Xiao Zhang’s Research on pH Balance in Water and How it Affects Tea Brewing
So as you may note, a cup of tea is 99% water, so brewing a great cup of tea is going to be greatly affected by the water you use.
To earn her “Advanced Tea Art Expert” Certification from the Chinese Government, Xiao Zhang was required to write an original paper. She came up with a great topic that allowed hands on experimentation with practical results: testing the affect of pH Balance Levels in different types of commercially available water in Beijing and how each would affect a tea brew.
First off, Xiao Zhang sought out three different types of water: tap water, filtered water, and spring water. Then she called the telephone operator to find out where to buy a pH balance measure and dragged her son across town to purchase it.
Then at home she measured the pH levels in each water type and brewed the same amount of water at the same temperature with three different types of tea from our tea collection: Tieguanyin Oolong, Qimen Black, and our Ancient Tree Raw Pu’er.
Xiao Zhang discovered:
Beijing Tap Water
pH levels between 6-7 (such as in Beijing tap water) resulted in a dull colored brew, and a taste that was too astringent. She then took this a step further and experimented with comparing Beijing tap water that had been left out for 12 hours compared to water straight from the tap and discovered the one left out for 12 hours resulted in a more fragrant and flavorful tea taste.
She chose two different brands Nong Fu and Bing Lu with pH levels 6 and 8 respectively. Nong Fu ended up with a more fragrant, flavorful taste and a brighter looking brew than Bing Lu.
Natural Spring Water
Xiao Zhang chose two different spring water brands: Tang Shan Hu and Kun Lun Shui Shan with pH levels 8 and 7 respectively. She discovered that the Kun Lun Shui Shan brews had overall better brews than the Tang Shan Hu but both had markedly better flavor, look, fragrance, and mouth feel than all of the other water experiments.
The conclusion was that pH levels was not the most important factor in affecting tea brewing results—but the way water was or was not treated and processed had the biggest impact on how well the tea brew turned out.
We at Tranquil Tuesdays were so impressed with Xiao Zhang came up with such a great topic to investigate and were not at all surprised her original topic and well executed study earned her the official “Advanced Tea Art Expert” certification from the Chinese Government. Once again, Congratulations Xiao Zhang
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