Experimenting with Water

One of the intentionally aged teas, Pu-Erh has a loyal following.

Jun 11th 16 8:47 am
Posts: 774
Joined: Aug 1st 12 12:20 pm
Location: not anymore Bangkok, not really arrived in Germany

Re: Experimenting with Water

by theredbaron » Jun 11th 16 8:47 am

jayinhk wrote: I don't know

Indeed...

User avatar
Jun 11th 16 8:53 am
Vendor Member
Posts: 3135
Joined: Aug 28th 12 12:12 pm
Location: Hong Kong

Re: Experimenting with Water

by jayinhk » Jun 11th 16 8:53 am

If my reply offended you, feel free to fill out this form, after administration of copious quantities of Volvic to where it hurts:

http://imgur.com/gallery/iqB6y8V

User avatar
Jun 11th 16 11:41 am
Posts: 52
Joined: Jan 26th 15 3:01 pm
Location: Thailand

Re: Experimenting with Water

by PuerhCollector » Jun 11th 16 11:41 am

Human nature is an interesting thing.

We are often biased to our own opinions
... on a positive note it is called STRONG WILLED

We don’t like to be distracted by other opinions
... on a positive note it is called KEEPING FOCUS

We don’t like to expend energy and take risks
... on a positive note it is called playing it safe or LIMITING OUR EXPOSURE


All these are strong qualities that are instinctive in our SURVIVAL … but the arrogance of mankind can also make us STUBBORN, NARROW MINDED and IGNORANT.

That said I know we are survivors here and full of life :)

>> Getting back to tea, I have never brewed with Volvic before but got myself a few bottles to try. The da yu ling came out very nice in which the purity and sweetness of the tea shined. With semi-age puerh like the 2005 Nannuo whilst the results were solid my preference leans toward heavier water like the Icelandic spring whereby the mouth sensations are superior.

User avatar
Jun 11th 16 2:35 pm
Posts: 117
Joined: May 26th 15 1:22 pm

Re: Experimenting with Water

by Psyck » Jun 11th 16 2:35 pm

My tap water is hard - about 700 mg/L TDS. It is treated and filtered (but not softened) groundwater.

I purchase my drinking water for about $0.04/L. It is sand filtered, UV treated, RO processed etc. and has a TDS of about 14 mg/L.

Mixing half a cup of tap water (which I pass through a clay filter at home first) with a liter of bottled water in the kettle gives me remineralized RO water with about 100 mg/L TDS.

It this a good idea?
Does anyone else do anything similar?

If so, what should be the TDS range I should be aiming for?

Edit: For costlier teas, I will be using bottled Himalayan spring water (TDS close to 200 mg/L) which I get for about $0.6/L; here I'm only looking for the best option for daily drinking teas.

Jun 11th 16 4:24 pm
Vendor Member
Posts: 1310
Joined: May 27th 12 4:47 pm
Location: Boston, MA

Re: Experimenting with Water

by ethan » Jun 11th 16 4:24 pm

Psych, When in Thailand, I filled my own containers w/ r.o. water from machines at a cost of about 2 U.S. cents per liter to mix w/ spring water. To me sometimes the results for tea made w/ the mix seemed the same as when I had used 100% spring water, sometimes not.

For those who do not know, when in Thailand I conduct scientific blind tasting. Testing results: The 50/50 mix of r.o. water/spring water tasted the same as 100% spring water. Tea made w/ mix & w/ 100% spring water also tasted the same. In testing, all cheap brands of spring water tasted the same. Water from various r.o. machines was definitely perceived as different. (Quality clearly varies in relation to how well machines are maintained)

Of the cheap brands of spring water available there, I did have a preference; however, I do not remember the name. (I would recognize the label) If in Thailand again, I'll try cheap brands suggested here (such as 7-11) that I had not tried before. What's the point of reading posts, if one does not have an open mind?

Despite my open mind, I am not going to worry what material my teaware sits on. I am not going to think about at what angle or from how high to pour either.

Let's "survive" w/ some humor & moderation. Cheers.

Jun 11th 16 5:00 pm
Posts: 225
Joined: Dec 22nd 12 7:05 pm

Re: Experimenting with Water

by .m. » Jun 11th 16 5:00 pm

Psyck wrote:My tap water is hard - about 700 mg/L TDS. It is treated and filtered (but not softened) groundwater.

I purchase my drinking water for about $0.04/L. It is sand filtered, UV treated, RO processed etc. and has a TDS of about 14 mg/L.

Mixing half a cup of tap water (which I pass through a clay filter at home first) with a liter of bottled water in the kettle gives me remineralized RO water with about 100 mg/L TDS.

It this a good idea?
Does anyone else do anything similar?

