Water

Maybe you asked yourself already, why I suddenly start making posts about water filters. Let me tell you.

Possibly everyone of us tea lovers has had this problem: Purchased a tea that tasted amazing at a friend's, in the shop or at the plantation, but at home it just doesn't work. Tried a lot of brewing techniques, different temperature and steeping times - it just doesn't work. It smells great though. And most of us came up with the answer: it's the water. Most of us live  in big cities, some, like me, in the Northern German plains, where the tab water is perfectly clean, but has been sitting deep underground for the last more than 10.000 years. That means, it's far from a perfectly fresh mountain spring water, it's hard and tastes stale.

Just as me, I guess most of us have therefore tried some different bottled waters. There is some actually quite decent ones, especially from middle- and southern European mountain wells, where the water is filtered through and enrichened with minerals from volcanic soil. But even here, every soil is different, every tea reacts differently on such on the mineral side rather heavy waters. Most people find their water of choice at some point, but especially those into very light, fine and floral tastes will not be happy with a widely available water. So what to do if that one shop nearby that sold that one particularly good water doesn't stock it any more? Also: is it really worth all the carrying? And all the money? Good water can, calculated per liter, be easily more expensive than the tea leaves, if a good tea is brewed several times.

So while some people find rather impractical, like (what many Chinese do) bringing big barrels of water with them every time they drive to a mountain with a good well, or expensive, like a reverse osmosis filtration system, which still only works well, if the right amount of the right minerals is added to the water after filtration, many people drink only their finest teas with good bottled water and for the rest use a simple tabletop water filtration jar. But what do these jars actually filter? It's mostly active coal filters, so they only make the water softer. Plus, they need a new soft-plastic filter cartridge once every month, which does not work well yet the first few days and not too well any more the last few days. I have one of these too, gave up on it at some point. Too much struggle for too little impact - and it's not too cheap neither if you calculate the monthly cartridge change.

Last year, on the hunt for the best way of getting good, clean and soft tea water for my newly founded shop in water, a city with even harder water than the area near Hamburg, where I still live, I got introduced to a group of people in Hamburg, who had a pretty awesome new product coming up: a water filter, coming as a version for countertop use attached to the tab or built in under the sink, that is made of a hard block of rolled up finest coconut fiber mesh, with washed-in active coal. While the coal does what we already know from these jar-filters as well as some other countertop models, the coconut fiber core does actually clean 95% of all finest particles from the water, including pesticides, heavy metals, medical residues and so on. So you could say what comes out is as clear and undrinkable as destilled water or what comes out of a reverse osmosis filter without artificial addition of minerals. But here comes the catch: the coconut fiber carries such large amount of minerals itself, that it actually remineralizes the water automatically. Without electricity or any fancy mechanical components, just fueled by water pipe pressure.

I tried my first pre-series model of the filter for more than 7 months now, carried it around with me pretty much on every journey I went on, tried it on a lot of different waters, destroyed the first cartridge with hot water (lesson learnt: hot water washes out the active coal, makes sense), and what I realized was, that wherever I went, I had amazing tea water, straight from the tab, no matter the water quality of the place.

But the best thing about it is the price: with 138 € plus shipping including one filter cartridge and the next cartridge after half a year or 10.000 liters being at only 38 €, calculated on long-term use it is actually the cheapest scientifically proven working water filtration system on the German market. And this goes to people who do not use customers' money for advertisement or paying back investors. It's a self- and crowdfunded project and an Italy-based company produces the filters, so it is fully made in the EU. Nice, right?

So because I realized that almost all my tea customers have the exact same water-related problem and almost everybody was interested in this system, I decided to not just use it myself, but also partner up with The Local Water and sell their systems in my shop. 

Check them out on www.thelocalwater.com/riversandclouds and hit me up if you have any questions - or drop by in Lübeck and taste the difference!

By the way, I added their "Victoria"-vitaliser to the tab of mine, which breaks open the last remaining molecules of chalk (only long molecule chains are able to bind taste molecules, settle in your teaware or create a film on your tea) and adds air to the water, making it lighter and much smoother in taste. Hope it's back in stock soon, as it's another great addition.

Moritz HolstComment