Experimenting with Water

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Jun 21st 16 12:31 pm
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by Tead Off » Jun 21st 16 12:31 pm

Psyck wrote: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 ☕
Did you know, in the U.S., a spring water is not the same as a mineral water. To be listed as a mineral water, there must be a minimum of 250ppm (parts per million).

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Jun 21st 16 1:06 pm
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by TORamarn » Jun 21st 16 1:06 pm

Tead Off wrote: I just read another analysis for Volvic stating about 200ppm. How does that translate to mg/L?
ppm is the same as mg/L.
Pure water's mass at 1 liter is 1kg, which is 1,000,000mg.

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Re: Experimenting with Water

by stevorama » Jun 21st 16 4:25 pm

Tead Off wrote:I just read another analysis for Volvic stating about 200ppm. How does that translate to mg/L?
I was going by this analysis that jayinhk posted earlier in the thread. It's listed under "solids total dissolved." Perhaps Volvic has multiple sources with different TDS or seasonal fluctuation?

http://www.volvic-na.com/pdf/Water-Qual ... t-2012.pdf

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Jun 21st 16 4:46 pm
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by jayinhk » Jun 21st 16 4:46 pm

stevorama wrote:
Tead Off wrote:I just read another analysis for Volvic stating about 200ppm. How does that translate to mg/L?
I was going by this analysis that jayinhk posted earlier in the thread. It's listed under "solids total dissolved." Perhaps Volvic has multiple sources with different TDS or seasonal fluctuation?

http://www.volvic-na.com/pdf/Water-Qual ... t-2012.pdf
Yes, fluctuation is normal, perhaps even more so with tap water. There's always a range of values for water sources. Water, being a solvent, picks up whatever it comes into contact with. Even rain water picks up CO2 --> carbonic acid (among other things) from the atmosphere as it falls from the sky.

I read a study from a Taiwanese university (funded by TenRen) where they suspected certain solutes in water precipitated certain compounds from green tea--harder water should, therefore, lead to a loss of aroma and flavor, if their suspicions are correct, but you also want some solutes for body/mouthfeel.

I'm planning on learning Mandarin in Guangdong, which will take me up there once a week (a lot cheaper than learning it down here in HK). I might bring back some spring water from Shenzhen every week. I used Nongfu Spring water up there, which is cheap and worked well when I used it to brew in Kunming, even with a TDS of 400. I quite liked the results I got from it, especially with cha tou.

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Jun 21st 16 5:00 pm
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by Psyck » Jun 21st 16 5:00 pm

Tead Off wrote: Did you know, in the U.S., a spring water is not the same as a mineral water. To be listed as a mineral water, there must be a minimum of 250ppm (parts per million).
I did not know that, here in India:
Bottled spring water is produced from Himalayan streams and sold as Natural Mineral Water / Natural Mountain Water for about $1/L - it contains about 250 TDS.
Bottled RO water with minerals added is sold as Mineral Water for about $0.25/L and contains about 100 TDS.
The bulk RO water I buy for drinking (about $0.04/L) does not have minerals added, hence the added tap water in my attempts to remineralize it.

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Re: Experimenting with Water

by stevorama » Jun 21st 16 5:06 pm

I just got a TDS tester and was surprised that my home well water was only 85-90 tds. It certainly tastes mineral-ly to me. Actually there can be a metallic taste. Due to high iron I think. I tried mixing it with RO water and liked the results. I noticed increased "high notes" and subtle flavors and slight decreased body. I also tried local spring water from a local company with 100+ tds, but can't say it was an improvement over my water. I've heard of a piped spring near me so that's the next adventure!

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Jun 21st 16 5:15 pm
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by jayinhk » Jun 21st 16 5:15 pm

Psyck wrote:
Tead Off wrote: Did you know, in the U.S., a spring water is not the same as a mineral water. To be listed as a mineral water, there must be a minimum of 250ppm (parts per million).
I did not know that, here in India:
Bottled spring water is produced from Himalayan streams and sold as Natural Mineral Water / Natural Mountain Water for about $1/L - it contains about 250 TDS.
Bottled RO water with minerals added is sold as Mineral Water for about $0.25/L and contains about 100 TDS.
The bulk RO water I buy for drinking (about $0.04/L) does not have minerals added, hence the added tap water in my attempts to remineralize it.
I would avoid using Indian tap water myself--doesn't meet WHO standards. I'd mix RO water with bottled spring water. When in Mumbai, we use Aquafina or Bisleri for cooking and tea, and it makes a light tea. I'd try the natural mineral water pure first, then mix with varying amounts of RO. नल का पानी गंदा है !

