The Rite of Spring Water: How does water quality affect the tea?

Water is sometimes referred to as the “mother of tea” in traditional texts on tea. Without it, there would simply be no way to drink tea! Though somewhat neglected, the type of water we use to brew our tea can have an effect on our brews as well.
It is common for tourists to describe tea brewed in tea farms as having a sweeter flavor. This is usually attributed to the water in these areas; it is often said that the best water for tea is the water from where the tea comes from. For example, water from the Wuyi Mountains is said to best complement Wuyi teas like Crimson Roast or Evening Spring.
While drinking tea made from the water which had nourished the leaves is a special and poetic experience, the basic idea behind the improved taste can be traced back to the minerals in the water. These minerals affect the water’s taste and texture, and the mountain-spring water found in tea-growing areas will certainly contain the minerals needed to elevate the taste of the tea.
In the Philippines, the “best” option is mineral-rich natural spring water, though this is often hard to find. More commonly, water tends to be distilled or filtered. We do not recommend brewing tea with distilled water, as the distillation process removes all of the minerals and subtle flavors which are present in the water. On the other hand, while filtered water does not have the same level of minerality as spring water, it retains enough of these minerals to brew fulfilling, quality tea. As such, we recommend using filtered water for brewing tea when possible.
Lastly, another element of water is its pH level. Teas are best brewed in neutral to slightly acidic water, so the optimum pH level for tea is around 6 or 7. This means that alkaline water would not be best suited to brewing tea; instead, simply neutral water will work well with tea.

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