15 May 2010

Lucky to have Good Tap Water

Of the multitude of bottled waters, water filtration systems, charcoal/river rock additives etc, which ones really help tea bring out its flavor?  This, along with water temperature and brewing times, is one of the major discussion topics for tea lovers.

I’ve used several different sources of water for tea and I’ve tried adding in river rocks and bamboo (both made the water softer but also mutes the taste of the teas ever so slightly).  Well water and spring water are both great, but if left in a warm and sunny place in a transparent bottle, both had some sort of algae growth that changed the taste.  Leaving a big bottle of the water in a cool and dark place prevented nasty effects, but the water went flat if left for more than a week.

Of the many different bottled waters, I like the ones that have mineral content.  I try to avoid using too much bottled water because of the waste produced and the fact that up here, we have excellent sources for our tap water.  However, Evian, Volvic, Fiji and one of the NumerO waters work nicely.

So why isn’t there more talk about using the tap water of cities with good sources of water?  Ours comes from rain and the mountains.  I think the problem with tap is not the water itself, but the pipes they travel through. Seattle is not a particularly young city (unless you compare us to what is now Cairo, in which case we’re a baby), and many of the houses here still have old pipes (galvanized steel, prone to rust).  I was having tea with a friend that lives in Redmond, a younger, more recently-developed city that is best known as the home of Microsoft, and his tap water tasted fine, better than my filtered tap water.

I wonder why they haven’t started bottling and selling a filtered version of our tap water like so many other cities have?


  1. Your title is what I constantly think about :D That's indeed a big problem in our society! My town has award winning water source and the best tap water, yet there are so many offices buying commercial water tanks. Tap water is not even in their consideration. One public building I know has the poorest fountain system which basically contaminates the tap water instead of filtering it.

  2. I totally hear ya! I was chided for using bottled water at a tea demo last year; one participant said that the bottles never really biodegrade. I looked it up and sure enough, she was right. After much secret testing, I've found that no one can really tell the difference between the commercial water tank and my brita filtered tap water.

    A friend replaced a water main in her house a few years ago and when we looked at the steel piping, it was so corroded that it's no wonder why tap water can taste bad. I think that most of the time, people just don't realize that the water and the piping are two separate things.

    Thanks for drinking tap!