Choosing Water For Tea: A Simple Guide

There are a great deal of people in the world drinking tea. They may be Chinese, Japanese, English, American, Friesian, Tibetan, Russian, French, Korean, Thai, Indian, or just about anyone from any of the world’s 193 different countries. They may drink their tea hot, iced, or lukewarm. They may add sugar and milk, yak’s butter and salt, red potash, cloves and cardamom, or nothing at all. But there is one common thread to tea drinking around the world: water. Without water, there is no tea.

And no matter how great your tea is, no matter how magnificent the pot that will hold it, or the cups into which it will be poured, if the water is of low quality then then the tea will be too. So how does one insure that the water going into the tea kettle is worthy of the tea it will be making? In order to help our customers have a better grasp of this important relationship, Kasora has prepared this simple guide.

Ancient times

Once upon a time, if you wanted water for tea, you had to get it directly from nature. Whether this meant pulling it up from a well, filling a container at a river or stream, harvesting snow or ice, or collecting rain, you had to work to get your water! Now, with modern plumbing, the water flows directly into our homes, and right out of a tap, making the whole equation a lot easier. Problem solved, right? Not quite. The unfortunate fact is that tap water is completely unsuitable for making tea. Because it is chlorinated, deoxygenated, and generally lifeless, any tea made from it will be chlorinated, deoxygenated and generally lifeless in turn.

Better Water

True tea connoisseurs are fanatics about water, and have been for thousands of years. Ancient Chinese texts on the preparation of tea, have spoken of teas that came to life and achieved magnificence when made with water from special streams, lakes, and springs. The Japanese stated–almost 500 years ago–that “the water used for tea comes ideally from high-mountain streams created by the melting of snow.” All this attention to water is no accident. Even today, it takes the best water to make the best tea.

The Golden List

These are bottled waters that tea experts around the globe agree are ideally suited for making exceptional tea:

(France) S.Bernardo (Italy)Spa (Belgium) Luso (Portugal) Norwater (Norway) Viking Springwater (Norway) Alaskan Glacier Gold Water (United States) Crystal Geyser (United States) Rocky Mountain (United States) Aquator (Canada) Bourassa Canadian (Canada) Valvert (Belgium) Highland Spring (United Kingdom) Naya(Canada) Fiji (Fiji)

This list is not necessarily all-inclusive. There are certainly bound to be other waters that make excellent tea. So how exactly can one make an informed choice before purchasing this all-important ingredient in the preparation of fine tea? By remembering the following points:

You’re looking for water that is not heavily mineralized. Often, a dead giveaway is the presence of the term “mineral water” on the bottle. Conversely, you also don’t want water that is too soft, or artificially softened. Probably the best sources of water that will fit comfortably in the median between too hard and too soft are from glacial sources. If the water says it comes from “glacial springs”, or “glacial undermelting”, it’s probably ideal for tea.

If the water smells like anything, including the bottle containing it, discard it as unusuable.

Here is where you can really make a solid determination of a water’s suitability for tea. When you taste it, do you detect anything other than a snappy, crisp, cleanness? For instance, many mineral waters such as Pellegrino are known for their slight acidity and faint tartness. While waters with these types of mineral tastes might be delicious, they will ruin fine tea. Avoid waters with distinctively mineral tastes.

Home Filtration Systems

Many people filter their own tap water using one of the many commercially available home water filtration systems, while others obtain their water from reverse osmosis filtration services, or from machines dispensing “pure” water outside of grocery stores. Whether or not these water sources are suitable for tea probably depends on the quality of the local tap water they are filtering.

“Emerald trees on Lushan
are held in swirling mist.
No wine can touch the senses
Like this tea made with spring water.”