua7 wrote:Water running from a natural source (cave, springs, waterfall, etc.) improves the quality of the brew tenfold aside of being better for your kidney Qi.


I'm not sure that's totally true.

As others have noted, my experience is that higher TDS tends to have a detrimental effect on fragrance...
snip

Nice post. Thank you.
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Re: Water for Tea

Postby Charlotte_J » Jul 24th, '12, 22:44

zhi zheng wrote:
bagua7 wrote:Water running from a natural source (cave, springs, waterfall, etc.) improves the quality of the brew tenfold aside of being better for your kidney Qi.


I'm not sure that's totally true.

As others have noted, my experience is that higher TDS tends to have a detrimental effect on fragrance/aromatic aspects of sheng puer which is why water like Volvic seems to work quite well - low TDS and neutral pH. So it depends on the geology of the region and the tea.

I would imagine a fair bit of the Himalayas is volcanic (similar to Puy de Dome) and the areas that have sedimentary rock are likely sandstone as much as limestone.

It's of note that on Nan Nuo Shan, which is blessed with ample natural spring water, local water works well with local tea on the mountain (at 1,700 metres), but bring the same water and tea back to Jinghong and the experience is quite different.

A moot point is also whether water very high in Mg and Ca is a contributory factor in Kidney stones.


Great post
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Re: Water for Tea

Postby bagua7 » Jul 27th, '12, 03:01

MarshalN wrote:Ok ok, well, we don't have waterfalls in our neighbourhood, so are you going to ship me some of this water?


If you happen to drop by, I'll gladly take you to the waterfall. ;)

zhi zheng wrote:I'm not sure that's totally true.


But I am. :)

Emotions are the most important cause of imbalance (yin and yang) in your system and block the natural flow of Qi. But there are also external causes of disease including a poor diet which will directly affect the spleen, and a poor functioning spleen will severe the mutual nourishing relationship between the spleen and the kidneys.

Additional info here and the role of the root (kidney) in here.

Healthy, fresh running water from a natural source can't be compared to tap or bottled water. It lacks movement and it misses altogether that supportive relationship. Also running water from the Earth carries minerals (metal-water, generating cycle in the Taoist 5 Phases Theory) to a higher degree than alternative sources.

Kidney stones are directly caused by the above, but fear fear, dread, bad memories, and impending doom highly stress and harden the kidneys, blocking the Qi and causing the formation of stones. Excessive sexual activity in men, which results in the loss of semen, is the final cause of losing kidney's original vitality (just compare a child who hasn't experienced sexual desire due to puberty changes with an old man):

"The kidney is the ocean of the human body. Since oceans are situated on a lower level than the earth's streams and rivers, they draw every one of them to form one large body of water. Oceans may appear vast and inexhaustible, yet they still drain off some of their seemingly unlimited supply. One way of drainage is called 'going to ruins,' meaning the water drains down into the earth from where it will not return. The other way of drainage is called 'dwelling with the stars,' meaning the water steams toward the sky and later rains down to earth again, where it dissipates into rivers and streams and eventually returns to the ocean. This is the water that circulates between heaven and earth, always striving to keep an equilibrium between the extreme states of drought and flooding.

In the context of the human body only the kidney can be compared to the workings of this natural cycle. All the essences and fluids of the body's various pathways pour into the kidney. After the kidney has assembled the essential fluids of the body's vessels, it also experiences two ways of drainage: one way is through the sexual urge which draws the essence downward to the sexual centers; once it exits from here it cannot come back into the system, so this is just like the ocean "going to ruins." The other way is the upward dispersal by way of the suctioning affect of true qi, which draws the body's combined essences all the way up to the flower pond (mouth); from here it moves down through the throat into the stomach, lubricating the five organ networks, nourishing all of the body's pathways, and finally returning to the kidney. This is the microcosmic process of ascending and descending that can be compared to the ocean 'dwelling with the stars.'

