Sunday, September 24, 2006

Water test

Water test - Once again the topic of water. I selected 10 types of water to test which water is suitable for tea brewing.

Same amount of water was used and heated with microwave, some reached boiling sooner than others, mineral content plays the key role in this effect. Same amount of tea leaves was added quickly, so they were all infused at the same temperature relatively speaking. Tea leaves used is Jasmine Bi Luo Chun Green Tea .

I did not taste the tea, they were left out in the air over night, I just don't feel like tasting them. This might be the most important step left out of the test. Oh well...

Deposits are visible along the water line as a ring of residues after chemical reactions. Rating: 1 = most deposits, 10 = least deposits

Crystal Geyser - natural alpine spring water
Source: California Sierra Nevada Mountain
Water taste: not sweet, heavy, hint of mineral taste, alkaline
Result: sign of reaction, slight deposit on side of cup
Rating: 5

Aquafina - purified drinking water
Hydro-7 purification, reverse Osmosis
Water taste: crisp texture, lack of flavor
Result: no deposit, as pure as it can get
Rating: 10

Fuji - natural artesian water from islands of Fiji
Silica 85 mg/litter
Calcium 17 mg/litter
Magnesium 13 mg/litter
PH 7.5
Bicarbonates 140 mg/litter
Total Dissolved Solids 210 mg/litter
This claim sounds like a hype to me.
Water taste: too smooth, mineral taste, alkaline
Result: a lot of deposit, reached boiling first among all samples, darker color tea soup
Rating: 3

Refresh - spring water, safeway brand
Source: Baxter natural springs, California
Water taste: smooth, mineral, heavy in iron taste, slightly alkaline, hint of bitterness, slight sourness after taste
Result: medium amount of deposit
Rating: 6

Trader Joe's natural mountain spring water
Source: Olancha, California
Water taste: smooth, no significant taste
Result: very little deposit
Rating: 4

Arrowhead - mountain spring water
Source: natural mountain sources in the US and Canada, unspecified location
Water taste: between smooth and crisp, alkaline, sour tone
Result: a lot of deposits, darker tea soup
Rating: 2

Glaceau smart water - vapor distilled water + electrolytes (calcium chloride, magnesium chloride and potassium bicarbonate) Pure as the first drop of rain? Rain = pure???? Boy, marketing = you can say what ever you want???
Water taste: crisp, clean tongue feeling, no significant taste
Result: very little deposit, clean tea soup
Rating: 8

Trader Joe's Pure New Zealand artesian water
Source: an ancient aquifer nearly 300 feet beneath the surface of the earth, rich in minerals, added nothing and taken nothing away.
Water taste: smooth, hint of sweetness, clean taste, sweet after taste as well
Result: very little deposit, clean tea soup
Rating: 9

Glacier vending machine reverse osmosis purified water 6 filtering steps
Water taste: clean refreshing, between smooth and crisp, hint of sweetness
Result: very little deposit
Rating: 7

Lovely Southern California tap water
Water taste: crisp, chlorine, lime, chemical *YUCK*
Result: the most deposits, darkest tea soup, signs of lotsa reaction of chemical in water and tea
Rating: 1

I find the best tasting water are Trader Joe's New Zealand artesian and Glacier vending machine water, also most suitable for tea brewing. New Zealand water is the winner in taste and being all natural, however expensive. Glacier is still my #1 choice for taste, availability and economical reason. Aquafina is the purest out of all, but lack of taste. I'd avoid Fiji, arrowhead and of course tap water for both drinking and making tea. The rest can be ignored.

Water tested are only a few that I can get out of one trip to 2 stores. Anything else that are left out, I'd encourage you to do the same test and share your results.


~ Phyll said...

Excellent experiment! I myself rely mostly on Glacier vending machine water. For just $0.25 gallon, it delivers good tasting water for my teas. When I feel like splurging on water, I usually get NZ artesian from Trader Joe's or Crystal Geyser. Actually, imo Crystal Geyser is not bad (to each his/her own :).

Imen said...

right on!

Stephane said...

Next time you'll compare the winning water boiled in the tetsubin and in your usual kettle!

Imen said...


I take you up on that!

Elton said...

Nice to see you prefer NZ water...I grew up on it being born there...we have water straight off the roof of our house, nothing added..maybe bird droppings etc but it is so sweet and i look forward to drinking it everytime i go home. Pity we cant get it here in the UK! Great experiment.

Imen said...


I hope Trader joe's will make its way to UK, so everyone can have great tasting water.

When I was a few years old, we had well water near by. It tasted sweet and cool in the summer, sweet and warm in the winter. It was awesome. I heard it's filled with dirt and condos are built on top of it now. What a shame!

MarshalN said...

If you didn't taste it, how did you rate them???

Just because a tea looks bad doesn't mean it taste bad. We all know the colour of the tea doesn't actually tell you much about how it goes down.

Imen said...


Rating: 1 = most deposits, 10 = least deposits

not by taste of tea

preference is by taste of water and amount of deposits

Anonymous said...

Hi, Found your blog while searching for info on bottled water. I tried the Trader Joe's NZ water and enjoyed it for drinking, but wanted to know what professional reports say about it's quality. Anyway, laughed when I read your commentary on marketing can say anything. The other night I laughed out loud in the grocery store when I read a claim on one bottled water company that said it proud bold letters "no calories!". Wow, what an amazing marketing claim for water! Cheers, and happy tea drinking. A random reader - Elizabeth

Imen said...

Hi Elizabeth,

No Calories in water?! sheesh... can they come with something more innovative?!

Thanks for sharing and stopping by!

gatogreensleeves said...

How did you measure deposits?

Imen said...


raaz said...

I appreciate the ideas of Water Testing this is very nice article and have great information.