If you really love your tea business I’m sure that you are continually looking at the different ways that you can offer your customers a healthier, better tasting cup of tea. In previous articles I’ve explored the various aspects of water purity and why it’s so important for a great cup of tea.
In this article we will look at the different treatment methods available. First, a little “water 101”.
There is a huge misunderstanding about water purity and the different water treatment methods. Understanding water is simple; water is merely water. The only difference between different types of water is the contaminants in the water. So in other words, the very salty water in the oceans is the same water as the water coming from your tap, with one small, yet significant difference; the contaminants in the water are very different. Simple and straightforward, right?
While understanding water is simple, the realities of water treatment are anything but simple. This is for three main reasons. First, there can be thousands of different contaminants in water. Second, it’s simply not possible to identify all of the contaminants in water at any given time. Third, the contaminants in water are different everywhere you go, and even in the same place the contaminants in water can change from day to day.
So let’s look at three different types of treatment methods.
FIRST, WATER SOFTENERS. Water softeners do not purify the water, but rather they simply replace calcium and magnesium with sodium. Softened water is used to prevent scale build-up on pipes and equipment, but it should not be consumed. Water softeners do nothing to remove chemicals and other contaminants from water, and they do not improve the healthfulness or flavor of water.
SECOND, FILTERS. There are many different types of filters, such as carbon filters or reverse osmosis. This is the most common water treatment method. In this process, water is forced through a filter and hopefully the water passes through and some contaminants are removed. Filters can be effective at removing certain contaminants, especially when new. The problems of all filters are threefold; first they typically do not remove the full range of contaminants, the quality of water that they produce declines with time, and third, they have a problem with bacterial contamination. Filters can temporarily improve the flavor and health qualities of water but they do not offer purity on a consistent basis.
THIRD, STEAM-DISTILLATION. Steam-distillation is a process that duplicates nature’s hydrologic cycle of evaporation, condensation and precipitation (see image). Steam-distillation is the only water treatment method that produces pure water on a consistent basis from any water source, and just like rainwater, steam-distilled water is produced fresh. It’s important to use steam-distilled water within a few days of when it’s made so it retains it’s freshness and great taste (bottled steam-distilled water is not fresh).
Of course this is a very short explanation of a very important issue. I encourage you to do your research on water quality, and to do your own taste-tests of the different water treatment methods. I think that you will be surprised at how much of a difference pure, fresh water makes on the taste of your tea.
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