Experimenting with Water

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Jun 13th, '16, 04:27
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by .m. » Jun 13th, '16, 04:27

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.
This is one the things that Hojo says, that i'm not sure whether it is based on experimentation and his superb tasting skills, or if he just made that up. I cannot see any particular reason why would a scale built up from a good quality water have deteriorating effect on a different water just because it is not the same. Sure there would be some exchange of minerals, but that is not a bad thing. I'd understand if he talked was about a second hand tetsubin where one does not know if a quality water was used in it.

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Jun 13th, '16, 04:59
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by Tead Off » Jun 13th, '16, 04:59

theredbaron wrote:
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...
Let's not forget the effect different pots have on tea. Today, I brewed Rou Gui in a zisha pot. First with a mix of Aura mineral water and filtered tap. It tasted dry and a bit rough. I switched to Volvic and the dryness disappeared and the flavor perked up. I still wasn't happy.

So, I switched out a hongni shipao for the zisha, put a new batch of tea leaves into it and used Volvic. It was like drinking a different tea. There is a noticeable difference between pots and in this case, maybe almost as much of a difference as the water made.

The main thing that I notice with Volvic across all teas used with it is an increase in body and huigan, giving a thicker mouthfeel and a fuller after-taste with enhanced flavor. Unfortunately, it won't make a mediocre tea into a good one. So, once again, the three main factors are:

Good tea
Good water
Good teapot

Jun 13th, '16, 07:40
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by theredbaron » Jun 13th, '16, 07:40

Tead Off wrote:
The main thing that I notice with Volvic across all teas used with it is an increase in body and huigan, giving a thicker mouthfeel and a fuller after-taste with enhanced flavor. Unfortunately, it won't make a mediocre tea into a good one. So, once again, the three main factors are:

Good tea
Good water
Good teapot

Absolute agreement!
And skill, that is of utmost importance - i have never been able to come close to teas brewed by my tea teacher. But then, he is an expert who has dedicated his life to tea.

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Jun 13th, '16, 09:25
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by PuerhCollector » Jun 13th, '16, 09:25

theredbaron wrote:
Tead Off wrote:
The main thing that I notice with Volvic across all teas used with it is an increase in body and huigan, giving a thicker mouthfeel and a fuller after-taste with enhanced flavor. Unfortunately, it won't make a mediocre tea into a good one. So, once again, the three main factors are:

Good tea
Good water
Good teapot

Absolute agreement!
And skill, that is of utmost importance - i have never been able to come close to teas brewed by my tea teacher. But then, he is an expert who has dedicated his life to tea.
To gain the utmost in tea appreciation I find that the mental aspect towards how to approach a tea session is also worth noting. Being in the right frame of mind such as being open, attentive and focus always makes a tea session more meaningful and enjoyable to me. I believe the presence of your teacher would support this. I love how the art of drinking tea teaches us to slowly sip and appreciate each little cup and not take big swallows with no regard like how water is generally drunk. This helps remind us to be alert and attentive thus maintaining an awareness of the experience we are having – and for the Qi enthusiasts the effects on our bodies. Obviously the more rare/costly/special the tea is the more alert and focus we tend to become such is human nature.

Jun 13th, '16, 09:52
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by theredbaron » Jun 13th, '16, 09:52

PuerhCollector wrote:
To gain the utmost in tea appreciation I find that the mental aspect towards how to approach a tea session is also worth noting. Being in the right frame of mind such as being open, attentive and focus always makes a tea session more meaningful and enjoyable to me.

I absolutely agree. :)

One of the most memorable tea sessions i had was after walking for hours around the tea plantations in the Wu Yi Mountains, in 95, or so, and finally happening upon the house of a tea farmer where he and me drunk awesome tea, communicating perfectly even though we had no common language.

Jun 13th, '16, 09:59
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by bankung » Jun 13th, '16, 09:59

theredbaron wrote:
Tead Off wrote:
The main thing that I notice with Volvic across all teas used with it is an increase in body and huigan, giving a thicker mouthfeel and a fuller after-taste with enhanced flavor. Unfortunately, it won't make a mediocre tea into a good one. So, once again, the three main factors are:

Good tea
Good water
Good teapot

Absolute agreement!
And skill, that is of utmost importance - i have never been able to come close to teas brewed by my tea teacher. But then, he is an expert who has dedicated his life to tea.
There we need practice and practice, and practice :) One double-edges sword in this borderless world is that we have access to too many tea to try and way too little time to learn about each of them and think we know a lot about tea, forgotten that even the tea masters have their own specialisation.

Jun 13th, '16, 10:27
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by theredbaron » Jun 13th, '16, 10:27

bankung wrote:
theredbaron wrote:
There we need practice and practice, and practice :) One double-edges sword in this borderless world is that we have access to too many tea to try and way too little time to learn about each of them and think we know a lot about tea, forgotten that even the tea masters have their own specialisation.

