Why do you drink tea? Is it for health benefits, or because it tastes good?
I'm sure most people will be bewildered with this question, of course they will answer, "both!"
Here are the findings:
1. If you use tap water to steep green tea, you will get a delicious tasting tea, but few antioxidants.
2. If you use bottled water to steep tea, you'll get twice the antioxidants. However, it will leave a bitter taste in your mouth.
This is because the everyday minerals found in tap water such as iron, calcium, magnesium, sodium and copper, result in lower levels of EGCG (the health-inducing antioxidant found in all teas) in green tea.
While this logic does make some sense, lowering the levels of these minerals would very likely aid EGCG extraction, I do find some problems with the study.
So can we just buy bottled water? Here are some thoughts:
1. Not all bottled waters are created equal.
It's a fact that many bottled waters in the market are just tap water, so it won't really be a solution.
2. It indirectly implies that the only way to get lower levels of these minerals is by buying bottled water.
It can be expensive, but a way to have mineral water at less cost is to use a water filter (either a filtered pitcher or a filter hooked directly up to your faucet) that can produce the same effect. At the same time, you are not wasting nearly as much money or destroying the environment with empty bottles.
3. Enjoy the flavour
Finally, I am a firm believer that if you enjoy the flavour, then you’ll end up drinking more, which would make up for the antioxidant disparity.
If it is unenjoyable, it’ll be like that New Years Resolution you only keep for a week. Long term wise, I favour flavour.
One thing they did get right, though: don’t ever use deionised (distilled) water to make tea. It’s useful for some applications but gross for tea.
Personally, I steep my tea in filtered tap water, which is the best of both worlds!
For a more in-depth guide about the role of water on tea, read our article "Improving the Taste of Tea: The Role Water Quality in Brewing Perfect Tea" here.