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Water for tea

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In our previous blog posts we already found out what kind of water is needed for a coffee, this time we will look at the topic of water and its role in making a delicious tea.

The Specialty Coffee Association has developed water requirements that include chlorine, calcium, hardness, alkalinity and pH normalization. Several of these parameters also affect the taste of the tea, including the quality of the tea leaves and water, temperature and brewing time.

The composition of the water for tea

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The Tea Association (USA) and the UK Tea Academy probably have the most accurate answer to the question of what kind of water is needed to make delicious tea, describing the optimal/permissible values of water parameters as well as their influence on the taste characteristics of tea.

Water parameters

UK Tea Academy

Tea Association

Effect on flavor characteristics

Optimal value

Allowable value

Optimal value

Chlorine, mg/l

0 mg/l Spoils the taste range

Smell and taste

Without

The cause of the appearance of an unpleasant odor

Total hardness, mmol/l

0.7 1.6 0.8

Causes turbidity and forms a film on the surface

Buffer capacity (alkalinity), mmol/l

0.5 0.4 – 0.9

Affects the pH of the tea, thus the taste, color and cloudiness

pH

6-8

Causes turbidity and forms a film on the surface

TDS, ppm

50–150

The main parameters of the water that are considered important in making good tasting tea are total hardness, alkalinity, chlorine and organic matter content.

TOTAL HARDNESS

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This indicator is an important parameter that determines the taste of tea. Total hardness covers the total amount of dissolved alkaline earth metal ions, mainly calcium and magnesium in the case of drinking water. Temporary or carbonate hardness is part of the total hardness. General hardness is characterized by compounds that cannot precipitate during boiling – sulfates, chlorides, etc. Increased calcium and magnesium content in tea can cause cloudiness, film and foam on the surface of the tea. The reason for this is the reaction of calcium and magnesium with polyphenols which are released from the tea leaves during the preparation process and are responsible for the formation of flavor characteristics. The recommended total hardness value is 0.7 mmol/l and the maximum is 1.6 mmol/l. If the hardness is too low, the tea will be bitter and oversaturated.

WATER PH AND ALKALINITY

The hydrogen indicator or pH indicates the acidity level of the environment: if it is below 7, then the environment is considered acidic, if higher, then alkaline. The closer the water pH is to 7, the better. The water buffer capacity is responsible for the water’s ability to maintain a constant pH level or to limit sharp fluctuations in acidity. In natural waters it is mainly determined by calcium and magnesium carbonates (hardness salts) which are able to react with both alkalis and acids and prevent fluctuations in the concentration of hydrogen ions. These hardness salts are able to affect the pH of water which decreases as the concentration of H + ions increases and increases as it decreases.

TOTAL SALINITY

It is recommended that the water for tea contains calcium, sodium and potassium. Unlike coffee, adding magnesium is not recommended as it increases extraction and makes the tea oversaturated. Recommended total salinity are 50-150 ppm.

CHLORINE

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Chlorine is added to water to disinfect it. It is very important to prevent the spread of infectious diseases through the water supply network. But it also has its disadvantages: as water moves through the pipeline, it oxidizes many organic impurities and chlorine derivative compounds reaches the end user’s faucet. The presence of chlorine-derived compounds can spoil the taste of spring water which intensifies when the water is heated. As for active chlorine it can interact with the ingredients of the tea and spoil the taste of the already brewed product. By boiling chlorine is removed from water by only 5-19% and chlorine compounds are not removed at all.

Water filters for tea

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Filters with mineralization are the best for tea as they provide an increase in the water buffer capacity. In this case reverse osmosis filters are the optimal water purification solution. One of the advantages of the filter is that it is not necessary to boil the water, only to heat it to the required temperature.

For commercial use an excellent solution will be RObust PRO filters suitable for both tap and well water. Thanks to the mineralization of water with calcium, magnesium and hydrocarbon, which ensures the balance of the taste and aroma of the drink, it is possible to discover the unique taste of your tea.

When it comes to water purification devices that do not include mineralization it is worth considering that the range of flavors can be very rich and it is possible to influence it by changing the temperature and duration of tea preparation. In this case water purification solutions could be triple filters, separate mechanical filters with carbon and softening cartridges as well as water cup filters.

Temperature and duration of the tea preparation

Traditionally we are used to pour water over the tea leaves from a boiling kettle which is not correct because the water temperature for tea and the duration of tea preparation are determined by several parameters such as the type of tea, the size of the tea leaves, etc. The required water temperature for making green tea is around 70°C and for black tea 95-98°C. The duration of tea preparation varies from 1.5-5 minutes.

The table below shows the recommended water temperature parameters and tea brewing time.Water for tea

Let a cup of excellent tea be a source of daily vivacity, energy and well-being!

Read also: Water for coffee, How to choose Ecosoft reverse osmosis filter?

 

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