A HUGE HUGE HUGE thank you to sjt from https://therhymingleaf.info/ and Sara from https://italianteasociety.com/ for smuggling this water to me. Sara stopped by Puerh Brooklyn last Sunday to give me two 1.5L bottles of this water – a common water found in Italy. Water is heavy, so this is no small favor! Sjt has been working on replicating this water from scratch on his blog, which you should definitely check out. Amazing detailed explorations and experiments.
What’s interesting about this water is that it’s incredibly low TDS, at 22, but has been reported by sjt to have amazing aroma, body and texture. How could this be? I was very excited to try it, and it really delivered.
7.2g 110 ml glazed pot
Conductivity: 37 uS/cm
Silica: 6 (measured)
Arrives surprisingly deep and savory. Already really detailed in the middle and back of the mouth with big aftertastes and a sort of effervescence of flavors on the tongue. Whoa!
The taste is not too strong at all but is very present. It doesn’t attack the front of the mouth but instead hits the whole palate at a moderate pace, about 2-3 seconds after the sip arrives. I can already tell there is a balance here. It seems so textured and rich for a water this light. Compared to Poland spring origin which is more forward and front of mouth (still with body).
Steep 2: vivid, oily, citrus oils, wood oils pungency is there like bright hops (think New England IPA) what’s funny is I’ve had and made many waters that have this sort of arrival, but end up tasting muddy and flat – this holds up that structure without weighing itself down. But it’s not being too nice! The strength of a water like Truth Serum from way back in the early experimental days, so high in sulfate – there must be a good amount of sulfate in here doing its job to deliver plenty of strength and potency. Empty cup aroma is so nice, honey and flowers.
Steep 3- Really enjoyable and refreshing, full. You can taste the medium -endness of this tea, strengths and limitations. There’s a slight leafiness that brings it down to its level of $68/200g.
Steep 4- You can start tasting how lean this water is, as I’ve reboiled it a few times the texture starts to decrease a little bit. It still rings with very present flavor, very easy to drink, and the texture still holds together. I feel like I can taste layers of fine details. The huigan is ringing and buttery. Astringency is not a problem at all, less astringency than average.
Steep 5- Oily – it really highlights flavors you would usually find in a scotch, and I don’t mean smoky – I mean the alcohol-soluble fruits, peel oils, savory herbs, wood… But somehow here conveyed by water. Fresh and deep.
Steep 6- Qi is definitely there. I have a feeling that when the tea tastes good, it activates and allows the circulation of qi, as well as the focus and attention conducive to experiencing it. But anyway… The tea maintains great structure, tasting deeper into the leaf, as the high notes fade away to a fruit pectin and wood oil kind of experience. It’s sweet, not too sweet, bitter, not too bitter, has tannins, but not too much. I do have to say the arrival of flavor is much more immediate now; pretty much instantly when you take a sip there’s the citrus oils being presented. There’s a little peach juice too that comes later.
Later steeps- simply fades out elegantly. Some heavier waters make the tea go a bit off tasting in late steeps, but this water simply has nice, sweet, quiet late steeps.
From this session, I can tell – this water is definitely the type I look for, but on the lightest possible end of that. It’s amazing what it does with so few minerals and I believe everything here is in balance, with enough silica and good dissolved gases to be just as water should be. It makes me think my previous experiments are not too far off track. It’s just so pure and precise, and I love how it delivers every aspect of the tea. I’m very excited to try it with some mid-aged puers, like 2016 Treachery pt. 2, and also some dancong against nyc tap in a side by side. Thanks again to Sara and sjt!