Experimenting with Water

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Jun 12th 16 3:14 am
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by stevorama » Jun 12th 16 3:14 am

Tead Off wrote:
stevorama wrote: Anyone have opinions on using bamboo charcoal in water for tea?
Try to learn how to use the search function on teachat. There is a ton of information and question/answers on bamboo charcoal that posters have talked about for 8 years or so. Then, do your own experiments and come to your own conclusions.
That's a great idea. I did that previously. I didn't come across anything I found conclusive. Perhaps I didn't go back through enough pages of results. Thanks for your suggestion.

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Re: Experimenting with Water

by stevorama » Jun 12th 16 3:19 am

theredbaron wrote:
stevorama wrote:
Yes, I've heard various thoughts about well water. I think there's a lot of variables in well water, like depth, if the aquifer is confined or unconfined and the mineral content. All I really know is that my water tastes really good to drink. I prefer it to most. I should do more comparison with other waters for tea however.

I've read the same about charcoal, but have no experience with it.

Good water to drink and good water to make tea is not necessarily the same. I grew up near the alps, and the water there is a brilliant drinking water right from the tap. But it is so hard that it destroys every tea.
In the end it is about testing and finding the right water of all that is available.
Good point. My water is higher in iron and manganese in particular. I was in the store today, but couldn't bring myself to buy the plastic bottled water! I may fill up a bottle with RO water from the store and try mixing with my water, as someone mentioned doing in an earlier post.

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Re: Experimenting with Water

by theredbaron » Jun 12th 16 3:22 am

bankung wrote:
At least I think I know one guy who put the utmost importance on qi of the tea and would choose a water that could bring out the most chaqi among other despite all the taste factors. And there are plenty of people out there who don't care a heck about chaqi but still know how to properly taste tea based on the aroma, flavour, and aftertaste among others. The choice of tea for these two groups could be very different.

If one view tea as an art, then there should be no right or wrong but appreciation. Choose whatever resonates to you.

This is i can agree with. But if i understood you correctly - it is about the subtle differences between already excellent waters which just pronounce different characteristics. Which of course is a valid discussion based on reason.

Jun 12th 16 3:31 am
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by ethan » Jun 12th 16 3:31 am

Tea-drinking for me = pleasure & well-being. For me this requires having several good teas on hand, good water, & almost any teaware (glass, porcelain, celadon.....)

I don't use expensive teaware. I cannot afford it; &, I don't miss it. For me & my tea it is not necessary, nor is Volvic & Icelandic. When in Thailand, I will take the advice kindly given here to avoid the r.o. water machines. (Teadoff gave me the same advice in person) The cheaper spring waters have been okay & are affordable.

I think the redbaron is correct in saying to make good tea w/ bad water is not sensible. That would be my tap water in Boston, but cleaned by my British Berkefeld ceramic filters it produces excellent results. Excellent tea is good enough; I don't need the absolute very best.

I could pay attention to the height of my pours & to every step of preparation. but then I might not enjoy my tea. As my arteries clog or whatever makes me forgetful etc., it takes an effort to remember which tea is in each caddy, that tea's best parameters...... Preheating my teaware, not eating a banana right before having tea.... there are things on my mind that I know matter Dealing w/ those things is fine but taking on too many worries might mean I cannot enjoy the several sessions of tea that brighten most of my days. Cheers

Jun 12th 16 3:37 am
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by theredbaron » Jun 12th 16 3:37 am

stevorama wrote:
theredbaron wrote:
Good point. My water is higher in iron and manganese in particular. I was in the store today, but couldn't bring myself to buy the plastic bottled water! I may fill up a bottle with RO water from the store and try mixing with my water, as someone mentioned doing in an earlier post.

I understand the resistance against the fashion to drink bottled waters shipped in from all over the world and bad environmental impact. I think it is quite idiotic to do that when even in places without excellent water there are ways to improve them with filters, and i would not drink bottled water unless i really have to (such as here, when i am not at home where we drink filtered water).
However, for tea i believe that there are valid reasons to use bottled water. Of course the ideal situation would be to live close to a mountain spring where we could collect excellent water regularly, but as most do not, we have to make do with what we have.

It is simply part of the dialectics of life that some of the things we enjoy most and which bring us close to nature do have a negative impact on the environment. Take wood fired tea ceramics, for example - absolutely beautiful, but there is a clear impact on nature.

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Re: Experimenting with Water

by theredbaron » Jun 12th 16 3:44 am

ethan wrote: Excellent tea is good enough; I don't need the absolute very best.

I could pay attention to the height of my pours & to every step of preparation. but then I might not enjoy my tea.
There are no absolutes here - life always will fall short if one attempts to reach an absolute.
I believe that in a sense it is not about having to pay closest attention all the time on these factors, but part of the learning process is to work towards these factors becoming instinctive over time (however - i am aware that my own practice was once better, when life left me more space to concentrate on tea).

