Have you ever thought about the contents of the water that we usually drink?
In fact, there is compatibility between tea and water, and tea would taste significantly different according to the water to use.
In this article, we are going to introduce soft water and hard water that considerably affect the taste of tea.
Difference between soft water and hard water?
Water is mainly categorized in two types: soft water and hard water.
The scale that measures the amount of dissolved calcium and magnesium in water is called hardness.
The water whose hardness is lower than 120mg/l is soft water, higher than 120mg/l is hard water.
Water in Japan is mostly soft water.
The water we Japanese are used to is soft water.
Tap water is also soft water, and bottled mineral water sold in stores is mostly soft water as well.
Hard water in Japan is only available in some areas such as Nishinomiya, Kobe.
Compared to hard water, soft water contains less minerals like magnesium and calcium. However, those who are weak/fragile such as seniors and babies can drink soft water since the pressure that gives on your stomach is mild.
Besides, soft water has great characteristics: it allows laundry detergent and shampoo to lather well, doesn’t create soap scum easily, and is gentle on your hair and skin. Some people even bother to use soft water to do dishes in those countries whose tap water is hard water.
Water in Europe and the US is hard water.
Some people may get their hair dry and have a stomachache when visiting Europe and/or the US, that’s because of the calcium and magnesium contained in hard water.
But hard water does have benefits: It removes the unpleasant smell of cooking ingredients and makes scum come out easily, and the rich calcium and magnesium in hard water can prevent arteriosclerosis.
Suitable water to brew tea?
Soft water tastes light and smooth, whereas, hard water tastes heavy and slightly bitter.
Those who are used to soft water may feel odd when drinking hard water.
The suitable water to brew tea is soft water.
Water with high water hardness can hardly extract the tea ingredients and that would ruin the perfect balance of umami, bitterness and sweetness of tea.
Soft water, on the other hand, can extract the tea ingredients well without ruining the tea flavor itself.
Compared to teas brewed with soft water, teas with hard water tend to look cloudy because the minerals in the hard water get combined with thannine contained in the tea leaves.