Best water for preparing tea
The quality of brewed tea (and coffee) is strongly influenced by the quality of the water used to make it. Hard waters, high in calcium and magnesium carbonates can cause the formation of a surface scum. Softened water can over extract the tea and give it a salty flavour. The ideal water has a low mineral content, and a pH close to neutral, so that the final brew will have moderately acid pH, just right to support and balance the other flavours.
Spring waters that are low in minerals are the best for making tea. Look for a TDS (total dissolved solids) in the range of 100 – 200 mg/L. Also look for a neutral pH (6-8), and preferably on the slightly alkaline side (7.5-8).
If you are using tap water that is chlorinated and/or fluoridated, then it may need to be filtered. However, water filtered using reverse osmosis is not ideal because all the minerals have been removed as well, resulting in a water which is too flat for tea making. Never use distilled water for the same reason.
TIP: Never pour boiling water over your tea leaves. Always let the water come off the boil for a couple of minutes before you pour it, otherwise the tea will taste astringent.
Many New Zealand spring waters are ideal for tea making because they are low in calcium and magnesium, but generally have enough silica to provide a softness which balances out the slight acidity of the tea. New Zealand waters we recommend include Antipodes and Otakiri.