Those who are knowledgeable in the art of nourishing life take care to shut off the lower exit [of jing via ejaculation] while striving to keep the upper pathway [of jing, nourishing the organs and brain] open and unobstructed. In this fashion, there will be a nourishing cycle that is free of leaks. Physical vitality (jing) and mental clarity (shen) will be abundant, nutritive qi (ying) and protective qi (wei) will be strong, inside (water essence) will be sufficient to control fire, and outside (qi) will be sufficient to ward off noxious influences. This is what the art of expelling disease and the art of longevity is all about.
"

Zhuang Yuanchen, Shujuzi: Inner Chapters (Shujuzi Neipian), Ming Dynasty

Mountain water won't kill ya but bad food, too much sex and fear will! :lol:
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Re: Water for Tea

Postby needaTEAcher » Jul 27th, '12, 04:15

As often happens, it seems like teachat has become the battlefield for Western, science-based thought and traditional, Chinese medicinal thought! Always fun to sit back and watch. :lol:
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Re: Water for Tea

Postby David R. » Jul 27th, '12, 07:54

One of my references on the subject :

http://mattchasblog.blogspot.fr/2011/11 ... index.html
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Re: Water for Tea

Postby needaTEAcher » Jul 27th, '12, 21:09

"Larger amount of minerals. This type of water is yin in nature. The water is somewhat heavy and it harmonizes best with heavier teas which generally have more taste than smell (puerh, more oxidized oolong, hong cha, aged teas). Yin type water is appropriate for these teas as the heavy water's body sinks deeply inward supporting and harmonizing to the deepening nature of these heavier teas. When heavier water is infused with tea, a darker coloured infusion results."

From the link directly above.

As a drinker of pu and aged oolongs primarily, I say bring on the mineral-heavy waterfall water!

But seriously, it seems like this issue is so terribly complex that we really can't distil it down to this water is better than that water. If we follow Matcha's teachings from that article, it boils down, at it's easiest, to the idea that each tea has a different optimal water. So depending on what Baggy drinks, his waterfall might be better, but for others, depending on their primary brews, the waterfall might be a bit much.

My own little two cents: I like brewing the same tea with different waters, to learn different sides of the tea. I am always a fan of variables to learn more about the tea!
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Re: Water for Tea

Postby Bryan_drinks_te... » Jul 28th, '12, 00:47

needaTEAcher wrote:my own little two cents: I like brewing the same tea with different waters, to learn different sides of the tea. I am always a fan of variables to learn more about the tea!


I agree with what you're saying, Needa.

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how much one likes science and what not, using the scientific method in studying how to brew a certain kind of tea can work wonders on how we learn about our tea - but - some argue that it can also make one lose their passion for tea. My advice...keep on keeping on, but take some time out to just simply enjoy the tea!

Good Luck Tea Friend,

Bryan
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Re: Water for Tea

Postby zhi zheng » Jul 28th, '12, 04:32

it seems like this issue is so terribly complex that we really can't distil it down to this water is better than that water.


Agreed!
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Re: Water for Tea

Postby bagua7 » Jul 28th, '12, 22:17

Divorcing the fine and subtle art of Chinese tea drinking (Cha Dao, the Way of Tea) from Taoism is a mistake since it is the driving force of the entire Traditional Chinese Culture. As Daniel Reid states in his book The Art and Alchemy of Chinese Tea:

"The fine art of preparing and drinking tea has become a hallmark of Chinese civilization, handed down through the ages in China by monks and martial artists, doctors and hermits, emperors and alchemists."
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Re: Water for Tea

Postby needaTEAcher » Jul 29th, '12, 03:37

Anyone heard of a "Han Oh Mul" water flitration system?
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Re: Water for Tea

Postby TwoDog2 » Jul 29th, '12, 22:03

bagua7 wrote:Divorcing the fine and subtle art of Chinese tea drinking (Cha Dao, the Way of Tea) from Taoism is a mistake since it is the driving force of the entire Traditional Chinese Culture. As Daniel Reid states in his book The Art and Alchemy of Chinese Tea:

"The fine art of preparing and drinking tea has become a hallmark of Chinese civilization, handed down through the ages in China by monks and martial artists, doctors and hermits, emperors and alchemists."


