When we make tea we need to consider the quality of leaves we use, the utensils such as pots and cups, as well as the type of water. People often neglect the choice of water used for tea and instead focus more on the leaves and way to prepare them. Water in fact differs in quality depending if it is natural spring water or taken from on tap, and thus requires further attention to determining the next step in learning about tea as well as how to improve its overall taste.
Tap water is not necessarily bad to use for tea or other beverages if that is the only option you have at hand but it is not ideal. Tap water is hard and often contains chemicals that while are meant to protect the safety of water consequently take away from its purity. If you use tap water for tea Chinese medical doctors and avid tea drinks alike recommend boiling it three times before using it for any type of drink. Boiling it three times is the amount it takes to balance pH levels to an optimal state with low acidity. In fact boiling water just once was found to reduce pH levels from 5 to 7 on a scale of 0-14, with 0 being completely acidic. Chinese doctors also believe that high acidity leads to increased chances of disease and overall takes away from the quality of water. Boiling tap water helps and three times is the recommended amount in order to bring it to a higher ionized state that also resembles a similar quality found in natural spring water.
Filters of course are another option to help improve this scenario. Many tea houses uses filtered water to serve their tea in order to let customers experience a more real-life scenario as to what the tea will taste like when used with water from their own home. The problem with using natural spring water when trying to sell or promote tea is that not only is it expensive, it most likely does not reflect the type of water people have access to when making tea, especially when starting out. Thus, in order to find a balanced quality both in terms of water quality and tea taste we think this is a great way to make tea. If you already have a water filter at home you are in good shape otherwise if you don’t it is still worth the investment.
Natural spring water meanwhile is the best to drink in terms of high-quality pure water. This type of water is really soft and blends in better with drinks such as tea. In fact we first came across this stark difference while visiting a teahouse in Taipei called Wistaria, which receives its water from natural spring sources in a nearby mountain area called Wulai. Every week the company stocks up on supply and stores it in a reserve located in the back of the restaurant, which is used with all customers who order tea served both in loose-leaf or sachet bags. The quality difference is incredible and we feel the water allows the taste of the tea to come out in a more pure way. He fragrance is also noticeably different and many people believe the theanine and polyphenol compounds within tea are strengthened.
Natural spring water may be difficult to come but you can resort to ionized water as an alternative. You can improve the quality of this by also boiling it 1-2 times in order to rid it of any chemicals found inside that otherwise may take away from the quality. You can also combine different types of water such as boiled tap water and natural spring water in order to save on costs and yet still get increased quality and health benefits.