Saturday, August 17, 2019

Bottled Water

Water make up a big part of your tea.  Many of us are willing to spend considerable amount of $$ on our tea.  For many tea drinkers, we may spent a few dollars for 10g of tea leaves for a session of tea.  I have yet to read on tea forums or blogs about the cost of water in a tea session.  

I suppose water is considered cheap.  If you are lucky (like me), the tap water in your country may be drunk 'straight from the tap' and I would be using this tap water to boil and make tea.  In countries where tap water is not directly drinkable, one would consider maybe adding a filter to 'clean' the tap water or may use bottled water in the home.

My friends in China, Hong Kong and Malaysia had told me to drink bottled water whenever I travelled to visit them.  I noticed, in all these 3 places, that my friends used quite 'high tech'  electronic water filtration devices in their homes to filter their tap water.  The tap water is ran though 4-5 filtration modules before it is 'considered safe to drink'.  The filters, I was told are changed 2-4 times a year.  

When it comes to tea, my friends and teashops in these 3 countries would used bottled water for their tea sessions.  There are many brands of water available but in Malaysia, the 'Spritzer' brand is preferred and in China. the 'Nongfu' brand is used for tea brewing.  I am sure these folks have tried many brands before settling on these preferred brands.  If my math serve me right, it cost about US$1.50 to buy about 2 litres of water in these 2 countries.  So if you use 2 litres of water in a tea session, than the water cost is US$1.50 in this example.  

It was surprising, or not surprising, that I found the water from these 2 brands tasted quite similar to each other.  When I brewed ripe pu erh tea at home using these 2 brands, the water tasted a tiny bit sweeter than my home tap water.  It was a fun experiment to do and I urge my readers to try the occasional bottled water in your shops to see whether you can discern any difference in your tea.  

I also encourage that you use 100c (boiling water) when you brew your does make a difference.  Do also remember to use boiling water as well for subsequent infusions as well. 

I also know a few of my hardcore tea buddies (3 of them)  would go outdoors to collect spring water and bring home to brew tea.  They tell me its the best water.  

We should be thankful we have water to drink.  I have read articles that there will be future wars among countries whose conflict will be over water.  

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Lin Ceramics Purion Teaware - Revisit

During my more than 10 years of blogging about tea, I had written that there were many small ways or ideas that may improve a tea session.  

Some of these ideas (you may disagree with me) include: 

a) using a clay teapot than a gaiwan to brew your tea
b) experimenting with water - trying bottled or filtered water and see the impact on the aroma and taste of the tea.  Use boiling 100c water to brew pu erh and high roasted oolong is an exercise I recommend.
c) breaking up a pu erh cake and storing it in a tea caddy for 2 weeks before you try the tea
d) a slightly expensive option is to use clay kettles to boil your water and the possibility of using a Japanese iron tetsubin for boiling water as well.  

The Lin Ceramics purion clay is, to me, an interesting phenomena.  When I brew pu erh in a Lin's purion teapot, the aroma and taste of the tea seem slightly amplified.

I brought over a teapot (3 years ago) to my tea drinking group in Guangzhou, China and my friends there (mainly in their late 40s and 50s and had never seen a purion teapot before) could discern this difference in taste and aroma.  These friends are now owners of  purion tea ware and they would occasionally brew tea in a purion teapot to enjoy this phenomena.

I cannot explain the reason.  My thoughts are that the higher iron content in the clay could have affected the taste and aroma of the tea.  I am still intrigued by this purion teapot after so many years of use.

One local tea buddy considered that using purion teapot would  'artificially' enhanced the tea and does not give a true representation of that tea.  I can understand his argument but many of us do try to make a tea as 'tasty' as possible, and may use those ideas I listed in the beginning of this blog to brew their tea.  I was quietly relieved that he does not know that I occasionally concoct an alcoholic tea session......he would have fainted.  

I would like to add that this difference (using purion) in the tea (taste and aroma) is only discernible by 'hardcore' (close to it anyway) tea drinkers and this difference is ever so slight.   If you consider yourself as  'hardcore', I suggest you should 'beg, borrow or steal' a purion tea ware and try it yourself.