79
drank Magnolia Oolong by Tea District
1995 tasting notes

I was reading the water sourcing thread in the discussions, and it made me start to question the water I use for making my tea. See, I have a sink in my office that bascially was never used before I moved in, but the water that comes out of the regular tap is disgusting, often slightly brown or yellow. Also it is clearly extremely hard because a slow drip has left the inside of the black sink covered in a whitish scale that doesn’t respond to any kind of acid. I wouldn’t even want to drink it after running it through a Brita filter. My whole time here I have always drank the deionized water that comes out of the other tap; it’s clear and tastes fine. It’s also what I use to make all of my teas. But deionized and/or distilled water is supposed to be really bad for making tea because it’s very “flat”, lacking dissolved ions from minerals and such. I find it hard to believe that the water I am using is very deoxygenated because it comes out of the faucet with such pressure that it must immediately reoxygenate itself, and I don’t know for a fact that the water is truly deionized; someone in my department tested it from a different faucet and found that the pH was off from neutral. Anyway, I started thinking about how it would affect my tea, so I wanted to try a back to back with it and some bottled water I had left over at home from the “hurricane” a few months ago. I wanted to try a somewhat delicate tea I thought might show off the differences, so not a heavy black or something, but also a tea that was inexpensive enough and that I had in a large enough quantity. This fit the bill, so it will be my guinea pig tea.

All of these cups are brewed identically except for the water source (new leaves each time of course), so I’m putting them all in this note. First, the “deionized” water from the tap. This is my baseline, so right now it just tastes like it always does. Floral, a bit vegetal. When I had this tea a while ago it was still early in my oolong journey, and coming back to it now is interesting; the buttery sweetish flavor that I really love finding is only very faintly present. I do still really enjoy how floral this is and the magnolia, which is such a lush, rich floral.

Next, bottled water (Dasani, “purified and enhanced with minerals”). Can I tell a difference? Yes. Is it super dramatic? I am relieved to say no, not to me. The flavor is a bit brighter, somehow, like this water brought out the “greenish” notes more. I can’t even say that I prefer this water; I like the bolder florals I got with the first cup. Also I can kind of tell that this bottled water is harder than my DI tap water, but the extra minerals weren’t necessarily an improvement to my tastes. Like I said, I don’t know that the water is actually deionized that’s coming out of my tap, so it may not be as “flat” as it normally would be, but I don’t think it’s seriously affecting the taste of my teas, and that’s really what I wanted assurance of.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

very scientific of you!

Charles Thomas Draper

This is the tasting I want to do.

Dinosara

LOL, I’m a scientist, I can’t help it! :D

Charles Thomas Draper

I suggest rain water….

Auggy

Always fun to see such comparisons! Somewhere online I saw something that compared spring, tap and distilled water… it’s amazing the difference water can make! I end up using filtered water but it’s still fairly mineral-y so I have to descale my Zojirushi with citric acid or vinegar every six weeks or so. (Though without the filter I would have to descale every couple of weeks!)

Dinosara

Rainwater is both very soft (close to distilled water, since it is in essence distilled by the atmosphere), and often pretty acidic. Also I’m very close to a major city (NYC), so my rain water is probably very acidic! So probably not great for tea.

Dinosara

I should also mention that I grew up drinking rainwater in KY, so my preference for likely a softer water (the deionized water) may be tied to that as well!

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TeaBrat

very scientific of you!

Charles Thomas Draper

This is the tasting I want to do.

Dinosara

LOL, I’m a scientist, I can’t help it! :D

Charles Thomas Draper

I suggest rain water….

Auggy

Always fun to see such comparisons! Somewhere online I saw something that compared spring, tap and distilled water… it’s amazing the difference water can make! I end up using filtered water but it’s still fairly mineral-y so I have to descale my Zojirushi with citric acid or vinegar every six weeks or so. (Though without the filter I would have to descale every couple of weeks!)

Dinosara

Rainwater is both very soft (close to distilled water, since it is in essence distilled by the atmosphere), and often pretty acidic. Also I’m very close to a major city (NYC), so my rain water is probably very acidic! So probably not great for tea.

Dinosara

I should also mention that I grew up drinking rainwater in KY, so my preference for likely a softer water (the deionized water) may be tied to that as well!

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I am tea obsessed, with the stash to match. I tend to really enjoy green oolongs, Chinese blacks, and flavored teas with high quality bases, especially florals, bergamot-based teas, and chocolate teas.

In my free time I am a birder, baker, and music/movie/tv addict.

Here are my rating categories, FYI:
100-90: Mind-blowingly good, just right for my palate, and teas that just take me to a happy place.
89-86: I really really like these teas and will keep most of them in the permanent collection, but they’re not quite as spectacular as the top category
85-80: Pretty tasty teas that I enjoy well enough, but definitely won’t rebuy when I run out.
79-70: Teas that I would probably drink again, but only if there were no preferrable options.
69-50: Teas that I don’t really enjoy all that much and wouldn’t drink another cup of.
49 and below: Mega yuck. This tea is just disgusting to me.
Unrated: Usually I feel unqualified to rate these teas because they are types of teas that I tend to not like in general. Sometimes user error or tea brewed under poor conditions.

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Ohio, US

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