A Tea Addict's Journal

Water issues again

September 6, 2007 · 6 Comments

Before I get on to the topic of water… some unfinished business from yesterday.

This is what yesterday’s tea looked like when I brewed it this morning

This is what it looked like late afternoon

The top cup is yesterday’s tea. The bottom is today’s Wuyi…

And this is how the leaves look when I finally cleaned the teapot

So, yes, suspicions of cooked tea still remains, but the longeivity of the tea itself, and the fact that he has really no good reason to lie to me, makes me think that he’s not lying. It doesn’t matter much, because the tea tastes a bit cooked. I can probably boil it with water and get a few more cups of rather tasty tea out of it, actually.

Anyway, water. I’ve been fiddling with my water here, since I am starting with a new supply and not the steady Nestle water I used in Beijing. I have noticed over time that filtered tap water here is slightly acidic… just a hint of acidity. I don’t know why that is the case, but it is. The building is new. Will new pipes lead to a slightly acidic water?

The effect on tea, however, hasn’t been really obvious until today when I brewed the Wuyi that I thought was slightly sour. I thought I should drink it up, so I made the tea again. Only today, because of a water supply problem (something broke in the building so they shut down water for a few hours) I bought a big bottle of water from the convenience store across the street. The water is light in minerals and quite sweet in its taste. Not a bad water. I used about half tap water (I still had some left in my filter) and half of this bottled water. The effect is dramatic… the Wuyi tastes better than last time, and the sourness? Gone. Absolutely gone. There was perhaps a tinge of it somewhere in the first infusion, but it is so faint that it could very well be placebo.

This of course reinforces the well known fact that water is very important, but since the water itself doesn’t taste sour when drunk, I was surprised that the tap water did that much damage to the taste of the tea and the manifestation of sourness. I always knew that water will do a lot of things to the body of the tea and the way it acts in the mouth, but I didn’t think something like whether or not an oolong will turn sour is so affected as well by what must be a small shift in the ph of the water.

Well, lesson learned. One of these days, I should re-do my water experiment from way back…. when I first started the blog, I drank the same tea for four or five days in a row, each day using a different kind of water. I remember the differences were big, but these days, I think I can probably better discern and describe the differences.

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6 responses so far ↓

  • kibi_kibi // September 6, 2007 at 3:34 pm | Reply

    I also tend to find that with Wuyi, more than Pu-erh, the quality of the water can severely affect my perception of the tea as well as the actual taste. Tap water here has an unpleasant smell of various things created when it was chlorinated, this also makes the tea it makes taste quite aggressive, I’ve had the same sourness with Wuyi before, it can definitely be accentuated by various waters. Hence I tend to prefer very cheap bottled water, called “table water”, which is very clean and not too mineral; neutrality can be good sometimes.


  • Anonymous // September 7, 2007 at 1:39 am | Reply

    Many strange happenings in new construction, water service interruptions only magnify the aquatic phenomena. That drove me out my apartment in Da Lang. Bottled water, an inconvenience, but so worth the effort. Find one that works for you .. have the convince store deliver a case or two.    john

  • MarshalN // September 7, 2007 at 6:53 am | Reply

    Heh, I just might, and I might even be able to get a discount if I buy a case.  The convenience store is literally across the street.

    Gotta experiment wth the water first.

  • Anonymous // September 8, 2007 at 3:45 am | Reply

    Have you ever tried bamboo charcole? I put in tap water and it makes the water sweeter. If you would like some please send me an e-mail @ keapet88@yahoo.com


  • MarshalN // September 8, 2007 at 4:47 am | Reply

    Hmmm, good point, I can probably try doing that.

    I can probably find them here.  I’m in Taiwan after all 🙂

  • Anonymous // September 8, 2007 at 5:28 am | Reply

    If you want to try using the bamboo charcole, the best result I found was to keep the charcole in the water for 8- 10 hours before use ( 24 hours is the best if you have a lot of water). Hope this helps. 🙂

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