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Re: Experimenting with Water

by Tead Off » Jun 12th 16 6:32 am

stevorama wrote:
Tead Off wrote:
stevorama wrote: Anyone have opinions on using bamboo charcoal in water for tea?
Try to learn how to use the search function on teachat. There is a ton of information and question/answers on bamboo charcoal that posters have talked about for 8 years or so. Then, do your own experiments and come to your own conclusions.
That's a great idea. I did that previously. I didn't come across anything I found conclusive. Perhaps I didn't go back through enough pages of results. Thanks for your suggestion.
I'm not sure what you mean by conclusive. If you've noticed, that in many conversations about tea, nothing is conclusive. The most you can hope for is information. What you do with that information is another story.

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Re: Experimenting with Water

by bankung » Jun 12th 16 12:33 pm

theredbaron wrote:
bankung wrote:
At least I think I know one guy who put the utmost importance on qi of the tea and would choose a water that could bring out the most chaqi among other despite all the taste factors. And there are plenty of people out there who don't care a heck about chaqi but still know how to properly taste tea based on the aroma, flavour, and aftertaste among others. The choice of tea for these two groups could be very different.

If one view tea as an art, then there should be no right or wrong but appreciation. Choose whatever resonates to you.

This is i can agree with. But if i understood you correctly - it is about the subtle differences between already excellent waters which just pronounce different characteristics. Which of course is a valid discussion based on reason.
Yes, but not always. I could assume that the particular water might be very hard (and therefore is bad in your view) but somehow could give a strong chaqi.

The standard of quality differ from one group to another. A mass public would be ok with lipton. Teachat people might generally be ok with looseleaf tea. Subgroups of teachat people here would require a higher grade tea. Its just about the degree of perceptibility plus preference. So its hard to reach a consensus with people from different subgroups as the bottom lines are not based on the same ground.

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Re: Experimenting with Water

by Frisbeehead » Jun 12th 16 3:29 pm

The mom and pop grocery store right down the street from me sells Volvic, I'll have to head over there today and perhaps pick some up to experiment with.

Currently, I use water that comes through the filter on my fridge. It is an activated carbon filter, which does not remove the natural minerals in the water here, but does filter out chlorine and other things I do not want in my water for making tea. Pretty much all of our water here (NW Ohio) comes from Lake Erie, and I think the water is of good quality. I have had very good experiences making tea with my water here so far, and I have compared it to other places while traveling. The water here is better than the water I've had in other places.

I'll see how this Volvic water compares, though I don't think I'll switch to using it regularly. It's much too expensive for a student like me to use such water for tea all the time. My filtered water here tastes good, so I think I will continue to use it regularly.

Edit: For the proponents of Volvic water (and whatever other artisan waters), do you think that using this water in a kettle that has been continuously used for other water makes any difference? For example, I have been exclusively using my carbon-filtered water from my refrigerator with my kettle since I got it about 6 months or so ago. Thus, the natural minerals of my local water have most likely built up a bit inside my kettle. Will using this Volvic water in my kettle make a big difference, or do you think it will be hardly noticeable? Surely it is not ideal to keep multiple kettles for different kinds of water. I am also curious how this applies to clay or cast iron kettles, and if using different waters inside has any negative effect on the way the water comes out (and thus how the tea comes out). I would think the effects of this would be negligible, but I still consider myself new to the tea game in general, and my taste buds are still developing in terms of sensitivity.

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Re: Experimenting with Water

by theredbaron » Jun 12th 16 4:23 pm

Frisbeehead wrote: I would think the effects of this would be negligible, but I still consider myself new to the tea game in general, and my taste buds are still developing in terms of sensitivity.

There may be some who would disagree, but i think this is negligible.

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Re: Experimenting with Water

by theredbaron » Jun 12th 16 4:34 pm

bankung wrote:
theredbaron wrote:
The standard of quality differ from one group to another. A mass public would be ok with lipton. Teachat people might generally be ok with looseleaf tea. Subgroups of teachat people here would require a higher grade tea. Its just about the degree of perceptibility plus preference. So its hard to reach a consensus with people from different subgroups as the bottom lines are not based on the same ground.

I believe that this discussion is neither for the mass public, nor for people for whom any lose tea is the limit of their experience, but that most people here in this discussion belong to a group who takes the appreciation of tea quite seriously, and aspires to drink the best available tea and reach the optimum of what those teas can give. There are constant discussions on the finest tea wares, best teas, and here naturally on what may be the best waters.

This discussion is valid and necessary as water makes or breaks a tea more than any pot or kettle possibly can. What is the point spending much money on Yixing pots and high grade teas when the optimum in water is not pursued with the same effort?

