Resting Water

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leicesterteaguy
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Location: Leicester, UK

Thu Jul 09, 2020 12:55 am

Hi everyone,

I seem to recall once reading (or hearing) that allowing your water to rest for some time after you have drawn it from the tap can be beneficial to the flavour of your tea. I have done a bit of Googling but can't seem to find anything that refers to this practice, and have been wondering whether it was actually something I learnt at a seminar I attended with tea Master Lim Ping Xiang a number of years ago?

I use a Brita filter, and I find that if I prepare my water the night before and leave it in the jug to make tea (or even coffee!) with it the next morning, it genuinely has a cleaner and smoother taste. Would there be any scientific basis for this, and does anybody have any references?

Thanks 🍵
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pantry
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Thu Jul 09, 2020 1:12 am

I don't remember the actual scientific reasons, but I've always thought that resting water overnight would allow the Chlorine in tap water to dissipate a bit. I've found it to be true that overnight water tastes better than freshly drawn from tap.
I also find that adding activated charcoal (binchotan) to the water while resting it, even just for a few hours, help improve the taste :)
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Bok
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Thu Jul 09, 2020 3:40 am

It’s quite common to put water in porous clay jars to refresh and improve its taste.

Even described in the tea classics.
faj
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Thu Jul 09, 2020 5:56 am

leicesterteaguy wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 12:55 am
Would there be any scientific basis for this, and does anybody have any references?
I cannot say for other impacts on taste, but allowing water to rest is often recommended as a way to get rid of chlorine. It is scientifically accurate in the context this recommendation was formed. However, apparently many (most?) water treatment plants have converted to the use of a different form of chlorine (I think it is chloramine, not 100% sure) that tends to remain in the water for far longer, making this method much, much less efficient. It is a case were the received wisdom may apply or not, depending on your water source.
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Victoria
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Thu Jul 09, 2020 12:37 pm

I also use Brita filter for my tap water, and I add a bamboo charcoal stick at the bottom of pitcher for extra removal. I have two extra glass pitchers, each with bamboo charcoal, where water is placed just for tea steeping. With the water placed in glass pitchers, I make sure it is rested overnight, mainly to further remove any off odors. I can taste the difference.
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Baisao
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Fri Jul 10, 2020 1:36 am

@faj, you are correct. It is chloramine. Letting tap rest helps it off gas.

My experience with Brita filters has not been so good but I didn’t let the water from them rest overnight. The water tasted good most of the time but out of nowhere I would get a strange chemical aroma. I used it once and that was that.

I haven’t had that happen with the same water through black Berkey filters. The water is thicker but always tastes/smells great after filtering our tap water. I think results for the black Berkey filters depend a lot on the mineral content of the water being used.

Judging by TDS, the Brita is filtering more that the black Berkey filters, but that the strange aroma was problematic.

I used bamboo charcoal in my kettles for years but now believe that the brightness it contributes is short lived. It certainly isn’t filtering much of anything as water isn’t being forced through it. It doesn’t hurt but I stopped using it because the effect went away pretty quickly. It was nice to to listen to it rattle around, helping me gauge the temp of my water as it heated.
Noonie
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Fri Jul 10, 2020 10:32 am

I never heard of or tried this, but it seems logical.

Would the type of tea you're brewing matter? Meaning if I already like the taste of my water (on its own), and I like it heated for sencha, pu'erh, etc., would I notice it more with a greener tea versus a darker one?

And are you putting the water in the fridge, or on the counter? I wonder about the container the water is in, the smells from the fridge, or if on the counter...a lot of other factors.
vuanguyen
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Fri Jul 10, 2020 11:01 am

I was in Egypt this past January before the pandemic. People in Egypt don't drink directly from their tap water. They put all of their water (tap, well, stream, etc) in clay pots overnight before drinking. This occurred in Cairo as well as all over the countryside. The owner at the Airbnb place I stayed at told me that the clay filter out the impurities and make the water taste better and safer. I tried both the tap water and the water from the clay. There was definitely a big difference. The water in the clay pot tasted much sweeter. So I went home and bought this clay pot from ETSY (https://www.etsy.com/listing/810327748/ ... la=1&gao=1&). I drink mostly from spring water that I collected from local springs. I put the spring water overnight in the clay pot and the water also tasted much better...much sweeter, mellower, and less mineral taste. I can't explain why it tasted better nor can I explain why my Kobiwako houhin make my teas taste better :) But it does!

