We have covered the types of water best suited for tea in previous articles and for this one we are going to talk about how we prepare the water. Many people often ask similar questions in regards to whether it is ok for to use microwaved water and whether cold water can be used etc. Below are some of the dos and don’ts for water in tea making that will hopeful give you a better understanding of the way water works in relation to tea.
People often wonder if it is ok to microwave water until it is hot enough to add into tea. Our recommendation is you should avoid this, and there are several reasons. First, microwaves in general are thought to be one of the least talked about leading causes of cancer in modern society due to the amount of radiation that is released to produce heat. In fact, there have been several articles and experiments discussing this recently, which you can check out pointing toward this. We also think, and this could be fabricated from our own biased opinion, that water microwaved simply tastes different when added to tea compared with water boiled on a stove or in an electric boiler. Perhaps this is because of the radiation aspect but we encourage you to try the difference. For quick tea making though we say do as you wish but for higher-end los leaf teas, thou shall only use water from a kettle.
Also, we tend to boil our water several times or at least once before re-heating it and pouring it into our teapot. This helps rid water of chemicals and also decreases the acidity, allowing for Ph levels to rise above 7. In fact, many Chinese studies have shown boiling water twice can increase those levels to 9 and above, thus eliminating the reason as well as the costs to purchase ionized water.
Lastly, we think it is very difficult to bring microwaved water to an appropriate boiling point for brewing tea. Microwaved water can get very hot but it never reaches an actual boiling point, albeit reaching close to a boiling point in temperature. We simply think the taste is different as a result, but again, that is our own personal experience.
When making the first batch of tea either from a sachet or in a pot using loose-leaf tea, it is important to make sure the water is hot enough to open the leaves. Heat caused the leaves to expand and allows the flavor and overall fragrance to come out. Once the leaves are opened up and you continue to use water from your initial boiling you will find you are still able to get taste and fragrance despite a lower temperature. This is because the leaves are already open.
If you want to have cold tea then you can use all hot water and pour the various pots into a container and allow them to cool off before drinking. This tea can also be placed in the refrigerator since it has already been prepared properly. Should you choose to drink iced tea we suggest that you use sachets that remain in a cup in order to maintain steady flavor since it will be affected from ice dilution.
Iron and Gold Kettles
If you have money to blow these are the ultimate tools for water preparation. Boiling water in gold or iron creates a whole new level of taste in minerals and softness due to the properties of the chemicals. Teas taste even smoother and fragrant that we have ever tried, and it is almost too good that we try to avoid it out of regret we will never have such kettles in our possession. Some iron kettles can be purchased for less than $500 but the really nice ones that are aged and create this quality are $2,000 and up. Gold kettles go well over the $30,000 mark.