Experimenting with Water

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Jun 9th 16 6:59 pm
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by theredbaron » Jun 9th 16 6:59 pm

jayinhk wrote:Hong Kong tap water is already softer than Volvic--after filtration, even softer! HK tap water's average hardness is 38 mg/L. Volvic is 109 mg/L. Quite a big difference!

I find Volvic gives me a blander brew, but with more body.

Soft isn't all.

Here i found an article on Hong Kong Tap water, and its degradation over the last years:

https://www.teaguardian.com/tea-hows/sp ... tap-water/

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Jun 9th 16 7:06 pm
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by jayinhk » Jun 9th 16 7:06 pm

From your article above:

"A similar test was actually done before about 10 years ago in the flagship store of my tea brand at that time 2. A customer ( who is a friend now ) brought the most expensive spring water from Hokkaido to compare with the properly filtered and molecule re-aligned tap water in my shop. Ours won by a tiny bit."

Molecule realignment? :lol:
http://www.giawellness.com/2/products/aqua-gia/i-h2o/

Hong Kong has been buying water from Guangdong for decades...and a lot of improvements have been made. Thanks for the link. That stream is near my old home!

Jun 9th 16 7:22 pm
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by theredbaron » Jun 9th 16 7:22 pm

jayinhk wrote:From your article above:

"A similar test was actually done before about 10 years ago in the flagship store of my tea brand at that time 2. A customer ( who is a friend now ) brought the most expensive spring water from Hokkaido to compare with the properly filtered and molecule re-aligned tap water in my shop. Ours won by a tiny bit."

Molecule realignment? :lol:
http://www.giawellness.com/2/products/aqua-gia/i-h2o/

Hong Kong has been buying water from Guangdong for decades...and a lot of improvements have been made. Thanks for the link. That stream is near my old home!

Another quote describing the Guangdong water sent to Hong Kong:

"In a country where environmental protection is not famous and ground water pollution only occasionally dealt with to satisfy the showcase needs of certain politicians, the quality of water that is piped down to Hong Kong has been notorious, to say the least. This water goes into our reservoirs. To make sure the quality is at least safe, a lot of treatment goes in it.

Safe it may be; sweetness not. The unfiltered water often smells chlorine and tastes rough."

My suggestion is to try that water from the stream described.

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Jun 9th 16 7:32 pm
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by jayinhk » Jun 9th 16 7:32 pm

theredbaron wrote:
jayinhk wrote:From your article above:

"A similar test was actually done before about 10 years ago in the flagship store of my tea brand at that time 2. A customer ( who is a friend now ) brought the most expensive spring water from Hokkaido to compare with the properly filtered and molecule re-aligned tap water in my shop. Ours won by a tiny bit."

Molecule realignment? :lol:
http://www.giawellness.com/2/products/aqua-gia/i-h2o/

Hong Kong has been buying water from Guangdong for decades...and a lot of improvements have been made. Thanks for the link. That stream is near my old home!

Another quote describing the Guangdong water sent to Hong Kong:

"In a country where environmental protection is not famous and ground water pollution only occasionally dealt with to satisfy the showcase needs of certain politicians, the quality of water that is piped down to Hong Kong has been notorious, to say the least. This water goes into our reservoirs. To make sure the quality is at least safe, a lot of treatment goes in it.

Safe it may be; sweetness not. The unfiltered water often smells chlorine and tastes rough."

My suggestion is to try that water from the stream described.
That guy has no idea what he's talking about. Too busy realigning molecules. :D

Better streams and water quality on my island...I live on Lantau, the largest island in HK and large swathes of the island are still undeveloped!

http://www.hkadventurer.com/crouching/crouching.html

Jun 11th 16 12:27 am
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by bankung » Jun 11th 16 12:27 am

For any water experiment, it is crucial that you try it side by side with the same tea. It is useless to argue when you don't have the water of the question to even try brewing the tea. As I said, I generally like volvic for most of the mediocre to good tea. I am also more than happy with a certain RO water (mineralised RO water, which is not distilled water by any mean) for great tea that is thick enough and would benefit more from the purity and sharpness of the water.

I have never been a fan of tap water out of the tap as the chlorine smell is strong. However, the tap water, from the reservoir I have been to, right after the RO and UV process is actually good for drinking. There is also a tap bottled water available for commercial that taste just as fine from the Thai government albeit not very popular.

One last bit, people tastes are vastly different. Some would say new 7542 dayi is enjoyable but some in this forum would say its not worth drinking. If we couldn't reach the general consensus even for the tea quality, then the water is out of the question.

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Re: Experimenting with Water

by theredbaron » Jun 11th 16 3:50 am

bankung wrote: One last bit, people tastes are vastly different. Some would say new 7542 dayi is enjoyable but some in this forum would say its not worth drinking. If we couldn't reach the general consensus even for the tea quality, then the water is out of the question.

There i would somewhat disagree. While we may have personal preference for this other the other tea, water is a more neutral factor. With water it is a about bringing the optimum out of each individual tea - such as clarity and full range of taste inherent to the particular tea.