Indeed.

In a way, i am glad that i started my life when the was no www, smartphones and all that. I drunk Chinese tea for the first time in Singapore, in '91 or so. I was so fascinated that i got then a copy of John Blofeld's 'The Chinese Art of Tea', and knew that i had to go to China and see for myself as that was the only way to begin learning about Chinese tea. Which i managed to in '93, after several detours... :)

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Jun 13th, '16, 11:39
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by kuánglóng » Jun 13th, '16, 11:39

Tead Off wrote:
The main thing that I notice with Volvic across all teas used with it is an increase in body and huigan, giving a thicker mouthfeel and a fuller after-taste with enhanced flavor. Unfortunately, it won't make a mediocre tea into a good one. So, once again, the three main factors are:

Good tea
Good water
Good teapot
Let's not forget cups, we've discussed the effects a while ago. Even though I mostly use white porcelain cups some teas taste significantly different in some of my newer cups than in some older cups that I use more often, even if their shapes and wall thickness are pretty equal. My first guess would be the effects of the different glazes on the surface tension of the soup but I don't have a tensiometer here to prove it.

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Jun 13th, '16, 12:59
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by Frisbeehead » Jun 13th, '16, 12:59

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).
The kettle I am using now actually does not seem to have much visual scale built up inside. In fact, it looks quite clean inside, and the only indication of scale is on the bottom, where there is like a half ring (a u-shape) of spots/splotches that look like they might be scale. But I haven't noticed any build up of any mineraly white material or anything like that. Below is a picture of the inside of the kettle I use.

Image

I have read Hojo's article on the subject before, where he mentions that using a new water with a different mineral composition in a kettle that has been accustomed to the original water (and mineral composition) adversely affects the overall mineral composition. Though I wonder why this would be, perhaps because there would be too many different minerals? Or do some cancel each other out or something?

I will probably just end up testing the Volvic water in my kettle without cleaning the kettle with vinegar or anything, and I'll report if I notice a difference. I think using a different water in it once won't ruin the kettle or anything like that, it takes time for minerals to build up in a kettle.

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Jun 13th, '16, 18:54
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by jayinhk » Jun 13th, '16, 18:54

An interesting experiment on coffee brewing with different waters:

http://optipurewater.com/blog/tim-hibbs ... la-results

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Jun 20th, '16, 17:11
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by stevorama » Jun 20th, '16, 17:11

What are people's thoughts on preferred total dissolved solids for brewing pu-erh/hei cha? Do you look for a particular number? Or just go by brewing results or perhaps a particular mineral profile? Volvic water is listed as 140 mg/L. I checked my drinking water (well water) and tds is 85-90.

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Jun 20th, '16, 21:36
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by jayinhk » Jun 20th, '16, 21:36

I've read people go softer for greens and green oolongs and heavier for darker oolongs/hei cha/pu erh. About to conduct a water experiment with a new brand of water, so let's see what happens.

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Re: Experimenting with Water

by jayinhk » Jun 20th, '16, 23:19

Using Luchon mineral water today--$6.50 for five liters at the supermarket on the corner. This water is from the Pyrenees and is actually surprisingly soft at only 85 mg/L of solids. Brewing up maocha that I picked up last week in a Jianshui pot. It does seem to bring out the flavor better, but I'm using more leaf today. Closer to how it tasted when I tried it in the tea market in Kunming, but that also might be because it's rested for two days now. I'll keep experimenting with this water with different teas. I can't drink the same tea two sessions in a row (gets boring), but I think five liters is enough that I can try it with several different teas to form my own conclusion.

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Jun 21st, '16, 07:13
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by Psyck » Jun 21st, '16, 07:13

Thanks folks, for the helpful tips.

In my tests, I have found that adding filtered tap water to my daily drinking ozonized RO water in a 1:10 ratio (or a half cup of120ml per litre) to get a TDS of about 100 produced decent results.

Any TDS at or below that of natural spring water should work - less does not add enough body to the tea and more would deaden the flavours; so some trial & error is required to get it right for your tastes.

A convoluted process for sure and natural/bottled spring water wins in terms of both quality and convenience, at least for your finer teas.

Happy brewing ☕

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Jun 21st, '16, 08:28
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by Tead Off » Jun 21st, '16, 08:28

stevorama wrote:What are people's thoughts on preferred total dissolved solids for brewing pu-erh/hei cha? Do you look for a particular number? Or just go by brewing results or perhaps a particular mineral profile? Volvic water is listed as 140 mg/L. I checked my drinking water (well water) and tds is 85-90.
I just read another analysis for Volvic stating about 200ppm. How does that translate to mg/L?

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