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High quality water is essential for excellent tasting tea.

The Importance of TDS in Water for Tea

“All tea, both hot and iced, is affected by water quality. Because of tea’s light flavor, the quality of input water is crucial to the beverage.

The clarity of tea is particularly affected by mineral content in water. Water hardness, caused by calcium and magnesium content in excess of 200 ppm, can cause clouding in iced tea. Water with 50 – 150 ppm total dissolved solids (TDS) or 1 to 3 grains hardness provides the best results, according to the Tea Association of the USA." http://www.teaandcoffee.net/0609/tea.htm

“Water hardness is caused by a high mineral content. Tests show any hardness in excess of 200 ppm can cause clouding in iced tea. Chemical taste and/or odor caused by chlorination of municipal water and the presence of hydrogen sulfide in the water can also detract from tea flavor. In addition, the presence of particulate matter in water can cause scale and lime accumulation, detracting from the operational efficiency of automatic tea steeping equipment.”
http://www.teausa.com/

Choose the best water.

“Ninety nine percent of tea is water, so it’s important to give some thought to the water you use for brewing. Tap water should be avoided since its chemical treatment imparts undesirable flavors and odors which interfere with the delicate aromatics of tea. Home filters and other water purification systems can minimize and, in some cases, eliminate these problems. The best water for tea brewing is spring water with a natural mineral content that’s neither too hard nor too soft. Since T.D.S. “total dissolved solids”, or mineral content measured in parts per million varies greatly from water to water, you may want to do your own taste-test of waters available in your area to determine which one has the best flavor, body and compatibility with the tea you drink.”
http://jiangtea.blog.com/2011/11/26/how-to-brew-tea-using-gaiwan/

Problem:
Our 450’ well provides very hard water 309 mg/L or PPM with a high iron content (0.317 PPM) for a total hardness of 20 grains so we had to install a whole-house water softener and use Iron-out salt blocks.
Results: Hardness: Not detected. Iron: Not detected.

Disadvantages:
1. Softeners add sodium to your water, which is not recommended for tea or your health especially if one has hypertension or a family history of hypertension.
2. Softeners do not remove dissolved solids from water. Our TDS was 438 mg/L or PPM.

Bottled water was expensive. Lugging home 12 gallons (100 lbs.) of water about once a week and recycling numerous empty gallon water jugs was inconvenient. Refilling them was less expensive but more time consuming. Running out of bottled water especially if there was none for morning tea was a royal pain.

Thus, we needed a Reverse Osmosis (RO) system to remove the sodium from our drinking water and to significantly reduce the TDS in our well water. But which brand & model? There is mind-numbing selection from which to choose. Consumer Reports (CR) top-rated the Kinetico K5 system, which is very expensive and uses only proprietary replacement filters. The less expensive models recommended by CR could be found at Lowes & Home Depot. However, the reviews for these models on the Lowes & Home Depot websites reported many issues by mostly dissatisfied customers.

Finally, after much time consuming research, I ran into Allan from Puregen on the Terry Love Plumbing & Remodel DIY Forum. He said:

“Abundant flow is great, Mark is a good guy and very interested in customer service.”

“I would recommend calling Abundant, tell them Allan from Puregen sent you and recommended their generic RO with the Aptera filter and a ERP500 permeate pump. See what they can do for you. They have made consistently high quality ROs for a long time.”

“I would also highly recommend the Aptera filter from them. It is an excellent way to make the water taste better, raise the pH, remineralize, etc. This has been one of the best filters we have seen in a long time, especially for the price.”

Thus, Allan and Mark Bunner at AFW helped me find a cost-effective high quality RO system that I was able to install myself. We’ve owned the system for 8 months and there has not been a single issue. We now have all the high quality drinking water we need, whenever we need it without having to run to the store. One less hassle in life – Solved!

Solution:
Abundant Flow Water (AFW)
Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System
Model: Zeta RO:
Includes:

Options:

Mark Bunner at AFW provided exceptional customer service. He was very patient in answering all my questions. He assisted me in selecting the right system for our needs and provided the necessary technical support so that I was able to install this system myself.

Our TDS used to be 438 PPM. Now it averages 54 PPM and our tea never tasted so good!

