Experimenting with Water

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Jun 24th, '16, 00:44
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by stevorama » Jun 24th, '16, 00:44

Drax wrote: The number (amount) really doesn't matter as much as what those solids are (identity).
Are there particular solids that you look for when choosing water?

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Jun 24th, '16, 10:12
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by Drax » Jun 24th, '16, 10:12

stevorama wrote:
Drax wrote: The number (amount) really doesn't matter as much as what those solids are (identity).
Are there particular solids that you look for when choosing water?
Unfortunately no, I haven't experimented to know what my palate prefers (and my opinion is that such preferences vary from person to person).

Just be aware that looking at a TDS number tells you nothing about composition.

Jun 25th, '16, 04:59
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by .m. » Jun 25th, '16, 04:59

stevorama wrote: The "hard" or "soft" water terminology confuses me sometimes. I think because I lived in a place with "softened" water and it tasted so salty and thick. Whereas good mineral water can taste crisp and clean, not something I would call "hard."

This makes sense. Water softening deals with so-called temporary hardness, which caused mainly by the presence of dissolved carbonates and bicarbonates of calcium and magnesium. There are several softening procedures, among them:
- boiling the water: causes precipitation and scaling of the minerals
- adding washing soda: fine for laundry but not for tea
- ion-exchange resins: this is the most common water treatment. it replaces the calcium and magnesium ions by sodium and potassium.
So it makes sense that water treated by such procedure would be slightly more salty.
(source https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_water, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_softening)

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Jun 25th, '16, 06:47
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by Drax » Jun 25th, '16, 06:47

Speaking of hard and soft water, be careful if you search this board for information -- I was doing that the other day, and there's a fair amount of mis-understanding (and thus mis-information) on the topic. Some people confused the technical definitions that .m. just described for their own personal interpretations of the terms (e.g., this water has a soft feeling on my tongue, thus I call it soft).

There was also a lot of mis-understanding on the relationship between hard and soft water (in the technical sense) and TDS -- for example, that one has a higher TDS than the other. That's not quite right -- there's no relationship between TDS and hardness/softness of water. If I take a hard water with high calcium and magnesium content and exchange one-for-one those ions with sodium to make it softer, I have not changed the TDS. That's why I said it matters what those 'things' in the water actually are. You will find the water has a different 'taste' (or at least, 'feel').

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Jun 25th, '16, 11:24
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by stevorama » Jun 25th, '16, 11:24

.m. wrote: This makes sense. Water softening deals with so-called temporary hardness, which caused mainly by the presence of dissolved carbonates and bicarbonates of calcium and magnesium. There are several softening procedures, among them:
- boiling the water: causes precipitation and scaling of the minerals
- adding washing soda: fine for laundry but not for tea
- ion-exchange resins: this is the most common water treatment. it replaces the calcium and magnesium ions by sodium and potassium.
So it makes sense that water treated by such procedure would be slightly more salty.
(source https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_water, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_softening)
Thanks for that info. The place I lived with soft water used ion exchange. I really didn't like that water. I didn't know that boiling softens water (I'm assuming you mean reduced tds.) Now that I have a tds meter I've checked my water before and after boiling and tds elevates slightly. Actually it does the same if I fill a container and let the water sit. It goes from about 85 to 91+. I don't understand that.

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Jun 25th, '16, 11:33
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by stevorama » Jun 25th, '16, 11:33

Drax wrote:Speaking of hard and soft water, be careful if you search this board for information -- I was doing that the other day, and there's a fair amount of mis-understanding (and thus mis-information) on the topic. Some people confused the technical definitions that .m. just described for their own personal interpretations of the terms (e.g., this water has a soft feeling on my tongue, thus I call it soft).

There was also a lot of mis-understanding on the relationship between hard and soft water (in the technical sense) and TDS -- for example, that one has a higher TDS than the other. That's not quite right -- there's no relationship between TDS and hardness/softness of water. If I take a hard water with high calcium and magnesium content and exchange one-for-one those ions with sodium to make it softer, I have not changed the TDS. That's why I said it matters what those 'things' in the water actually are. You will find the water has a different 'taste' (or at least, 'feel').
Right, I get what you're saying about hard and soft. Actually that's why I put my earlier question out with emphasis on tds. Like you just mentioned I've started to think about what the actual mineral content is. Using a tds meter has been enlightening. Best brewing results seems to vary a lot by tea. For example my filtered office water has high tds, about 260, but makes certain teas really shine, but not others.