on the bank of the Nile river in Aswan
on the bank of the Nile river in Aswan
IMG_0428.jpg (266.22 KiB) Viewed 618 times
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Baisao
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Fri Jul 10, 2020 9:29 pm

When I hear about pottery making water sweeter, my first concern is lead. It’s known to make things sweet and was the world’s first low calorie sweetener.
faj
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Sat Jul 11, 2020 6:19 am

Baisao wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 9:29 pm
When I hear about pottery making water sweeter, my first concern is lead. It’s known to make things sweet and was the world’s first low calorie sweetener.
Does your worry extend to teapots that make water taste what people describe as "sweet" after a short steeping time?

At one point I tried to find information about the presence of lead in unglazed clay teapots. I was not very successful in finding anything, but found references about some terracotta items (from Mexico) that could leach lead. Although information is scarce, I also came to the conclusion that glazes (not just colored pigments) are likely to contain lead, so that even, for instance, a white gaiwan should be assume to contain lead.

Lead glass (crystal) on the other hand, which contains very high lead content, seems easier to find information about. Out of memory, the amount of lead that leaches is correlated to storage duration and content acidity. For instance, alcoholic beverages stored in a crystal decanter could accumulate very high lead content, whereas drinking from a crystal glass would mean a lower exposure (though there is no such thing as a "safe exposure to lead", in my understanding).

I never found a practical way to test for lead in a liquid. The testing kits on the market are designed to test for the presence of lead on surfaces (ex: lead in paint).
vuanguyen
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Sat Jul 11, 2020 11:54 am

@Baisao
@faj

You guys/gals are freaking me out. First I have to worry about pesticides in my teas. Now I have to worry about lead in my pottery.

I wonder if there is a coffee forum like Teaforum. I also wonder if they worry about pesticides and lead.
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Balthazar
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Sat Jul 11, 2020 12:58 pm

vuanguyen wrote:
Sat Jul 11, 2020 11:54 am
Baisao
faj

You guys/gals are freaking me out. First I have to worry about pesticides in my teas. Now I have to worry about lead in my pottery.

I wonder if there is a coffee forum like Teaforum. I also wonder if they worry about pesticides and lead.
:D

Also, for some reason I read "coffee forum" as coffin forum, and was about to reply that at that stage pesticides and lead probably isn't a cause for concern anymore.
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Baisao
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Sat Jul 11, 2020 1:05 pm

@faj, I test all my teaware with led test kits. My concern does extend to teapots but I am not accusing any teaware makers. I’m vigilant because I’ve seen first hand what lead does to people’s minds over time. If not for that, I would probably not give it a second thought.
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Baisao
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Sat Jul 11, 2020 1:10 pm

vuanguyen wrote:
Sat Jul 11, 2020 11:54 am
Baisao
faj

You guys/gals are freaking me out. First I have to worry about pesticides in my teas. Now I have to worry about lead in my pottery.
Don’t buy cheap teas and teaware. Use a lead test kit. How safe do you feel about any unregulated, untested products?
vuanguyen wrote:
Sat Jul 11, 2020 11:54 am
I wonder if there is a coffee forum like Teaforum. I also wonder if they worry about pesticides and lead.
They don’t have to worry as much about pesticides because it’s a roasted bean and they don’t have to worry as much about lead because they aren’t using mystery products from China. Be sure that they obsess about other things.
faj
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Sat Jul 11, 2020 1:18 pm

Baisao wrote:
Sat Jul 11, 2020 1:05 pm
faj, I test all my teaware with led test kits. My concern does extend to teapots but I am not accusing any teaware makers.
Out of curiosity, have you had any test come out positive?

Are you using the kind of small swabs they sell to test for lead on painted surfaces?
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