Saturday, May 9, 2009

Like Water for Tea: Japanese Charcoal

I'm thinking about the water I use for my tea.

Lately, I've become annoyed by the fact that the water that comes from my Brita filter tastes nasty, and the off-taste is affecting my tea. I use a new, clean filter, but it still leaves a metallic flavor that I dislike.

SO, I am thinking to start purchasing Japanese bamboo charcoal, which can be placed into the water to naturally and organically filter it. A $2.50 piece is supposedly able to filter the water for 2.5 months, which seems like quite a bargain. And perhaps if I keep the water in a stoneware bowl, it won't take on any weirdness from being in the plastic for too long.

I don't want to be crazy and overly fastidious, but I'm taking seriously MarshalN's advice about improving the water as a pretty economical way of improving the tea.

Does anyone else out there have experience with Japanese bamboo charcoal? Is it really a good option, or is it just one of those fussy things fussy people do to make themselves think they're doing something good?


Anonymous said...

I have just tasted my first few cups of tea brewed with bamboo charcoaled water. I haven't filtered the water before and my tap water was rather smelly. I started noticing it when I got more sensitive to how the teas taste. I only left the charcoal in for about 2 hours because I was eager to try the tea with the water. It's made a huge difference, very noticeable. I don't know how it compares to Brita water but I'd recommend going with bamboo charcoal. You can also put it out in the sunlight for a day and recharge it. That Brita consumeristic junk won't let you recharge their filters; they want to sell you more. The first few cups I thought were terrible. They seemed muted and I worried I was doing a very bad thing and had wasted money on the charcoal. But then I tried a couple cups of tea I like better and after I settled down (I'd been out in town today) I started to notice what was different. The bamboo charcoal is said to be able to relax your mood and that's exactly what's happened to me. The flavor of the tea itself is calmer. That's what worried me but I can see now I'd rather have calm and sensible than wild with outrageous smells. The water is markedly sweeter and seems a little softer. I think I just had some shock and anxiety about it at first but after a few cups of different kinds of tea I've decided I did a very good thing by buying the charcoal. I'll use it from now on at all times possible. --Jason