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Re: Experimenting with Water

by bankung » Jun 12th 16 8:08 pm

theredbaron wrote:
bankung wrote:
theredbaron wrote:
The standard of quality differ from one group to another. A mass public would be ok with lipton. Teachat people might generally be ok with looseleaf tea. Subgroups of teachat people here would require a higher grade tea. Its just about the degree of perceptibility plus preference. So its hard to reach a consensus with people from different subgroups as the bottom lines are not based on the same ground.

I believe that this discussion is neither for the mass public, nor for people for whom any lose tea is the limit of their experience, but that most people here in this discussion belong to a group who takes the appreciation of tea quite seriously, and aspires to drink the best available tea and reach the optimum of what those teas can give. There are constant discussions on the finest tea wares, best teas, and here naturally on what may be the best waters.

This discussion is valid and necessary as water makes or breaks a tea more than any pot or kettle possibly can. What is the point spending much money on Yixing pots and high grade teas when the optimum in water is not pursued with the same effort?
Don't get me wrong though. I like this kind of discussion and I have experimented with water a lot as you could see. It is just that sometimes we couldn't put our words into others and say that their opinion isn't as valued because they are less educated in tea art. At the end , its their opinion on what they drink themselves. If some believe hard water could make a satisfactory tea for themselves, don't you think they are actually blessed? :D

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Re: Experimenting with Water

by Tead Off » Jun 13th 16 2:54 am

theredbaron wrote:
Frisbeehead wrote: I would think the effects of this would be negligible, but I still consider myself new to the tea game in general, and my taste buds are still developing in terms of sensitivity.

There may be some who would disagree, but i think this is negligible.
It's a good question and some attention should be put into it. I remember reading Hojo's comments about using an older tetsubin and the buildup of scale in it. He suggested removing the scale because using a different water than what the scale was made up from could have a deleterious effect on the taste.

I would think that your ss kettle wouldn't have the kind of buildup that a tetsubin would accrue, but I'm not sure the little buildup won't effect the taste. I would say it is better to clean your kettle out. It is not difficult using vinegar, or baking soda, or even a good plastic sponge. Every commercial espresso machine gets cleaned of scale at set intervals. It is SOP (standard operating procedure).

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Re: Experimenting with Water

by theredbaron » Jun 13th 16 3:03 am

bankung wrote:
Don't get me wrong though. I like this kind of discussion and I have experimented with water a lot as you could see. It is just that sometimes we couldn't put our words into others and say that their opinion isn't as valued because they are less educated in tea art. At the end , its their opinion on what they drink themselves. If some believe hard water could make a satisfactory tea for themselves, don't you think they are actually blessed? :D


There is a fine line between being blessed and being touched... ;)

Problem often is that in this time and age of world wide web connectivity almost everybody has an opinion on almost anything, but more often than not did not make the necessary time to educate themselves on they subject matters they have these opinions on. Why should they - instant knowledge seems to be just a few mouse clicks away? And in this time of politically correct "safe spaces" challenging all these opinions becomes more and more difficult.

In my line of work it is imperative to research, and to be well aware of what i do not know. The consequences otherwise could be dire - law suits against me would just be the least of my problems if i would just sprout my opinions without making sure that my facts stand up to scrutiny.

So, no, i do not value opinions much - neither mine nor the opinions of others. I respect time and effort spend on educating oneself on subject matters. For example, on the subject of your profession - you being a violinist - i love classical music, and naturally have a myriad of opinions - but i will not embarrass myself by sprouting them in front of you, because i am quite able to recognize that you will know far more than I on that subject. I would better just listen and learn :)

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Re: Experimenting with Water

by theredbaron » Jun 13th 16 3:09 am

Tead Off wrote:
theredbaron wrote:
Frisbeehead wrote: I would think the effects of this would be negligible, but I still consider myself new to the tea game in general, and my taste buds are still developing in terms of sensitivity.

There may be some who would disagree, but i think this is negligible.
It's a good question and some attention should be put into it. I remember reading Hojo's comments about using an older tetsubin and the buildup of scale in it. He suggested removing the scale because using a different water than what the scale was made up from could have a deleterious effect on the taste.

I would think that your ss kettle wouldn't have the kind of buildup that a tetsubin would accrue, but I'm not sure the little buildup won't effect the taste. I would say it is better to clean your kettle out. It is not difficult using vinegar, or baking soda, or even a good plastic sponge. Every commercial espresso machine gets cleaned of scale at set intervals. It is SOP (standard operating procedure).

Well, yes, of course, if it is about build up of scale you are quite right, i didn't think of this :)
I make quite sure that the water i use is soft enough that it does not build layers of scale in the kettles i use. In the place i was born the water is so hard that also in stainless steel massive layers of scale is quickly built, soon impregnating tea with little white pieces of scale. Not ideal.
The material kettles are made of is also quite important, and there are constant debates on that subject as well...