If so, what should be the TDS range I should be aiming for?

Edit: For costlier teas, I will be using bottled Himalayan spring water (TDS close to 200 mg/L) which I get for about $0.6/L; here I'm only looking for the best option for daily drinking teas.
I do a similar thing. The place I'am now (Dijon, France) has a pretty good tap water, however it is chlorinated and and bit heavy on minerals (mainly lime). I use a ceramic filter to filter the water and then mix it with a low TDS bottled spring water. The result is usually quite good. No idea what TDS i get, i keep varying the mixing ratio anyway. (BTW Only the TDS of the boiled water would be relevant, after scaling happens). I also use Volvic regularly; it is a very good water.

User avatar
Jun 11th 16 7:33 pm
Posts: 291
Joined: Feb 10th 16 2:23 am
Location: California

Re: Experimenting with Water

by stevorama » Jun 11th 16 7:33 pm

I'm fortunate to have great water from my tap. We have a deep well and the water is filtered and ozonated rather than chlorinated. I'm curious now to compare it to bottled waters and will do so. Perhaps the TDS will make a difference. In the end the quality (lack of contaminants, VOCs, plasticizers, etc) is the most important thing to me though.

In regards to what ethan said, "I am not going to think about at what angle or from how high to pour either." I do think pour height and pour makes a difference. I think perhaps it's due to temperature and agitation. In particular I find it impacts amount of bitterness in my sheng puer brew.

Anyone have opinions on using bamboo charcoal in water for tea?

Jun 11th 16 7:59 pm
Posts: 774
Joined: Aug 1st 12 12:20 pm
Location: not anymore Bangkok, not really arrived in Germany

Re: Experimenting with Water

by theredbaron » Jun 11th 16 7:59 pm

ethan wrote:Psych, When in Thailand, I filled my own containers w/ r.o. water from machines at a cost of about 2 U.S. cents per liter to mix w/ spring water. To me sometimes the results for tea made w/ the mix seemed the same as when I had used 100% spring water, sometimes not.

For those who do not know, when in Thailand I conduct scientific blind tasting. Testing results: The 50/50 mix of r.o. water/spring water tasted the same as 100% spring water. Tea made w/ mix & w/ 100% spring water also tasted the same. In testing, all cheap brands of spring water tasted the same. Water from various r.o. machines was definitely perceived as different. (Quality clearly varies in relation to how well machines are maintained)

Of the cheap brands of spring water available there, I did have a preference; however, I do not remember the name. (I would recognize the label) If in Thailand again, I'll try cheap brands suggested here (such as 7-11) that I had not tried before. What's the point of reading posts, if one does not have an open mind?

Despite my open mind, I am not going to worry what material my teaware sits on. I am not going to think about at what angle or from how high to pour either.

Let's "survive" w/ some humor & moderation. Cheers.

It is entirely up to you if you want to worry about how high you pour your water, how you boil it or what tray you use. However - it all does make a difference.

Water from the machines indeed depends on how well maintained they are. You should be aware though that this isn't just an issue about tea water but about safety, as in some areas of Bangkok and parts of the country water is badly polluted with heavy metals.

What beats me is why people who spend much money on tea and tea ware, but go cheap on water, which, on a pot to pot ratio, is the least expense of this at times quite costly hobby. Even an expensive water is quite little money compared to what a good tea costs, yet can improve this tea far more than any expensive Yixing pot could ever do.
Last edited by theredbaron on Jun 11th 16 8:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Jun 11th 16 8:01 pm
Posts: 774
Joined: Aug 1st 12 12:20 pm
Location: not anymore Bangkok, not really arrived in Germany

Re: Experimenting with Water

by theredbaron » Jun 11th 16 8:01 pm

Psyck wrote:My tap water is hard - about 700 mg/L TDS. It is treated and filtered (but not softened) groundwater.

I purchase my drinking water for about $0.04/L. It is sand filtered, UV treated, RO processed etc. and has a TDS of about 14 mg/L.

Mixing half a cup of tap water (which I pass through a clay filter at home first) with a liter of bottled water in the kettle gives me remineralized RO water with about 100 mg/L TDS.

It this a good idea?
Does anyone else do anything similar?

If so, what should be the TDS range I should be aiming for?

Edit: For costlier teas, I will be using bottled Himalayan spring water (TDS close to 200 mg/L) which I get for about $0.6/L; here I'm only looking for the best option for daily drinking teas.

I honestly could not know. They only way to find out is testing different waters and then see how the end result will compare to your method.

Jun 11th 16 8:08 pm
Posts: 774
Joined: Aug 1st 12 12:20 pm
Location: not anymore Bangkok, not really arrived in Germany

Re: Experimenting with Water

by theredbaron » Jun 11th 16 8:08 pm

stevorama wrote:I'm fortunate to have great water from my tap. We have a deep well and the water is filtered and ozonated rather than chlorinated. I'm curious now to compare it to bottled waters and will do so. Perhaps the TDS will make a difference. In the end the quality (lack of contaminants, VOCs, plasticizers, etc) is the most important thing to me though.

In regards to what ethan said, "I am not going to think about at what angle or from how high to pour either." I do think pour height and pour makes a difference. I think perhaps it's due to temperature and agitation. In particular I find it impacts amount of bitterness in my sheng puer brew.

Anyone have opinions on using bamboo charcoal in water for tea?

I have never used charcoal, but i have seen people do that. It seems to be an established way of improving water. Maybe somebody else can explain why that is so and how it works.
Lu Yu said that well water is not so good, but mountain spring water is the best (as long as its not from lime mountains, which make water very hard)

User avatar
Jun 11th 16 9:00 pm
Posts: 291
Joined: Feb 10th 16 2:23 am
Location: California

Re: Experimenting with Water

by stevorama » Jun 11th 16 9:00 pm

theredbaron wrote:
stevorama wrote:I'm fortunate to have great water from my tap. We have a deep well and the water is filtered and ozonated rather than chlorinated. I'm curious now to compare it to bottled waters and will do so. Perhaps the TDS will make a difference. In the end the quality (lack of contaminants, VOCs, plasticizers, etc) is the most important thing to me though.

In regards to what ethan said, "I am not going to think about at what angle or from how high to pour either." I do think pour height and pour makes a difference. I think perhaps it's due to temperature and agitation. In particular I find it impacts amount of bitterness in my sheng puer brew.

Anyone have opinions on using bamboo charcoal in water for tea?

I have never used charcoal, but i have seen people do that. It seems to be an established way of improving water. Maybe somebody else can explain why that is so and how it works.
Lu Yu said that well water is not so good, but mountain spring water is the best (as long as its not from lime mountains, which make water very hard)
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.

User avatar
Jun 11th 16 9:14 pm
Posts: 541
Joined: Aug 19th 15 11:03 am
Location: on the road

Re: Experimenting with Water

by kuánglóng » Jun 11th 16 9:14 pm

theredbaron wrote:
What beats me is why people who spend much money on tea and tea ware, but go cheap on water, which, on a pot to pot ratio, is the least expense of this at times quite costly hobby. Even an expensive water is quite little money compared to what a good tea costs, yet can improve this tea far more than any expensive Yixing pot could ever do.
+1 for that

Back in the day I've used Volvic for a number of experiments in the lab, loads of it.
We had it tested back then and the single major issue was its relatively high content of arsenic (~20µg/l), something that has been echoed some years later by a renowned German test magazine ('Oekotest' > use google).
Anyway, I'm still using Volvic on a regular basis to prepare tea, even though the tap water over here isn't that bad and I'm having a highly effective industrial grade carbon block filter installed to get rid of pretty much everything but the minerals.

Jun 12th 16 12:00 am
Posts: 68
Joined: Nov 26th 12 7:38 am
Location: London

Re: Experimenting with Water

by bankung » Jun 12th 16 12:00 am

What I want to emphasise is that different people have different taste. And there is nothing like the universally "best" taste. I was once a believer and the pursuer of the "one true right way". However, I came to a realisation that there is indeed the one true right way but only for oneself. As a violinist who generally play an old cremonese violin, I have a strong preference to the so called "cremonese sound" and most of the top soloist also prefer Stradivarius to contemporary makers. However, there are a lot of experiments out there that the result favour the newly made violins. Even though I would never agree with them, I could understand their point of view. Some qualities of top newly made violins are actually superior to most of the old violins (yes, including stradivarius).

Link this to the topic of tea, If we equate the tastes and feeling of one cup of tea into an equation, it would obviously be a non-linear equation of qualities, and the coefficient of each quality would be different from one to another. As changing water change (positively and negatively) some qualities of the cup of tea, the overall change in satisfaction would definitely different for each person. There might be even a case that one group of people get a positive change and vice versa for another - resulting in the different opinions regarding which water is better than another.

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.

User avatar
Jun 12th 16 2:43 am
Posts: 4583
Joined: Apr 1st 09 4:48 am
Location: Bangkok

Re: Experimenting with Water

by Tead Off » Jun 12th 16 2:43 am

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.

Jun 12th 16 3:12 am
Posts: 774
Joined: Aug 1st 12 12:20 pm
Location: not anymore Bangkok, not really arrived in Germany

Re: Experimenting with Water

by theredbaron » Jun 12th 16 3:12 am

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.