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Re: Experimenting with Water

by ethan » Jun 25th, '16, 11:52

One can approach this as an engineer would. I suggest a non-analytical approach: Try & try, find what works, & don't ask why.

1: Study: What waters & filters are easily available & are affordable where one lives.

2. Try them out w/ teas.

3. Buy the water(s) +/or filter(s) that work best for you.

4. Enjoy your tea.

Cheers

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Jun 25th, '16, 11:59
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by jayinhk » Jun 25th, '16, 11:59

Trying a store brand mineral water at my office in the city. Tea is weird with this water. Not good with shu (brought out a lot of storage flavor) but surprisingly good with Benshan oolong, which became much milder and sweeter. Strange. This tea has also been aging for a few years (I bought 600g). Will try it with different water!
Last edited by jayinhk on Jun 25th, '16, 12:02, edited 1 time in total.

Jun 25th, '16, 12:02
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by .m. » Jun 25th, '16, 12:02

stevorama wrote:
.m. wrote: This makes sense. Water softening deals with so-called temporary hardness, which caused mainly by the presence of dissolved carbonates and bicarbonates of calcium and magnesium. There are several softening procedures, among them:
- boiling the water: causes precipitation and scaling of the minerals
- adding washing soda: fine for laundry but not for tea
- ion-exchange resins: this is the most common water treatment. it replaces the calcium and magnesium ions by sodium and potassium.
So it makes sense that water treated by such procedure would be slightly more salty.
(source https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_water, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_softening)
Thanks for that info. The place I lived with soft water used ion exchange. I really didn't like that water. I didn't know that boiling softens water (I'm assuming you mean reduced tds.) Now that I have a tds meter I've checked my water before and after boiling and tds elevates slightly. Actually it does the same if I fill a container and let the water sit. It goes from about 85 to 91+. I don't understand that.
Right, that was quite misleading to say that boiling does soften water. In fact that only happens when the water contains a relatively high level of bicarbonates which then precipitate and sink to the bottom of the kettle.
I use a big ceramic crock for filtered water, and it seems to me that the water at the very bottom of the crock tends to be more heavy in minerals (but i didnt do any measuring). Otherwise, also evaporation could cause the tds to elevate.

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Jun 25th, '16, 12:55
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by stevorama » Jun 25th, '16, 12:55

ethan wrote:One can approach this as an engineer would. I suggest a non-analytical approach: Try & try, find what works, & don't ask why.

1: Study: What waters & filters are easily available & are affordable where one lives.

2. Try them out w/ teas.

3. Buy the water(s) +/or filter(s) that work best for you.

4. Enjoy your tea.

Cheers
Yes! Enjoying the tea and experience is the thing. I find the discovery process to be enjoyable as well.

Jun 25th, '16, 15:55
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by theredbaron » Jun 25th, '16, 15:55

Getting back to the beginning of the discussion, i have managed to find Iceland Spring Water in a department store some distance away, but still quite reachable. It indeed is a very good water, definitely a notch above Volvic (judging from one pot of Yancha). It gives more body and an increased aftertaste. It's a third more expensive than Volvic, but worth it.
I will continue trying it with some of my other favorites which i know well.

Jun 25th, '16, 15:57
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by theredbaron » Jun 25th, '16, 15:57

jayinhk wrote: I think it's safe to say I am a convert to using spring/mineral water now. Will try a new brand of water tomorrow ...

Testing waters before becoming sarcy with me could have saved us a lot of aggravation here.

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Re: Experimenting with Water

by jayinhk » Jun 25th, '16, 16:11

theredbaron wrote:
jayinhk wrote: I think it's safe to say I am a convert to using spring/mineral water now. Will try a new brand of water tomorrow ...

Testing waters before becoming sarcy with me could have saved us a lot of aggravation here.
You get aggravated pretty easily. :)

Jun 25th, '16, 19:07
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by bankung » Jun 25th, '16, 19:07

Here is the list of what I primarily look at in the bottled water to assess if I want to try it out.

1. pH
2. Calcium
3. Magnesium
4. Na
5. HCO3
6. TDS

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Jun 26th, '16, 13:45
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by TORamarn » Jun 26th, '16, 13:45

Please note that the readings from Ionic Conductivity TDS meter is meaningful only if the ionic strength of the solution is basically derived from two dissolved ions, meaning it's useless for the application we're talking about.

For anyone who really wants to go deep into the chemistry of water and the physics of the extraction, one of the books that you can try is "Water for Coffee". It's written for coffee people but more than 95% of the book is about water. It is HIGHLY technical though.

Here's the link: http://waterforcoffeebook.com/products/water-for-coffee

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