Water Quality and Tea

I have a general question about water quality and what impact it has on the taste of tea. I'm thinking of pH, mineral content etc.
Is there any one factor that is most significant in contributing to off taste? Is anyone using bottled water or distilled water or deionized water to make tea?
Does anyone have experience with making tea from water that has been run through a reverse osmosis filtering system?
Thanks in advance,
Alton
Reply to
Alton B. Wilson
in news:47cf628c$0$1085 $ snipped-for-privacy@roadrunner.com:
Well, pretty much all I know about the subject is that alikilne hard water (pH>8.5) doesn't tend to disssolve stuff nearly as well as softer, more acidic water. Stuff like theanine, caffeine, tanic acid, and all the other flavorful componsents of tea leaves.
Wasn't the whole idea behind Scottish Breakfast tea choosing a blend of Assam which would be ordinarily be too strong for most palates, but just right for the hard water of the Scotland?
Ozzy
Reply to
Ozzy

Scotland in the main has very soft water (lots of granite rock) and a tendency to slight acidity (pH 5.5 is the minimum allowable standard of the Scottish Water Authority). Water supplies drawn off the peat moors can be very acidic and indeed look, though not taste, like weak tea.
Nigel at Teacraft
Reply to
Nigel
Scottish Breakfast tea is made to counteract the dulling effect of Scotland's soft water. At least, that's what it says on the Taylor's of Harrogate web site.
To answer the OP: water with some mineral content is best (in general) for tea.
Oh, and oxygen content. Water that lacks oxygen (from being boiled too long, for example) tends to make a flat-tasting tea. Oxygen is to tea as salt is to food, in that salt can enhance the flavor of food. And it can do this without making it taste salty; notice how often salt is included in sweet dishes.
Alan
Reply to
Alan

Alan wrote in news:e38a6e32-db2d-4936-8d2c- snipped-for-privacy@i12g2000prf.googlegroups.com:
I stand corrected, Alan, thank you. (BTW, my source was a box of SB from a snobby store in Greenwich Village, I forget the brand.)
Ozzy
Reply to
Ozzy

On Thu, 6 Mar 2008 20:06:32 -0800 (PST), Alan wrote:
In that case, my water distiller, a counter-top stainless steel model, no doubt robs water of oxygen. The manufacturer supplies charcoal filters that are supposed to help the taste, but I'm not sure if it corrects for oxygen loss. Seems like letting distilled water stand for a while will re-oxygenate it some. Maybe you could get fanatical about the oxygen and put your distilled water in a food processor for half an hour? bookburn
Reply to
bookburn

I tend to make all my tea from RO water. I've tried expensive spring waters, and honestly I had a hard time discerning the difference. Most tap water in my area (eastern PA USA) is chlorinated, which I find REALLY objectionable in tea. My local market has a RO machine, and one can bring in containers and fill them there.
I've also experimented with adding small quantities of soluble salts (Na, K, Ca, Mg) to my RO water to see what effect it has on the resulting tea, and although I can detect a difference with some teas, on average I don't necessarily prefer it.
My $0.02.
Regards, Dean
Reply to
DPM
Tea always has small quantities of soluble salts (Na, K, Ca, Mg) S. M. Changoiwala Gopaldhara tea company PVT Ltd. Kolkota Gardens-soongachi, New Glencoe Darjeeling- Gopaldhara, Rohini
Reply to
smchangoiwala
I will be obliged if the following is answered in the light of science. Question 1- What is the contribution of Oxygen in tea brew from Quality angle ? Question 2- Is it correct to say that the solubility of oxygen is more in cold water than hot water? question 3- no one drinks tea boiling hot. will the tera brewed with boiling water will absorb Oxygen from atmosphere during the intervening period while we drink tea. S. M. Changoiwala Gopaldhara tea company PVT Ltd. Kolkota Gardens-soongachi, New Glencoe Darjeeling- Gopaldhara, Rohini
Reply to
smchangoiwala

A quick answer to question #2:
Actually the solubility of oxygen in colder water is greater than the solubility in warmer water. The solubility process is exothermic (or releases heat) and based on the equilibrium of the reaction, the colder temperature is preferred.
As far as question #3, I don't know the answer, but why don't you compare tea soaked in room temperature water versus hot-water brewed tea that is then cooled to room temperature (or heat the room temperature-water brewed tea)?
Alton
Reply to
Alton B. Wilson
Tea always has small quantities of soluble salts (Na, K, Ca, Mg) S. M. Changoiwala
I understand that. We've had previous discussions on this forum as to what effect dissolved minerals have on the diffusion of flavor compounds from the tea leaves into the water. There are some who strongly affirm that natural spring water, with it's mineral salts, makes noticeably better tasting tea than that made with RO or distilled water. Others, myself included, are less enthusiastic. Perhaps it's a matter of taste; perhaps it depends on complex interactions between the tea and the water.
BTW, how are conditions in Darjeeling this year? I was underwhelmed by the 2007 teas I sampled, and was hoping for a better crop this year.
Regards, Dean
Reply to
DPM
Hello. If we can return to the original question, I would say that the simple answer (already implied in passing) is that the chlorine put into tap water in most countries that I know of is extremely destructive of true tea taste, and if your tap water is loaded with limestone / chalk (hard water) that too will spoil things quite effectively. (I know nothing about fluoride in terms of its effect on the taste of tea) The easiest solution for most people, I suspect, is a cheap brand of ordinary bottled water, which is going to be without chlorine and lime. I do not have taste-buds capable of detecting trace elements or dissolved oxygen, and I have to confess (shame!) that I cannot tell if the water used to make tea has previously been allowed to boil or has only been raised to a threshold temperature well below boiling, and (worse still?) I do not think it matters much. But chlorine and hard water are the Death of Tea when the tea is being drunk for delicacy of taste. By contrast, in my childhood I saw traditional British breakfast or afternoon teas designed to be served with milk (and optional sugar) being made using water so hard that the kettle had to be regularly de-furred with white vinegar to prevent the spout getting clogged. No one complained about loss of taste back then! It's another drink, that's all. Br Anthony
Reply to
An Sonjae

An Sonjae writes:
I don't know about the effect of fluoride in water either, but I do know there's a lot of fluoride already in the tea leaves before you add water. And don't forget the aluminum!
/Lew (with no obvious signs of aluminum-induced Alzheimer's yet)
--
Lew Perin / perin@acm.org
http://www.panix.com/~perin/babelcarp.html
Reply to
Lewis Perin

The general knowledge about this topic is that water with a higher mineral content will allow the flavors in the tea to come out better; science aside. They say here that spring water is best for tea with well water and river water being less desired.
Reply to
Mydnight

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