What's The Water For Your Tea?

We’re visiting a few European countries this month, to introduce the Taiwanese Teas in person. And we noticed something that is very hard to notice in Taiwan: the water really affects the taste of tea! I guess it’s obvious :) but in Taiwan it rains too much to encounter the wrong kind of water; even tap water is tasty. Meanwhile… in Berlin the tap water left a nasty fossil record on our porcelain cups, and in Athens even the bottled waters taste astringent when boiled. So now we are thinking of what to look for in bottled water that makes it safe to use with tea, and we’d love to know what everyone has noticed!

10 Replies
Bentea said

I’ve only ever used tap water, kind of curious to try with bottled now though

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Lala said

I don’t know about Greece, But many countries don’t have regulations on bottled water. So you might just be getting tap water anyway. If you are using bottled water, I would suggest looking at the ppm (parts per million) and the contents: ie. the minerals in the water. Same with tap water. You should be able to get the breakdown of from your municipality or city of what is in the tap water.

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moraiwe said

We actually have pretty good tap water where we are (I can still pick up a chlorine taste sometimes, though), but I typically use filtered. I just use a standard Brita-type pitcher and keep it in my fridge for drinking, too.

I’ve also loaded up a 5 gallon jug from an artisian well once and hauled that home and used that. That was some of the best water I’ve ever had the luxury of using. The well is about 155 miles away, though.

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ifjuly said

I’m super lucky and the tap water where I live is famously delicious (comes from artesian wells), clean and sweet tasting (when I travel the number one thing that makes me homesick is the tap water!). I’ve lived places with horribly hard water (a boyfriend who visited my parents’ home with me once described showering as “like bathing with rocks”) or just plain funky smelling water (ick) and it’s no fun. Back then I used water from a filtered pitcher kept in the fridge for stuff like tea, but I don’t really know what’s optimal these days.

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Ifjuly, I’d love to know some details about the water you’re drinking. We like a brand here called Bikos. It has a Ph of 7.3 and much more calcium than other brands we liked less. So it is harder, but tastes better.

Has anyone noticed an effect from Ph, or from mineral composition? This is super dorky, but we’ve really killed some tea using random water!

Lala said

I find high mineral content changes the taste of the tea. If I am using a bottled water, I look for something with low mineral content. Not sure about pH. I so still use tap water and a Brita filter.

ifjuly said

i only did the most cursory googling, but here’s some random links about the wells:

http://www.waterworld.com/articles/print/volume-19/issue-11/washington-update/memphis-water-termed-sweetest-in-the-world.html

some slides about it. the most relevent info is in the second half. warning, PDF: http://www.ce.memphis.edu/1101/notes/filtration/West_Tennessee_groundwater.pdf

wasn’t able to quickly find hard data re: ph and mineral levels. i just know it tastes wonderful.

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Lela, so I also thought that, and I was surprised by the Bikos brand that tasted much better even though it had almost twice as much dissolved minerals as the two other brands we tried here.

Ifjuly, that’s a cool site. I’m surfing it now :)

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darky said

Best thing u can do is buy a Brita water filter jar… it makes the water softer, its a very big difference here in Belgium

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cody said

I’ve been buying bottled. The tap water here (specifically in this apartment, because I’ve been drinking the city water for years) tastes horrible, even when Brita’d.

Usually, I’d just go with filtered tap water, though.

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