A Tea Addict's Journal

Chlorine in water

May 12, 2010 · 4 Comments

The water here is heavily chlorinated.  Apparently, my town gets its water supply from wells, and in addition to being heavy on minerals, the processing of the water happens pretty close to where I live, and when I go to a restaurant  that serves unfiltered tap water, it comes out as bitter and nasty.  There is a very unpleasant taste to it, in addition to the chlorine that you can feel in the water that gives it a heavy, metallic taste.

Once filtered, the water comes out much better, at the very least it loses some of that nasty edge to the water.  The difference is not obvious to me, day in, day out, since I never drink the water unfiltered (so the only time I notice it is when I have to go somewhere and drink the tap water).  The thing is, when I tried to make tea for my class last semester, the students were able to pick up on the bitterness in one of the tea.  Knowing that tea, it has nothing to do with the tea itself — it’s the water that’s making the tea taste sharp and bitter.

BBB recently talked about assumptions about new tea drinkers.  The thing that we tend to assume is that younger drinkers like the more floral, lighter stuff.  In fact, I’ve been treated that way before by many tea sellers who assume that of me as well.  The fact of the matter is very often a newcomer to tea can have a better handle on what stands out as the dominant taste/characteristics of a tea.  If it’s bitter, they’ll tell you it’s bitter.

I always think it’s important to show newer drinkers of tea the difference in taste that different water can have.  Considering there are only two ingredients in making tea, there are few things more important than that.  As I’ve said before, changing your water is often the best, fastest, and cheapest way to improve your tea.

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4 responses so far ↓

  • Anonymous // May 12, 2010 at 5:11 pm | Reply

    Having worked for a Water and Sewer district, I can tell you it is a bad thing in terms of Chlorine and possibly other chemicals such as Fluoride for you. I am not sure if Fluoride naturally dissipates over time like Chlorine, but if you are in a large distribution district, but you are located really close to the Center of the Distribution your Chlorine levels might be almost double what they are at the edges of the district.

    I remember my boss always talking about how he needs to estimate usage, when taking into account the size of the district, in order to have safe and required levels of Chlorine throughout the entire serviced area.

  • MarshalN // May 13, 2010 at 1:00 am | Reply

    Yeah, and so you end up with undrinkable water…

  • David_VdT // May 14, 2010 at 10:50 am | Reply


    In France we just had a very serious study about filtering pitchers which shows that it is easier to put your tap water one hour in the fridge in order to get rid of the chlorine taste.

    The very study says that those pitchers can make it feel like they are a good thing, but are a nest of microbes and actually a poor choice : the water comes out with slightly higher levels of whatever is supposed to be removed : lead, nitrates, pesticides, silver salts which are used for filtering, microbes… In theory (lab) it works fine but there are 2 problems : first, you need to change them very often, and if you don’t wash your hands before touching the pitcher and keeping it outside of the fridge, microbes develop very quickly. Even if we tea drinkers boil this water, money spent on these devices looks poorly spent.

    In France, tap water quality is a serious thing and I can only imagine it is the same thing for you. That being said, I for myself am using spring water, calcium (limestone) being really a bother even with the pitchers after a couple of weeks use, making the investment questionable.

    My 2 cents.


  • MarshalN // May 14, 2010 at 7:27 pm | Reply

    Ah, but see….. I could not care less about microbes. What I do care about is the taste of the water, and on that count, what comes out is better than what goes in, and that’s all I care about.

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