It’s all about water

It’s been some time since we did our last test of water. Travelling around the Czech lands we collected various water samples and went on to test them straight away. It’s been proven many times before, and we have confirmed it again: the water you put in your tea really matters.

Water tasting

Water Sources

We tested samples from south-Bohemian Slubice, Holubov in Blanský Forest and Osinalice in Kokořín. They mostly come from springs, only the Slubice water is from a well. To make our testing more varied we added tap water from Holešovice, Prague, and the same sample, only filtered through a Brita filter. We used each of them to make three teas: 2020 first flush Darjeeling from the Millikthong garden, past year’s Shizuoka Shincha and the Tie Guan Yin oolong from the Alishan Mountains in Taiwan. We used 1.5 dl degustation sets with 2.5 grams of tea leaves, poured them over with boiled water and brewed for 5 minutes.

Good water – good tea!

The colours of the infusions did not vary significantly; however, the differences in taste and flavour were more than clear.
Tap water teas were tragic. Probably the most sensitive to the water from the mains was Darjeeling. The taste was unpleasantly stingy. Unfiltered tap water did not let flowery and fruity tones stand out. It basically spoiled it. Tap water did not allow green Shincha to show all it can do, rendering it a weak, mediocre tea. It was somewhat more merciful with the other samples. In oolong, only baked tones stood out, while its flowery tones disappeared completely. The overall impression was dreadful.
Filtered tap water proved a better – although not perfect – source. The infusions were more compact, with a fuller taste and slight unpleasant astringency. Their character was much better expressed and the range of tastes was generally broader.

Quality of water matters

The teas from the three natural sources were in a stark contrast to those made from tap water. Of course, there were differences, too. The water from the well in Slubice brought out a wide range of flowery aromas. The spring from Kokořín sandstone bedrock supported a stronger body and made the aroma more rounded, up to the point of fusing them into a powerful blend that was hard to penetrate – the overall impression was of sweet, dense fullness. The water from Holubov was probably very soft. The brew made from it was decent and pleasantly balanced.

Water from spring rules

This time, the winners are the water samples from natural sources. However, it is not always the case. Especially well water often comes off quite badly. And so does water from sandstone bedrocks. Maybe the water from your water mains is much better than the one here in Prague. We have been very satisfied with bottled Dobrá voda, which has a low mineral content, and we certainly recommend giving it a try.

Do you do similar tests yourself? How do the results turn out? Let us know about your favourite water sources!

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