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Charcoal does not always promise a nice cup of tea

[2013.09.07] Posted By

charcoal treated water for tea
Do you believe that charcoal treated water sometimes spoil the taste of tea?Some people place a piece of charcoal in water, hoping that it improves the taste of water. Charcoal has two functions when it is placed in water.

  1. Absorbs organic substance such as chlorine.
  2. Releases minerals

Reduces Chlorine Content

This is the most well-known function of charcoal. The charcoal is able to traps the organic substance such as chlorine and pesticide. In fact, the activated carbon filter is made of the ground charcoal powder.
The ability to remove organic substance does not last forever. Once the surface of charcoal is saturated, it no longer performs. If you bake it one more time, the charcoal will be reactivated.

Improves the after taste

As charcoal is made of wood, it contains various types of mineral, as much as the raw wood. The firing process to produce charcoal does not evaporate or reduce minerals. As such, charcoal does affect the taste of water. However, it does not mean charcoal always improve the after taste. Whether or not it improves the taste depends on the tree used for making charcoal. In fact, the quality of charcoal has nothing to do with the effect to the taste of tea. The higher quality charcoal does not mean that it gives stronger after taste of water. The quality of charcoal is defined by the way how it is produced. For example, Bincho-tan (备长炭)is a very high quality charcoal in Japan but it does not mean that all Bincho-tan gives a very deep after taste when it is used for water. The effect of charcoal to the taste of water is only depending on the quality of tree used. The growing environment, age of tree, type of tree and the part of tree is playing a very important role in determining the quality of charcoal.

There are two things that you need to pay attention when using charcoal for treating water

1. The water taste becomes flat and dry if charcoal contains a lot of zinc or copper.

2. Some charcoal-treated water cannot get along with various tea equipment

It is because the mineral existed in charcoal has conflict with the mineral that exists in teapot. For example, the minerals existed in charcoal is reduction fired during the production of charcoal. Because of this fact, charcoal treated water does not get along with the oxidation fired clay teapot.

If you wish to use charcoal to treat water, it is advisable to use either glass or porcelain teapot for brewing tea.

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