I think this is just a Sinophile style appreciation of tea. Some loan kung fu practicing monk in a hidden temple on the edge of a cliff that overlooks all of civilization, practicing an ancient art with hallowed secrets of 50 generations, etc.... It's quite poetic, and also kind of silly, if you take any sort of distance from it.

Marshaln co-wrote this paper on how gong fu tea got adopted as a national tea practice (in China), which I quite liked. Kind of related.

The notion of tea being this "hallmark of Chinese civilization", as the author you quoted puts it, passed down between hermits in the shadowy catacombs of ancient temples is cute and all, but what is it really? Pouring hot water on a plant.

I love tea, but getting it all wrapped up in this nationality (China) or that religious/philosophical tradition (Taoism) is something that I don't really care for. (I know some people do, and if you do, more power to you)
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Re: Water for Tea

Postby needaTEAcher » Jul 29th, '12, 22:31

[quote="TwoDog2]...but what is it really? Pouring hot water on a plant.

I love tea, but getting it all wrapped up in this nationality (China) or that religious/philosophical tradition (Taoism) is something that I don't really care for. (I know some people do, and if you do, more power to you)[/quote]

Ultimately, I am more of the later, seeking meaning and truth in the leaves, through zen and the tao. That said, to those for whom it is just "hot water on a plant," I say, "More power to you!" I don't expect or even want everyone to be like me, and I am always happy to meet someone who likes leaves and water of any kind!!!!! Just enjoy your brew, whether it is super rare grade AA (or whatever) Lung Ching, or even if it is from a bag and soaked with milk and sugar. :)
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Re: Water for Tea

Postby MarshalN » Jul 29th, '12, 22:38

bagua7 wrote:Divorcing the fine and subtle art of Chinese tea drinking (Cha Dao, the Way of Tea) from Taoism is a mistake since it is the driving force of the entire Traditional Chinese Culture. As Daniel Reid states in his book The Art and Alchemy of Chinese Tea:

"The fine art of preparing and drinking tea has become a hallmark of Chinese civilization, handed down through the ages in China by monks and martial artists, doctors and hermits, emperors and alchemists."


This is silly. Emperors didn't brew their own tea, generally speaking. I can also include on this list: butchers and prostitutes, executioners and moneylenders, grave-diggers and labourers, house servants and eunuchs. Doesn't sound as romantic now, does it? The point is, everyone drank, and still drink, tea. Paragraphs like the above are purely written for Western consumption, for people who want to imagine tea to be some Eastern philosophical magic potion when it's just brewed leaves. Being a Chinese myself, when people say things like this it's actually quite insulting - it caricatures tea drinking to some Disney-ified image of mystical East Asian people doing mystical things. China (or Japan, or Korea) are not populated only by "monks and martial artists, doctors and hermits, emperors and alchemists". It's a gross simplification and one that reduces these places to certain long-held stereotypes from the 19th century or earlier. You rarely see the same kind of language applied to coffee, for example. I'm always appalled when I see people still write like this when it comes to tea.
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Re: Water for Tea

Postby needaTEAcher » Jul 29th, '12, 22:49

I'm reading a book now by Aaron Fisher that talks about all of this, and actually writes about the two-pronged path that tea took, starting in monasteries and hermitages, and staying there, but also flooding into the "World of Dust" and becoming "corrupted", so to speak. He posits that before the first written records, it makes sense that tea was used by medicine men. I think the truth is somewhere between all the stories. As long as there has been tea, I believe there have been those of us who see it as something more.

Also, who is to say that prostitues, slaves/servants, or grave-diggers didn't find soul in the cups? While the masses were, well, the masses, no one can say what was or wasn't when we get down into personal details of long-dead populations. Many people find meaning in many ways, and I think that many seek and have sought truth in the leaves. If it is guesswork (albeit educated guesswork), I will choose to invest myself into a world where tea has been and will be spiritual to many, not just something base and crass.
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