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Jun 11th 16 4:42 am
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by jayinhk » Jun 11th 16 4:42 am

I agree with Bankung. It's all a matter of taste. Some prefer hongni and some zisha, for the same exact tea. You might like Volvic over fancy Canadian water, but someone else might prefer the opposite. In Wien, the water is extremely hard, but my mother thinks the water is great for tea! I only brewed up rooibos and the loose shu my dad had lying around there after he passed and thought the water was fine--the crappy tea/storage was the issue! I tried one of the teas at home and it was just as bad! Traditional storage pu erh that had been stored airtight while it was still moist from Hong Kong humidity.

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Re: Experimenting with Water

by theredbaron » Jun 11th 16 6:31 am

jayinhk wrote:I agree with Bankung. It's all a matter of taste. Some prefer hongni and some zisha, for the same exact tea. You might like Volvic over fancy Canadian water, but someone else might prefer the opposite. In Wien, the water is extremely hard, but my mother thinks the water is great for tea! I only brewed up rooibos and the loose shu my dad had lying around there after he passed and thought the water was fine--the crappy tea/storage was the issue! I tried one of the teas at home and it was just as bad! Traditional storage pu erh that had been stored airtight while it was still moist from Hong Kong humidity.


Again, sorry, but this time strong disagreement. It is not all a simple matter of taste. Appreciation of tea art and culture is a lifelong journey of learning (and no disrespect to your mother, but i very much doubt that she knows much about tea if she is of the opinion that hard Vienna tap water could possibly be good for tea). While some are of the opinion that Lipton tea bags and lots of milk and sugar is great tea - it is a rather uneducated opinion. And no, in danger of being politically incorrect - but not all opinions are of equal worth, people who study a subject matter intensively and for a long time have more educated opinions. If it would all be just a matter of personal taste or opinion, we should close this forum and stop talking, and get on with tea bags in cheap mugs.

And yes, i quite possibly would prefer the fancy Canadian water over Volvic - if i could just get it here. But i can't, so Volvic has it to be as it is the best that is available here. Point being - if you want the optimum out of your tea - you will have to test all waters available to you where you live. You may also want to do that with a tea friend or master who knows more than you, and can give you the right guidance. If you have a mountain stream with excellent tea water close by where you live, then hike there once a while with a canister in your backpack and get some, Would be good for your stamina as well. Where i live the only streams available are poisonous canals.

As to "Some prefer hongni and some zisha" - no, it isn't that simple. That is why generations of tea masters experiment with different pots of different makers, eras, clays, firing methods, etc for different teas and actively discuss that subject matter. But that is a topic which sooner or later one would need expert guidance as it gets rather esoteric there and into very subtle differences of taste. And there my limits are reached soon, mostly because i do not regularly drink with a tea master. But i have done that previously, so i do know how subtle the differences are there, and how much learning goes into the matter at hand (and i know that i know very little compared to some).

Sometimes i get the impression that for many tea appreciation is like photography - many hobbyists who can buy the most expensive cameras think they are automatically great photographers, and do not understand the skill, talent and years of learning that goes into being a good photographer.

I can only suggest at this point that you should find a tea master who can guide you. Internet forums do not replace hands on guidance. Tea people have done that for more than a thousand years and there is no reasons why that tradition should be stopped or dismissed.

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Jun 11th 16 6:57 am
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by jayinhk » Jun 11th 16 6:57 am

Let's agree to disagree. I remember you stating the energy of bamboo tea tables is wrong for brewing tea, or something along those lines--you're more that entitled to your opinion, but that sounded like total hogwash to me. :D

My mother is a supertaster. She detects smells and aromas nobody else does. I could never sneak past her as a teen after smoking or drinking because she had a nose like a bloodhound. Education can color opinions as much as it can help guide them. The best education, IMO, teaches you to be openminded and not bogged down by the past. Part of the reason China let themselves get punked by the British in The Opium Wars was because they'd closed themselves off for centuries, and hadn't made advances in weapons technology. That and they were totally unprepared for the scourge that Indian opium presented.

My personal opinion is that teabags are crap, with or without this forum, so even if we were to shut down, I wouldn't be using them, nor would you. Some people will continue to use them regardless, and perhaps even side by side with much better tea.

I do agree that testing different waters is a worthwhile endeavor, though, and I will seriously experiment with different waters when I get back from Yunnan. I treat everything with what I consider to be a healthy level of skepticism and I believe in PROOF.

I prefer to learn from many masters rather than just one and form my own views. Some believe red ribbons on tea canisters provide magical properties. Others think molecular realignment makes water tremendously powerful. We have an expression about opinions in English...since this is a family friendly forum, let's just say everyone has them. :D I believe the same expression may exist auf Deutsch auch. We build on the knowledge of the past or we stay stagnant. We now know the world isn't flat, and we live longer than we ever have. Sticking to the ways of old and only those ways leads to a complete lack of progress.

