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Tea & Water

Often called the “Mother of Tea”, water plays an integral role in enjoying a great cup of tea. Things like water temperature, mineral count and the vessel used to heat the water can all affect tea’s flavour.

Ideally for black teas, start with fresh water with a pH of 7. Some bottled waters are excellent.  See our list below.

Hard water often leaves a film or pale scum on top of the tea. The acid from lemon eliminates this. Milk, on the other hand, generally produces more scum (unless it’s low fat milk). It’s all about chemicals and their reactions.

Both lemon and milk severely alter the flavour of tea – sometimes for the better, sometimes not – it depends on the tea’s manufacture and terroir.

Well-oxygenated water helps make a better cup of tea. For black teas, let the water ‘roar’ and come to a full rolling boil. Let it settle just a bit and then use it immediately. Follow the infusion instructions of the specific tea you are making. Most black teas can be made with water that has cooled down from boiling point. (specifically 97 C or 206 F).

For green tea (and white), the water should reach boiling first, then be allowed to naturally cool down to about 140 – 180 F. Again, follow the instructions of the specific tea.   Any reputable purveyor will have provided you with suggested steeping times. (Suggested time only – your tastes may vary). We usually only steep green teas from 30 to 90 seconds. This helps avoid the bitterness that comes with oversteeping

For very delicate green or white teas, most tea connoisseurs pour the hot water against the tea pot rather than directly on the leaves. This is done to avoid scorching those delicate buds.

And don’t throw out the leaves after one steeping!
Many loose leaf teas provide several steepings that add to the complexity of taste of tea. Second and third steepings are often more delicious than the first.

Suggested bottled waters for tea:
( personal politics of the ethics of bottled water aside….)

Dasani, Alaskan Glacier Gold, Rocky Mountain, Bourassa Canadian, Whistler, Highland Spring, Volvic