What kind of Water is suitable for tea?
What kind of water is best for brewing delicious tea?
(A) Water hardness - Is the water suitable for black tea soft or hard?
Soft water is generally considered to be the best water for black tea in order to fully bring out the original flavor and aroma of black tea.
Soft water is generally water with a hardness of 100 or less.
Water hardness refers to the concentration of minerals contained in water. The total content of calcium salts and magnesium salts is converted to the amount of calcium carbonate (CaCO3), mg/L ( = 0.001 kg/m3 ) in numerical units.
* Calculated by "calcium amount (mg/L) x 2.5 + magnesium amount (mg/L) x 4.1".
According to World Health Organization (WHO) standards,
● Soft water: 0 - less than 60 ● Medium soft water: 60 - less than 120 ● Hard water: 120 - less than 180 ● Very hard water: 180 or more
However, it seems that most of the water in Japan is soft water and that in Europe is hard water.
In 1985, Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (currently the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare)'s "Delicious Water Research Group" proposed an indicator in 1985. In terms of deliciousness, the waterworks bureau in Japan set a target hardness value of 10 to 100mg/L. The hardness of tap water in Japan is 50 to 60 mg/L on average, although there are regional differences.
Water hardness in Tokyo averages 60mg/L (40.5-90mg/L)
The average water hardness in Osaka is 45mg/L.
If you would like to know more about the water quality and hardness in your area in JAPAN, please contact your local water supply office and they will be able to tell you.
For more information on Water in Tokyo, please refer to the website of the Bureau of Waterworks below.
<World Water Hardness>
Next, looking at the hardness of water around the world,
○London (England): 220mg/L
○Edinburgh (Scotland): 35mg/L
○ Paris (France): 280mg/L
○ Milan (Italy): 270mg/L
○Munich (Germany): 300mg/L
○New Delhi (India): 140mg/L
And Europe has many areas with hard water.
<Hardness of mineral water>
Then, what about the hardness of commercially available mineral water?
○Volvic (France): 60mg/L (soft water)
○Evian (France): 304mg/L (extremely hard water)
○ Vittel (France): 307mg/L (extremely hard water)
○Contrex (France): 1551mg/L (extremely hard water)
And, except for Volvic, the water is very hard compared to the water in Japan.
<Difference in taste due to water hardness>
Depending on the hardness of the water, the taste of the water will change.
Soft water has little mineral content, so it has a mild taste, while hard water has a lot of mineral content, so it has a strong taste and a rich taste.
In addition, the difference in hardness affects the flavor of dishes and beverages that use the water due to the action of the calcium and magnesium contained in the water.
In cooking, using hard water makes it difficult for the water to soak into the ingredients, making it difficult for the umami components to come out.
In addition, when simmered in hard water, the odor of the meat is removed and the lye, which is the source of the odor, is released well, so it seems to be suitable for stewed dishes such as curry and beef stew.
It is said that when pasta is boiled in hard water, it retains its firmness and retains the flavor of the pasta.
Conversely, in Japanese cuisine, soft water is said to bring out the flavor of glutamic acid, such as kombu dashi, and to cook fluffy rice.
<Water hardness suitable for black tea>
How does the difference in water hardness affect black tea?
When hard water is used for black tea, calcium and magnesium in the water react with tannin, which is one of the elements of tea color and flavor. not.
In contrast, when soft water is used for black tea, the original color, aroma, and taste of black tea are brought out.
Therefore, soft water is basically good for brewing delicious black tea.
However, if the hardness of soft water is too low (below 30mg/L), too much bitterness will be produced.
On the other hand, depending on the type of tea and your taste, it may be better to use hard water.
As mentioned above, calcium and magnesium in hard water suppresses the extraction of tannins (astringent components) in black tea, so if you don't like astringent black tea, or if you feel that black tea is too astringent, use moderately hard water (120 - 180). If you use less than), you can brew tea with a mellow taste.
For example, you can use soft water to bring out the delicate flavor of Darjeeling, and hard water to reduce the astringency of powerful Assam black tea.
If you drink black tea sold in England, the home of black tea, in Japan, many people may feel that the taste is too strong. It is because it is blended as much as possible.
As mentioned above, the color, aroma and taste of black tea change depending on the quality and hardness of the water used.
How about finding the best water for your favorite tea, depending on the type of tea you want to brew and your taste?