Here's what blindly following a master can get lead to:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5xeNePF-cg

Tea discussion also never traditionally occurred online. Maybe you should go find a tea master instead, and move closer to a good water source, rather than drinking chemically treated groundwater that's spent months in PET bottles! :D

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Re: Experimenting with Water

by theredbaron » Jun 11th 16 7:37 am

jayinhk wrote:Let's agree to disagree. I remember you stating the energy of bamboo tea tables is wrong for brewing tea, or something along those lines--you're more that entitled to your opinion, but that sounded like total hogwash to me. :D

...

Tea discussion also never traditionally occurred online. Maybe you should go find a tea master instead, and move closer to a good water source, rather than drinking chemically treated groundwater that's spent months in PET bottles! :D

First - as i have stated several times - i do have a tea teacher: Lim Ping Xiang, who is now quite recognized, but who i was introduced to in in '97, when he was mostly locally known. So, thank you for the introduction of a little wit here, very amusing....

Great if you have the privilege and access to the many tea masters you have been able to learn from. Can you name some here, and some of the lessons, so we can partake of the tea wisdom you have had the opportunity to benefit from in the last decades or so?

And no, your memory seems to play tricks with you,i have not stated that bamboo trays would be bad because of "wrong energy", but because the material does not work, that most of the trays are sooner or later cracking even if heavily resin coated, and that more traditional set ups are better. Far more mundane than "energy". What you are referring to are very esoteric experiments regarding material of trays, especially older Yixing clays (in double blind tests) done by my tea teacher and other extremely knowledgeable tea people, in which i have simply participated without really understanding much other than it indeed made a difference, subtle, but noticeable. I got under fire for saying that. To expound on that, some time ago i have bought a small japanese copper kensui to place my pots on, and for some reason the taste of the tea was really bad. Again, i have no idea why - the were was no direct contact between the tea and the copper, but it tasted shit, much worse than when i use my tea boats or my yixing tray.

As to your mum catching you smoking. Every non-smoker can do that. For non-smokers we smokers reek of smoke. As in every art - talent helps a lot, but skill has to be acquired by learning. Which is not the same as an opinion.

As to opinions, yes, indeed, a few times i have thought about the same expression during this discussion...

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Jun 11th 16 7:50 am
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by jayinhk » Jun 11th 16 7:50 am

By tea masters, I wasn't referring to any esteemed grand sifu of the Wuyicha Druid Clan...I learn from people who drink tea, a lot of tea, and for much longer than I have. Many whose families have been involved with tea for generations. I also learn from people here, and from my own experiences.

I can't share all of my knowledge openly...my chi could get stolen, you see...and captured and used for nefarious purposes. Oh, right, TeaChat. I tend to post a lot of my opinions on tea there...

I've been using the same bamboo tea table for five years. No cracks.

The word 'esoteric' automatically activates my bs meter, yet some like to use it frequently. Opinions, again.

I currently brew on porcelain, stainless and even glass surfaces...no difference from bamboo. The minute difference in thermal properties between materials doesn't affect the tea in any detectable manner, IMO, but I'd gladly try out your copper kensui so I could form my own opinion.

As for smoking...I usually smoked ONE cigarette outdoors hours before going home, washed my hands, chewed gum and even put on cologne and rubbed it into my fingertips. I no longer smoke cigarettes--maybe 2-3 a year, if that. I'd wager quitting smoking would make a far greater difference to your tea appreciation than copper vs porcelain tea trays.

Mom can still smell what the neighbors are cooking long before anyone else can, too. Again, you'd have to see for yourself so you could form your own opinion. ;)

OK, time for me to get going...Kunming tomorrow! Tschüß!

Jun 11th 16 8:15 am
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by theredbaron » Jun 11th 16 8:15 am

jayinhk wrote:By tea masters, I wasn't referring to...

Indeed...

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Re: Experimenting with Water

by jayinhk » Jun 11th 16 8:26 am

A friend of mine was recently steered to a fake Yixing by a Taiwanese 'tea master,' so forgive me if I'm skeptical. Again, I'd be happy to talk to one, but I don't follow any one person blindly. Perhaps your tea master knows his stuff, or maybe he's got himself a nice little racket going on. I don't know the dude well enough to form an...opinion. I believe everyone has the potential to teach us something, whether or not they wear white silk tai chi outfits and have bushy white eyebrows and fu manchu moustaches, and have thousands of adulating followers on Facebook.

Funnily enough, I came across your tea master's name earlier today, when Googling "kunming liu bao."

https://www.essenceoftea.com/blog/2014/ ... ing-xiang/

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Re: Experimenting with Water

by theredbaron » Jun 11th 16 8:41 am

jayinhk wrote:I don't know the dude well enough to form an...opinion.
Indeed...

...therefore i would suggest not to engage in senseless blather speculating about supposed rackets that a person you don't know anything about might engage in.

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Jun 11th 16 8:44 am
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by jayinhk » Jun 11th 16 8:44 am

No speculation at all...I was saying I don't know the guy and was giving you two possible extremes for what the situation might be. :lol: