Water Water Everywhere... What’s Your Water?

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Victoria
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Thu Sep 17, 2020 2:07 pm

faj wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 3:36 pm
Victoria wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 3:24 pm
Hi faj, I look for each waters Water Report and am compiling a spread sheet to share here. So for CG Adirondack water I reference this report.
Ok, thanks for the information. What is the impact of alkalinity on tea? Do you have a minimum/maximum/range you target?
So far I am mostly just inputting Water Report data for bottled and city water members mention here. Alkalinity levels of 20-200ppm is considered fine for drinking water, Nice! Iceland Spring alkalinity is 25ppm, whereas CG Adirondack is 140ppm. They are both very good with tea. Here is a screen shot of some data I’ve been compiling;

7D63F1E7-6999-427E-A42F-A8F33A75C41E.jpeg
7D63F1E7-6999-427E-A42F-A8F33A75C41E.jpeg (125.05 KiB) Viewed 614 times
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Victoria
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Thu Sep 17, 2020 2:32 pm

Added a link at beginning of this thread to TeaForum Water Data we have been compiling.
Victoria wrote:
Fri Dec 14, 2018 4:16 pm
Water is an essential part of making good tea. Share what water you use for your teas; locally sourced Spring/Artesian water, tap water, filtered tap, bottled, high/low PH, high/low mineral count (total hardness, Ca, Mg, trace minerals), alkalinity, TDS (total dissolved solids) count...

Update: Added link to TeaForum Water Data. Members can share here which water they think works best with their teas and add Water Report links with data regarding TDS, Ph, Alkalinity, Hardness, Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, and Potassium.

* Important: for any new data please include a link to Water Data referenced and let us know in this thread, or in a pm, that additional data has been added.
faj
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Thu Sep 17, 2020 3:00 pm

Victoria wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 2:32 pm
Added a link at beginning of this thread to TeaForum Water Data we have been compiling.
Thanks, that will be an interesting resource.
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TeaTotaling
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Thu Sep 17, 2020 6:13 pm

Personally, I have come to like Mountain Valley 🏔 It's definitely thiiiiIccckk!! 💦 💦 💦

Great info and resources @Victoria!
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Baisao
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Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:00 am

TeaTotaling wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 6:13 pm
Personally, I have come to like Mountain Valley 🏔 It's definitely thiiiiIccckk!! 💦 💦 💦

Great info and resources Victoria!
I used to like thick water (250 TDS) but now prefer thinner waters (40-55 TDS) as they have more élan and don’t create the problem of tone on tone when drinking teas with a lot of pectin.

Typical of my tea teacher, she taught me a lesson without using words. Sometimes she would only point. She was so subtle that it was years later that I understood some of the things she taught me. Anyway...

A friend and I were really enjoying our delicious, syrupy dong pian but my teacher was silent and had a pensive look. She excused herself and returned with a jug of water. She switched my thick water out for a thinner one. The result was almost like a magic trick. A simple, change of water elevated the tea. I was baffled at the time because I saw that the jug of water was an ordinary drinking water, a local generic brand iirc. The tea mostly tasted the same but was much more enjoyable!

After some ruminating I understood that my thick water with a thick tea made a beverage that tasted great but lacked spirit. I was making tea that was tone on tone.

After learning this I will sometimes switch to a thicker water for teas that lack enough pectin to give them more body.

Since I’ve selected most of my teas in part on having good body, I tend to stay with thinner waters.
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TeaTotaling
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Fri Sep 18, 2020 11:50 am

Baisao wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:00 am
TeaTotaling wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 6:13 pm
Personally, I have come to like Mountain Valley 🏔 It's definitely thiiiiIccckk!! 💦 💦 💦

Great info and resources Victoria!
I used to like thick water (250 TDS) but now prefer thinner waters (40-55 TDS) as they have more élan and don’t create the problem of tone on tone when drinking teas with a lot of pectin.

Typical of my tea teacher, she taught me a lesson without using words. Sometimes she would only point. She was so subtle that it was years later that I understood some of the things she taught me. Anyway...

A friend and I were really enjoying our delicious, syrupy dong pian but my teacher was silent and had a pensive look. She excused herself and returned with a jug of water. She switched my thick water out for a thinner one. The result was almost like a magic trick. A simple, change of water elevated the tea. I was baffled at the time because I saw that the jug of water was an ordinary drinking water, a local generic brand iirc. The tea mostly tasted the same but was much more enjoyable!

After some ruminating I understood that my thick water with a thick tea made a beverage that tasted great but lacked spirit. I was making tea that was tone on tone.

After learning this I will sometimes switch to a thicker water for teas that lack enough pectin to give them more body.

Since I’ve selected most of my teas in part on having good body, I tend to stay with thinner waters.
Interesting analysis, I understand what you are saying. I'll have to try it out in comparison.

I even add extra thickness to the Mountain Valley by boiling it in Zisha. Conversely, I wonder if boiling a higher TDS water in Silver would reinvigorate the spirit of the brew. Like you noted, I find the heavy minerality does result in a great tasting brew.
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wave_code
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Sun Oct 04, 2020 4:24 pm

while the tap water is much better where I am living now than before I'm looking into small and easy things I can still do to improve my tea, so I picked up some bamboo charcoal sticks. I'm guessing its ideal to have the water sitting with them for a while to really have it do anything- I really know nothing about this but my gut says at minimum a few hours but ideally overnight. anyone use them regularly? do you notice any difference too with temperature- say leaving them in a closed glass on the counter overnight vs in the fridge?
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Baisao
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Sun Oct 04, 2020 5:39 pm

wave_code wrote:
Sun Oct 04, 2020 4:24 pm
while the tap water is much better where I am living now than before I'm looking into small and easy things I can still do to improve my tea, so I picked up some bamboo charcoal sticks. I'm guessing its ideal to have the water sitting with them for a while to really have it do anything- I really know nothing about this but my gut says at minimum a few hours but ideally overnight. anyone use them regularly? do you notice any difference too with temperature- say leaving them in a closed glass on the counter overnight vs in the fridge?
I used to just leave them in my kettle. The extra noise also helps with judging temperatures.

Here are my thoughts on them:
1) They absolutely do not filter water.

2) The change to the water lasts less than a couple of weeks. YMMV.

3) The change was that the water was more, um, zippy. Kind of forward on my palate. So not necessarily an improvement but an not unpleasant change either. Japanese ceramics have a larger, more appealing change to me.

4) Longer contact with water may help but I felt it was just as good in the kettle.

5) I no longer use them because they are pricy for such a modest, short lived result.

6) If I use them again it will be to help me judge the temperature of my kettle. That extra bit of clanking around really does help.

7) There is some reaction with the water. The charcoal will have white precipitate after months of using hard water or will have an opalescent sheen with softer water.
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Victoria
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Sun Oct 04, 2020 6:29 pm

wave_code wrote:
Sun Oct 04, 2020 4:24 pm
while the tap water is much better where I am living now than before I'm looking into small and easy things I can still do to improve my tea, so I picked up some bamboo charcoal sticks. I'm guessing its ideal to have the water sitting with them for a while to really have it do anything- I really know nothing about this but my gut says at minimum a few hours but ideally overnight. anyone use them regularly? do you notice any difference too with temperature- say leaving them in a closed glass on the counter overnight vs in the fridge?
When at home I have a few pieces of bamboo charcoal sticks in my filtered water container, I leave them in sitting filtered water container (not the kettle), they help absorb any remaining off gases from city filtered water. The water tastes slightly sweeter too. After a month, I’ll switch out the charcoal, boiling the used ones and letting them dry before using again. If you’ve every taken activated charcoal tablets they are powerful, absorbing a lot of gastrointestinal activity very quickly. I also find letting water sit overnight, before using, is very good for tea. This is my experience with city of Santa Monica water, will be different for each person and water source, you will need to test it out and see.
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wave_code
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Mon Oct 05, 2020 4:22 am

thanks both. I'll see how they do. some places say they are good for only about 6 months and then you should compost them, but I've also seen about the boiling and drying technique. I wonder if the density of the charcoal makes a difference there.

