Besides tea, what else is in your cup? Tea is more than 98% water. Thus, the quality of the water we use for making tea is of enormous importance. In this Tea Skills workshop, we’ll take a closer look at why and how water makes a difference, and what you can do to improve your most important ingredient. If you’d like to do some of the brew experiments included at home, you’ll need the following materials:

– Brita filter (or something similar), both a new cartridge and one that is less than a month old.
– Distilled water
– At least one brand of bottled water, ideally one that lists its mineral content on the label (like Fiji)
– Japanese charcoal filter sticks (binchotan), available here or here. (see links in Info section
– (optional) a simple TDS meter

A few additional notes for reference:
USGS map of water hardness is here: https://www.usgs.gov/media/images/map-water-hardness-united-states

It’s worth pointing out, from a sustainability perspective, that Japanese binchotan are often made of oak, which is a slow-growing hardwood. You can find charcoal sticks made from bamboo, but be cautious about the source.

If you’re curious about a titration kit for testing, coffee professionals cite the Red Sea Foundation Pro test kit, available on Amazon.

If you REALLY want to get into water study, consider “Water for Coffee”, by Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood and Christopher Hendon. Note: It’s a very science jargon heavy read, but it does offer pathways forward for anyone lost about what to do when they get those negative reports back from water testing/titration kits and don’t know how to fix the problem. Also as a disclaimer, this is specific for improving coffee flavor, however the chemistry of how water behaves applies universally.
Reviewed here by Fresh Cup Magazine: https://www.freshcup.com/review-water-for-coffee/

Original airdate: Dec 2019