Ever notice a difference in your tea even if you make it the same way every day? The truth is that, while drinking and making tea can be a consistent daily ritual, each cup can taste different depending on what type of water you use.
Brewing can be more of a science than an art when you become selective of your water quality to enhance the taste — the main choices include tap, filtered, and bottled water and each has benefits and drawbacks to consider.
Which one should you choose? It’s case-by-case basis.
If you’re looking for the easiest and most economical method to make your tea, tap water is the way to go. Although the quality of it varies across different areas, rest assured that modernized countries have water that is safe to drink and that is stringently tested.
With that said, however, it can have impurities that can negatively affect your tea experience.
For example, impurities can come from natural minerals in the ground and chemical compounds used to treat the water. Some areas have a pure and neutral-tasting tap water, but make sure to taste it before using it — if the water from your tap doesn’t taste pleasant, your tea probably won’t taste pleasant either.
If that’s the case, consider a different approach.
Filtered water is another economical way to make a cup of tea — household water filters like Brita filters are relatively cheap and low maintenance. Most of these filters use activated carbon, which traps common impurities within its porous structure. Eventually, these filters need to be replaced once they get clogged and can’t trap impurities.
(Keep in mind, however, that these filters can’t eliminate impurities such as lime scale, heavy metals, and chlorine.)
Try comparing the taste of your tap water versus a filter: if your water still doesn’t taste great after filtering it, look for another source.
There are many advantages to using bottled water for brewing tea. First, it’s consistent. Second, there are plenty to choose from, which gives you more control over where the water comes from, what kind of qualities it has, mineral content, pH levels, etc. (Avoid distilled water, however, because it might taste flat since it’s devoid of minerals.)
The downside is that bottled water can be quite costly, especially if you drink a lot of tea.
Experiment With Your Water
Often, people spend a lot of time and energy finding high quality teas, but overlook the quality of the water they’re using.
In most cases, filtered water works well because it maintains some of the mineral content while removing undesirable elements in the water. Meanwhile, bottled water — while costlier — gives you more precision in terms of mineral content and pH level.
Finally, try to avoid using unfiltered tap water if you can unless (1) there’s no other option or (2) you’re confident the flavor is reliably pure and neutral.
Once you start experimenting with different types of water, you might find a brand new way to unleash the best possible flavors in your tea.