there is no added fluoride here in the water and I don't get scale on everything like I did in Vienna, so maybe I won't even notice anything. I was out of town last week and the tap water one state over tasted like pool water to me, so I think I'm pretty lucky here. worst case the plants will get some nice carbon chunks so no big loss.
pase22
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Sun Oct 11, 2020 9:57 pm

A few days ago I stumbled upon an article talking about how water affects the flavor profile of certain teas. At first I shrugged my shoulders in disbelief and remember thinking it was nothing more than a marketing tactic to promote the expensive water filtration system they were raving about. After my next cup of tea, I thought maybe a quick search couldn't hurt so after what ended up being a few hours of reading realized that maybe they're onto something. Many reported drastic improvements using $40 tap mounted filters so I figured it may be worth trying since it's not a very expensive investment that would actually benefit me for more than just tea. Through the hours of reading, I also discovered I was using too much tea which was contributing to the bitterness. Using the newly mounted water filter, I brewed me a nice cup of Irish breakfast (Harney & Sons) the exact same way I had been and there was definitely some noticeable improvement. I Then adjusted the amount of tea I was using and it was a very different tasting tea with very little bitterness and richer malt flavor.
Of course this could be all in my head and I'll just be woken up from this strange dream by a hungry cat.

Sorry for the rant!
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Baisao
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Sun Oct 11, 2020 10:45 pm

@pase22

I don’t think it is in your head at all. That is to say, I don’t think it is confirmation bias. I’ve experienced radical changes in tea flavor using different waters. Try Acqua Panna sometime in an A/B test. I don’t recommend the water necessarily but for a still water the changes to the tea are dramatic. Actually, it might improve an Assam.

My son doubted that water made a difference so I did a blind test using distilled, tap, Iceland Springs (low TDS), and Fiji (high TDS). He was astonished by the results and later asked that I keep some water around just for him to drink.

Cheers!
pase22
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Sun Oct 11, 2020 11:15 pm

Baisao wrote:
Sun Oct 11, 2020 10:45 pm
pase22

I don’t think it is in your head at all. That is to say, I don’t think it is confirmation bias. I’ve experienced radical changes in tea flavor using different waters. Try Acqua Panna sometime in an A/B test. I don’t recommend the water necessarily but for a still water the changes to the tea are dramatic. Actually, it might improve an Assam.

My son doubted that water made a difference so I did a blind test using distilled, tap, Iceland Springs (low TDS), and Fiji (high TDS). He was astonished by the results and later asked that I keep some water around just for him to drink.

Cheers!
I don't want to resort to using bottled water mostly for environmental reasons and most bottled water here would not be much better than the filtered water from my kitchen sink. I think the changes are quite pleasant so far. I do have some new teas ( white: Tian Sau Yin Hao, Oolong: Wuyi Rock & Gold Dragon Jasmine ) that are all new to me coming in this week so I won't completely rule out trying bottled water. I'm just worried things could start getting expensive if bottled (the good stuff) really makes a difference.
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Baisao
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Mon Oct 12, 2020 12:06 am

@pase22,
I hear you. I switched to a filter after my ol’ trusty brand of bottled water became difficult to find. Fortunately we have a good blend of minerals in our tap and that comes across in the filtered water. It’s definitely better than straight tap, even tap that’s out gassed overnight.

Nevertheless, it might be amusing to try the waters I suggested (if you can find them) to see how much of a difference water makes in tea.
pase22
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Mon Oct 12, 2020 11:04 pm

Baisao wrote:
Mon Oct 12, 2020 12:06 am
pase22,
I hear you. I switched to a filter after my ol’ trusty brand of bottled water became difficult to find. Fortunately we have a good blend of minerals in our tap and that comes across in the filtered water. It’s definitely better than straight tap, even tap that’s out gassed overnight.

Nevertheless, it might be amusing to try the waters I suggested (if you can find them) to see how much of a difference water makes in tea.
Curiosity got the better of me so I picked a two different brands of bottled water (Evian & Eska if anyone cares) while I was out. It could be my untrained palate, but I Didn't notice any difference from the filtered water I've using so I'll stick with my cheap $40 Brita filter.
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