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Sourcing your water

58 Replies

I just ran across this from Rare Tea Republic, and I thought it might be helpful to this conversation.
Water Quality and Tea

According to an old Chinese proverb, “water is the mother of tea”. Water quality was so important to tea preparation in ancient China that tea masters would import it from particular springs- specific waters would compliment specific teas.

Today, our spring water is easily accessible; it is bottled and imported from springs around the world from Fiji to France. Aficionados can also choose from filtered tap water, reverse osmosis and fresh spring water, each option has it’s own taste and chemical make up; each will steep a very different cup of tea.

When choosing a water to use for your tea, keep in mind these tips:
1.Water from an active, pure spring is the generally the best water for most teas.
2.Chlorinated water steeps a harsh and bitter cup. If you are using chlorinated tap water, filter it first. Any water filter will do.
3.Good water, like good tea, is balanced. If your tap water tastes good and is safe, you might not have to filter it at all. If it does not taste good, it will not do your fine teas justice.
4.Regardless of the source of your water, a neutral pH is best. You can test your water to find out what the pH level is. If it is above 7, consider filtering it; it will brew a bitter or harsh cup. If it is below 7, add some rocks to your kettle or use another water source; it will not bring out the complexity in a cup.
5.However, if you would like to soften a harsh or bitter tea or make an especially sweet cup, soft water (pH less than 7) is a good solution.
6.Always filter water with a pH over 8.5

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Azzrian said

It seems I need a filter.
SIGH

Garret said

do not worry, my friend… when you are wanting to know about water filtration, let’s talk. Here at our wellness center and tea shop we have been helping people find the right system for their lives. Just like we spoke about tea tonight on the phone, we will have a conversation about your water. It’ll be fun!

Azzrian said

Ah thank you so much – it will be sooner than you think lol I’m worried I googled our tap water PH here and it is 9.4 YIKES!!!
I may get a Brita filter at the store for the time being but I will for sure want to get your advice on this!
Thanks so much for the talk earlier!
:)

Babble said

Wow – have you been using tap water all this time? I’m impressed!
Although, I have found the tap water in certain places tastes MUCH better than others.

Azzrian said

Sure have been. Actually our tap water taste fine but then I have lived here ALL of my life so I don’t know any different. I’m just concerned I may not be getting all I can out of my teas.

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Azzrian said
Missy said

It’s very interesting. I’ve complained about the way the water tastes here.

I grew up in Nevada pretty far out into the sticks. My auntie was even further out on the rez. Now her water was the equivalent of spring water in her tap. We used to go 50 miles every other week to get her water for drinking/cooking purposes because our tap water was bad.

As a consequence I’m totally spoiled. I feel like all tap water should taste that good. lol, I mean we pay for our water treatment why can’t it be good water?!

Azzrian said

Good question!

Garret said

That’s funny that you found that video!! I keep meaning to reshoot it from the tea room. I had been traveling and was so "un"moved by the flat water for my tea that I had to talk about it~~~

Azzrian said

I think it is fine the way it is – being away from home and it being obvious to the person watching gives it that extra feeling of how YOU must have been feeling! Also I like it when videos are more “real” less posed. Instead of reflecting on “once when I was traveling” this video is in the moment – far more realistic!

Garret said

Thanks for that, Azzrian!!! I have a lot more vids to add to our Mandala Tea channel on youtube. I often get a thought when brewing tea and just turn on the laptop camera and talk away! It’s easy and fast. And since I’m such a fancy guy, I don’t need fancy filming gear, right? :) If there’s ever anything you want to make a video about, just let me know!

Azzrian said

I spent the greater part of last night watching some of your videos and others. Making a special TEA area in my youtube account for them! Heck no you don’t need anything fancy just that mug of yours! You know your not the first guy to ask me if I want to make a video HAHA sorry bad joke … seriously though if I think of anything I will absolutely let ya know. I need to be sure I have watched all of the ones you do have first.

I didn’t know there were videos! Now I have something else to geek out on. :)

Azzrian said

Indeed! LOL geek on my friend geek on!

Garret said

Hello! I’ve gotta get our water filtration products up on our website. We’ve been selling them here in our wellness center and tea shop and I want to make sure our online tea customers know about this stuff, too! We’ve got our filtration products in tea shops, coffeehouses, restaurants and private homes. Good water makes all the difference in flavor and aroma!

