In chemistry, solutions with a pH of less than 7 are acidic and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are alkaline. Pure water is neutral with a pH of 7. So, how does the pH of water affect the taste of tea?
Lu Yu (729-804 AD), a renowned Chinese scholar, wrote the first encyclopedia of tea entitled Ch’a Ching, long considered the ultimate reference on tea. He said the highest quality water comes from slow moving mountain springs (he specified ten different springs in China ideal for this purpose). His next choice in water quality was river water, preferably from the middle of the river; and finally, well water.
From the time a tea leaf is plucked from the plant, the processes applied to it focus on extracting moisture (water) from the leaf. During brewing, we are re-infusing the tea leaves with water that balances, rather than overwhelms, the flavor of the tea. Brew a tea one way and it might taste nice, but brew it with superior tasting water and it can overwhelm you with its complexity, aroma, and a mouth-feel that lingers for minutes after each sip.
Your source of water is critical for making a good tea great, while bad water can make even an expensive tea taste bad. Stick to buying good tea, as even the best water on the planet cannot make an inferior tea taste good.
You can taste the acidity of a drink relatively easily, as our taste buds recognize acidity as sour flavors. Although sourness can sometimes be difficult to completely separate from other flavors like bitterness, or other qualities like astringency, taste is a good indicator of the relative acidity of different foods and drinks.
Real Alkalized Water is a good source of alkaline water that features an 8.0 pH at the time it is bottled for optimal quality. It is available from Walmart at a cost of 5.5¢ / fl oz.
Another good source is Iceland Natural Spring Water, with an 8.8 pH, comes from the beautiful and pristine natural Icelandic springs near the Arctic Circle. It is filtered over decades through basalt and lava minerals, providing a fresh taste free of impurities. Bottled daily from a self-replenishing spring water source, it is good quality clean water with nothing added to it. It is available from Walmart at a cost of 5.8¢ / fl oz.
Although hard to find, another source of outstanding water is Eternal Spring Water, which is naturally alkaline with a pH range of 7.8 – 8.2. The reason the water is naturally alkaline is because its unique underground spring sources are naturally alkaline. The mineral properties of the water is not artificially manipulated since nothing is added to the water. This ensures Eternal Spring Water remains in its pure and pristine state bringing you the best naturally alkaline water there is.