Mark and AFW RO systems are Highly Recommended!!

ashmanra

We rely on the Terry Love forum when choosing any type of water fixtures for our home. There is such a wealth of information there, but I had never thought about looking there for R.O. Systems. I may get one someday but our city tap water is actually pretty good and the filter on the fridge makes it even better. Local wells are not so satisfactory though, having a high iron content.

looseTman

Agreed, the Terry Love forum does offer a wealth of information – very helpful!
Does your fridge filter remove the chlorine found in most city water supplies? Have you tested the pH of your water?

ashmanra

I have never had our water tested, and I don’t know anything about our filter! I don’t know if it removed chlorine or not. I have had less than favorable water before, so I am just going by taste when I say that our water is pretty adequate for tea making. The beach where we vacation used to have terrible water, but they have added a city water system recently and I am happy that I can now make good tea there, too.

looseTman

The fridge owner’s manual may tell you what the filter is designed to remove. If not, with the make & model # of the fridge or the replacement filter part #, I suspect you can find out. See:
http://www.filtersfast.com/?gclid=CP6h4PG68LECFYLb4AodhhQAGA#
http://www.freshwatersystems.com/c-453-refrigerator-filters.aspx
If you want a simple in-home test for chlorine and/or pH see:
http://www.freshwatersystems.com/c-345-water-test-strips.aspx
http://filter.filtersfast.com/search?w=ph%20test%20kit
http://filter.filtersfast.com/search?asug=&view=list&w=chlorine+test

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ashmanra

We rely on the Terry Love forum when choosing any type of water fixtures for our home. There is such a wealth of information there, but I had never thought about looking there for R.O. Systems. I may get one someday but our city tap water is actually pretty good and the filter on the fridge makes it even better. Local wells are not so satisfactory though, having a high iron content.

looseTman

Agreed, the Terry Love forum does offer a wealth of information – very helpful!
Does your fridge filter remove the chlorine found in most city water supplies? Have you tested the pH of your water?

ashmanra

I have never had our water tested, and I don’t know anything about our filter! I don’t know if it removed chlorine or not. I have had less than favorable water before, so I am just going by taste when I say that our water is pretty adequate for tea making. The beach where we vacation used to have terrible water, but they have added a city water system recently and I am happy that I can now make good tea there, too.

looseTman

The fridge owner’s manual may tell you what the filter is designed to remove. If not, with the make & model # of the fridge or the replacement filter part #, I suspect you can find out. See:
http://www.filtersfast.com/?gclid=CP6h4PG68LECFYLb4AodhhQAGA#
http://www.freshwatersystems.com/c-453-refrigerator-filters.aspx
If you want a simple in-home test for chlorine and/or pH see:
http://www.freshwatersystems.com/c-345-water-test-strips.aspx
http://filter.filtersfast.com/search?w=ph%20test%20kit
http://filter.filtersfast.com/search?asug=&view=list&w=chlorine+test

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Bio

I am passionate about teas that are full-bodied, rich, & smooth. I joined Steepster to explore Multiple Infusion Teas (MITs) such as Pu-erh.

Currently, my focus is on un-flavored orthodox black & pu-erh teas. Cost-effective organic teas or teas that meet the EU Food Safety Commission Pesticide Maximum Residue Limit EUROFINS are also of interest.

I especially enjoy teas with a natural rich chocolate flavor profile as opposed to natural bittersweet cocoa.

Complete steeping instructions on the bag are greatly appreciated:
tsp. (g) / oz. / temp. / rinse? / min. for both Western & Gongfu brewing.

Incomplete, non-specific, or cutesy instructions such as: “Just add water and enjoy.” significantly reduces the possibility that I will purchase that particular tea.

Having to discover the optimum brewing parameters through “trial & error” is too time-inefficient, wastes valuable tea and impairs the progress and joy of tea exploration.

The best tea suppliers evaluate each crop / batch of tea each year to determine the optimum brewing parameters. This insures the best possible first impression of their tea, greatly increases customer satisfaction, and thus increases word-of-mouth advertising – the best form of advertising that money can’t buy. You never have a 2nd chance to make an Outstanding First Impression.

My wife is an Earl Grey Fan. We enjoyed Twinings for many years – mostly Earl Grey, also English/Irish Breakfast, & Prince of Wales. Several years ago, TEG no longer tasted as good.

Rishi EG & China Breakfast then became our regular teas. However, after winning Tea Expo awards, the prices kept rising.

Our most recent orders were from TeaVivre, Verdant, Zen Tea Life, & Mandala Tea. Kudos to Angel Chen, David Duckler, Kenneth Son, Garret Sorensen who have been extremely helpful.

High quality water is essential for excellent tasting tea.
Our 450’ well provides hard water. For details see: http://steepster.com/looseTman/posts/176233#comments.

Solutions:
#1. Rainsoft water softener with
Q2 computerized control valve

#2. Abundant Flow Water
Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System with re-mineralization filter
Model: Zeta RO: https://www.afwfilters.com/drinking-ro-systems/6-stage-alkaline-zoi-zeta-reverse-osmosis-system-16.html
Includes:
- Dow Filmtec TFC R.O. membrane
- Omnipure Inline Post filter
- Puregen Aptera Alkaline Filter: http://www.puregen.com/products_detail.php?id=301&lang=en

Options:
- Aquatec ERP-500 & ASV 2000
- 3/8" Output
- HM Digital DM-1: http://www.tdsmeter.com/products/dm1.html

My profile picture is a Red-Breasted Nuthatch, an annual winter visitor to our woodpecker feeder.

Location

Mid-Atlantic, USA

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