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Re: Experimenting with Water

by stevorama » Jun 21st 16 5:30 pm

jayinhk wrote: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.
Do you mean softer as in lower tds and heavier as in higher tds? I've read some older water threads here that show preference for higher tds (hard or mineral water) for lighter teas and lower tds for heavier teas.

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."

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Jun 21st 16 5:42 pm
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Re: Experimenting with Water

by jayinhk » Jun 21st 16 5:42 pm

stevorama wrote:
jayinhk wrote: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.
Do you mean softer as in lower tds and heavier as in higher tds? I've read some older water threads here that show preference for higher tds (hard or mineral water) for lighter teas and lower tds for heavier teas.

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 "heavy!"
Interesting, I remembered the preference as lower TDS for lighter teas and higher TDS for heavier teas. Yes, hardness = higher TDS. I'm experimenting with different waters, so let's see what my results are like when I switch to something heavier than the light French stuff I'm currently using. Even at the low TDS, the higher calcium content in the spring water is very detectable compared to my filtered tap water when I drink it plain.

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Re: Experimenting with Water

by stevorama » Jun 21st 16 6:10 pm

jayinhk wrote: Interesting, I remembered the preference as lower TDS for lighter teas and higher TDS for heavier teas. Yes, hardness = higher TDS. I'm experimenting with different waters, so let's see what my results are like when I switch to something heavier than the light French stuff I'm currently using. Even at the low TDS, the higher calcium content in the spring water is very detectable compared to my filtered tap water when I drink it plain.
Here's one such thread. I could be reading it wrong though, it all starts to get fuzzy after a few pages of threads!! ;)

http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... =tds+water

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Re: Experimenting with Water

by jayinhk » Jun 21st 16 6:42 pm

stevorama wrote:
jayinhk wrote: Interesting, I remembered the preference as lower TDS for lighter teas and higher TDS for heavier teas. Yes, hardness = higher TDS. I'm experimenting with different waters, so let's see what my results are like when I switch to something heavier than the light French stuff I'm currently using. Even at the low TDS, the higher calcium content in the spring water is very detectable compared to my filtered tap water when I drink it plain.
Here's one such thread. I could be reading it wrong though, it all starts to get fuzzy after a few pages of threads!! ;)

http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... =tds+water
Thanks, looks like there's some debate on what kinds of water are best for different teas, which is why I'm experimenting. That was a good thread with some great discussion on water.

I liked this French water for maocha this morning, and it was good with dianhong too. Will try it with oolongs next--maybe some gaoshan! I'm already halfway through the bottle, so it looks like using this mineral water for tea may cost me $3.25 a day.

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Re: Experimenting with Water

by Alucard » Jun 21st 16 8:48 pm

I used to buy 1 gallon jugs of spring water. I was buying several per week and got tired of the hassle, so I switched to a Mavea filtration pitcher for use with my tap water. Works fine for me. Does anyone do home delivery of larger jugs of spring/mineral water?

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Re: Experimenting with Water

by jayinhk » Jun 23rd 16 5:55 pm

Tried the Luchon water with Sanxia green tea, which is a tea I reach for pretty much every week. Brewed the tea up in a Chaozhou porcelain easy gaiwan. Best experience I've had with this tea since I first tried it in Taipei. 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 as my five liters of Luchon are all gone! Perhaps this is why I've had variable success with gaoshan, too--Brita filters may excel at improving the taste of water, but it seems they change the water in a manner that results in less than ideal brewing results, as both ethan and johnb have stated previously. After the success with the Luchon and Sanxia green, I'm tempted to buy another five liters of Luchon just to try with gaoshan.

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Re: Experimenting with Water

by Drax » Jun 23rd 16 8:44 pm

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.
The number (amount) really doesn't matter as much as what those solids are (identity).

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Re: Experimenting with Water

by Psyck » Jun 23rd 16 9:54 pm

jayinhk wrote: I would avoid using Indian tap water myself--doesn't meet WHO standards. I'd mix RO water with bottled spring water. <...> I'd try the natural mineral water pure first, then mix with varying amounts of RO. नल का पानी गंदा है !
Hi Jay,
I've never fallen sick in the decade I've been drinking my tap water - so it meets my standards if not those of WHO :)

The tap enters my house directly from a water treatment plant and I do take the precaution of passing it through a clay candle filter.

Water for tea is anyway boiled & finely strained, so in my case, I'm more concerned about the taste than the quality...

However, I'm still new to teas and I need to understand the notes they give out better before I do any experiments of my own, so I'll take your advice and stick to RO and spring water for my teas at the moment.

Cheers. CK