Water is not to be taken as a trivial element in the process that involves making a cup of tea, regardless of the quality of tea leaves, a cup of tea can turn out bad if the appropriate quality of water is not used, using the most expensive and best quality tea leaves can sometimes make a bad cup of tea if the water is not up to certain standards. Tea is about 98% water, therefore the quality of a cup is greatly influenced by water. For a great cup of tea, there are a few points you should consider when choosing water for your tea.
The pH Value Matters
People, many a times talk about using hard or soft water. The ideal water for making tea has a pH level of 7 which is rather neutral and with a slight inclination of alkaline, water at this level has the least influence on tea while keeping the flavor intact. The water also should not contain large amounts of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), excessive minerals or dissolved solids such as various metals, calcium, sulphates and bicarbonates, they may react with the substances in tea and form things that may ultimately contribute to a bad tasting cup of tea. Mineral Water therefore is an unsuitable choice.
Use Low TDS Water
If you have no choice but to use bottled water, make sure to use Spring Water and not Mineral Water. Spring water has a lower mineral content where as mineral water is too hard and would leave the tea tasting quite metallic. Make sure the Spring Water is at a neutral pH level and contains a TDS content of 30 parts per million (PPM) or less. This information can be found on the label of the bottle.
Using Tap Water
Aside from bottled spring water, filtered tap water is the best for making a cup of tea. If you choose to use tap water make sure it’s at its best. If you are using filtered water, it is best you use it immediately, water absorbs odors over time, it cannot be detected but it ultimately impacts the taste of your tea. By using a filter your goal is to purify the water and by boiling it you are allowing the water to purify further, that way the water used to brew a cup of tea is at its best, it brings out the flavors and results in a perfectly brewed cup of tea.
Avoid Distilled Water
Try avoiding distilled water at all times. It is always assumed that, since distilled water is the purest form of water you can purchase, it is also the best to use when brewing a cup of tea. Distilled water contains no mineral impurities, where as drinking water contains naturally beneficial impurities which vary with their origin. In some parts of the world water often includes electrolytes such as calcium, sodium and magnesium which contributes in enhancing the flavor of tea. It is agreed upon that using distilled water is not a suitable choice when it comes to making a cup of tea, the tea turns out to have a rather flat taste and lacks quality, which is the key element you enjoy in a cup of tea.
Never Re-use Water
Use freshly drawn water. Re-using water that has already been boiled or that has been sitting around for a long period of time, may produce a cup of tea that is low in quality. Bringing water to a boil removes oxygen from the water and flattens it and boiling it more than once, releases more and more oxygen and ultimately becomes tough, and looses its essence and cannot contribute into bringing out the true quality of tea. So starting fresh each time is well advised.
These are some key factors to keep in mind the next time you want to make a cup of tea that is unscathed by the quality of or the elements in water.