July 2008 Issue
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Recommendation

Water: The Key to Enjoying Great Tea

by Angela Justice

In order to make tea, you must add water. In order to make great tea, you must start with good water. A simple principle that is often taken for granted. Water is so easily found at our facet, yet scientists estimates fresh water gathered from rivers, lakes, and ponds makes up less than 0.2% - 0.6% of all water on the planet. Potable water is a rare phenomenon. Water naturally worthy of preparing tea is like a precious jewel. As a tea purveyor, it is easy to focus on acquiring the rarest, most interesting teas, but in order to properly showcase tea, it must be prepared with the right water.

My first brush with bad water was in Las Vegas. I tried to make Dragon Well tea with water in my hotel room. Upon awakening I drank water from the faucet and experienced a fright that haunts me to this day. I swear I tasted at least five heavy metals that have no place in a glass. I was sure I could improve the situation by bringing the water to a low boil for my 5 AM green tea fix. As I sipped my tea, I began to feel as if I were in a parallel universe. This beautiful tea that I had prepared thousands of times prior tasted nasty and brackish instead of light, ethereal, and nutty - something was not right.

The water was the only variable in the equation that was not fixed. At that moment, I had an epiphany. If I send my tea to other places, they will have a hard time tasting this tea exactly as I do if their water is radically different from the water that I used to taste tea. This hypothesis has proven true over the years. In order to fully experience the joys of well crafted, whole leaf teas, I highly recommend water filtration systems for most tea establishments.

In areas where the drinking water on tap taste much like bottled water, you may consider installing a very basic filter, such as those by Everpure. The in line filters can be installed in the pipes under sinks to provide tasty tap water free of dirt, other particles, and harmful cysts. They also reduce lead and chlorine taste and odor. For small tea establishments that like their current tap water, but would like to make sure it is enhancing their tea preparation, this is the place to start. Please visit www.everpure.com for more information on local dealers and the many models available.

Stronger action will be needed if the water tastes strange or you notice mineral deposits forming in your sink. If you smell rotten eggs, taste heavy metals, or see discoloration in the water, start checking out models today. The money you invest in filtration will be returned to you ten fold as you and your customers savor the depth and complexity that you begin to experience from your teas. For situations that are beyond simple remedies, consider contacting Cirqua for a customized solution that will make your tea taste exactly as it was intended to taste. You can request a water test kit for a detailed analysis of your water at www.cirqua.com or by calling 1-800-350-9283.

There are many reliable filters available on the market, but these are the ones that I have used and feel work best with the teas that I help select from the growers. While water ideal for tea is rare in its natural occurrence, through these innovative companies filtration products you can create ideal water wherever you serve tea.