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.  

1 comment:

Theo said...

To add to this, I find that the quality of our water (mineral content and pH) is also critical for taste. For example, at work, I brew my tea (grandpa style) with their bottled, purified water that's delivered once a month. The it's remarkable how much of the flavor is compromised due to the difference in water quality.

I live in Washington, DC, so you'd think we would have decent water. It's generally safe to drink from the tap and the majority of people here don't fuss about it. But, water quality varies significantly across states and localities. New York City's tap water is sourced from the mountains several hours north (they have budget for it), so the water quality is high. But here in the nation's capitol, the tap water (while generally safe) quality is poor enough to ruin a tea session.

For now, I just use a basic filter and then boil that water with maifan stones (麦饭石) and that seems to do the trick.