I have been asked a lot of questions regarding water, temperature, tea ratio, brewing time, etc.... Over the next couple of blogs, I will answer these questions based upon my observations in Taiwan.
*photo by Douglas King
First, what kind of water is best for making tea with? When I am with farmers in Taiwan, I ask what kind of water they use for tea. Most of the time, the answer is they use the water that runs down from the hills.
*photo by Matthew Kraus
When I was writing this, I thought it might be fun to taste some spring water vs Seattle tap water to see if there would be a huge impact on tea. I had 4 tea friends join me for this fun tasting. I bought Fiji water and Arrowhead water for this tasting. Why did I choose those two brands? I went to a 7-11 near my shop and that's what they have available for spring water.
First round, we tasted just the water itself. Spring water does taste "more alive" than filtered tap water (tastes more flat).
*Photo by Douglas King
Then I brewed our HeHuanShan Oolong in a competition style with these three kinds of water. The differences between the waters was very obvious in this round of tasting. We all agreed that HeHuanShan brewed with filtered tap water is more flat, but we couldn't agree which spring water showed the best result for HeHuanShan. Very interestingly, the tea broth from the tap water was much lighter.
*the above two photos by Douglas King
After this, we proceeded to brew a raw XiaGuan Tuocha from the 90's with these three waters. The differences among these three kinds of water were not as big. Spring water made the puer taste a bit better, but not by much more than the filtered tap water.
*the two photos above by Matthew Kraus.
We finished off our tasting with a Muzha Tieguanyin. Once again, the tea broth from the filtered water was lighter and this time, pretty much everyone liked the brew made with Fiji water the best.
We are blessed to be in Seattle, where our water is from the mountains. Unfortunately, the city puts in some stuff to make the water "safe" for people to drink. Because of the treatment, it also makes the water flatter than natural spring water. If you can find a way to get natural water in your region, that might be the best water for your tea. After all, bottled water is harsh on the environment.