I wish we could all be together right now sipping this mao cha I brought back from China! Azzrian, you’ll know it soon as there is some in your package!!!

Azzrian said

Garret you have TRULY absolutely spoiled me! Thank you kind sir! I am off to go check out the water systems right away!
Thank you for getting those up!!
I will have to wait for payday to get one I am sure however I have time to get educated on them and ask questions :)

Azzrian said

PS Im not finding them on the site. Can you link the page? Thanks Garret.

Garret said

I don’t have them on the site yet. Gotta take pics, write descriptions and such. But… here is a website that you can check out. We sell this companies product and sell below their sale prices. Just don’t tell them that! There are ones that are countertop models and undersink models. I recommend first checking if your city fluoridates the water. If they do, you really want to get a system that takes that out as the fluoride that is put into the water supply is merely the scrubbings from the fertilizer and aluminum making industry and it quite toxic. Those systems run anywhere for you from about $90 up to $160 or so.

http://crystalquest.com/

Most of the time, we can beat the sale price and get the shipping included, too, so it’s a big win. Feel free to shoot me an email (you have my address) with other questions and we can get you squared away whenever you are ready!

This is not just about great tasting tea, it’s about making your water as healthy as possible. Our customers use their filtered water for tea, coffee, all cooking, pets, plants, you name it!

Azzrian said

Oh goodness in my excitement I read your post wrong. I will check them out but will be sure to purchase from you! Thank you and yes they do fluoridate the water here.

Garret said

I’ll take care of you, have no fear! We’re tea friends now :)

As far as the fluoride – I just watched the webcast of Milwaukee, WI city council meeting where they were having a hearing about removing fluoride from the water there. I could hardly believe it is allowed, given the incredibly toxic nature of it.

If you’re interested, here is a great link on it. Worth checking into:

http://www.fluoridealert.org/top-10-reasons-against-fluoride.aspx

Bright blessings!!!

Azzrian said

Thank you! When you are ready I will be excited to discuss this with you. We have a horrid PH balance, hard water, fluoride, you name it. Thank you again Garret for all your assistance on everything! I have learned so much from you in such a short time. I must be wearing you out lol.

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Azzrian said

This video is excellent for understanding water quality for brewing!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c02amorE-dk&feature=related

Babble said

That was a very informative and well produced video!

I also learned that Bunn sells a $500 at-home coffee maker. That makes me feel less guilty about wanting a Breville for half the price. Lol.

Azzrian said

Haha thats awesome!

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I live in Texas and I agree the water here is horrid. I guess I will have to invest in a filter. I was thinking also about a Keurig system to heat my water. I hate having to microwave it. What do you guys do to heat yours? I am all about the quicker the better. There is no way I will heat my water on the stove. That takes way to long. Sorry if this has been addressed in another post.

Azzrian said

I have a Keurig and do not recommend it for tea. It does not heat to specific temps, does not keep water warm, does not reheat, etc.
For regular brewing I use the Breville but before I had that I had a simple electric kettle which was under 25 bucks with a temp gauge on it. That worked great and still does but I did get the Breville and love it. Then there is the option of getting the machine from mandala.com that I just got – linked here:
http://shopmandalatea.com/tea-wares/water-heaters.html
The reason right I got this is for Pu-erh so I can relax and sit back and constantly have the water hot enough for continuous repeat steepings even the breville won’t do that as it only keeps the pot warm at drinking temp and only for about 30 minutes if you don’t keep pushing the warm button. HOWEVER I stand by the breville and adore it as I believe any one who owns one does for what it is intended to do.

Garret said

The Zojirushi kettles are the bomb! Got my first one 9 years ago (I now have 4 or 5) for the tea shop and it’s still going strong! Unfortunately, we went out of stock on all our Zo kettles, but will have more in soon at Mandalatea.com. Azzrian bought one and then everybody had to have one, I guess :) If there is one that interests you Anny, just let me know. If you have any questions, I’m here for ya! Tea ya!

Azzrian said

I can attest that Garret will indeed take care of you quite well. I have a major tea crush on him right now if you can’t tell lol.

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Fascinating article about the bottled water industry. I didn’t know San Francisco municipal water came from Yosemite Valley and is so clean the EPA doesn’t require any filtering. Can you guess how much of that you could buy for $1.35?!

http://www.fastcompany.com/59971/message-bottle

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