At their historic first meeting in 1972, Mao TseTung chose Lung Ching Dragonwell to serve to Richard Nixon. More importantly for our story though, the tea was brewed in water from the LongJing Spring at West Lake – where the tea originated from. The spring water is said to be clear, light and sweet adding delightful flavours to an already delightful tea. Was this overkill – or is water important to your tea brewing process?
Well, water is what your tea is steeped in – so the importance of the quality of the water you use is almost as significant as the quality of the tea that you use to steep into that water. The truth is that the same tea leaves, steeped in the exact same way will taste differently in different parts of the world. Clarity, colour and taste are the most important characterisitcs to any tea – and the clarity can be adversely affected by the mineral content in your water.
The following are the primary problems with water that can affect the quality of your tea:
1. water hardness – is caused by a high mineral content – calcium and magnesium
2. chemical taste/odor – caused by chlorination of water and the presence of hydrogen sulfide
3. particulate matter/scale and lime accumulation –
That means…smell your water – if it smells like chemicals, don’t use it. If the water in your area is high in minerals – then try a filtration system, either a built in one or a simple Brita filter. Alternatively, you can use bottled water.
The fundamental message…care as much about the water you use for your tea, as the tea you are using – it is afterall 99.9% of what you’re drinking.