A Proper Brew - How Hard Can That Be?

Posted in Hard Water, Making A Proper Brew.

The same tea brewed in hard and soft water - look at the difference!

You'd be surprised. Until relatively recently, if you lived in a hard water area you'd be staring at scum floating in your brew every time you took a sip. Our Yorkshire Tea for Hard Water helps reduce that effect, ensuring the whole of the UK can enjoy a proper brew. But just how do we do it and why is it something that literally divides the country?

Let’s start with water. The East of the country is mainly hard water, especially the southern end, and the West soft water. Hard water is pumped from bore holes and has filtered through rocks, like limestone, picking up calcium and minerals on the way. So the water is ‘denser’ and creates more residues caused by polyphenols in tea reacting with calcium. Soft water is basically rainwater that collects in reservoirs and has less than 60mg of calcium per litre. It’s this density of water that has a significant affect on the taste and appearance of tea.

So how do we blend Yorkshire Tea for hard water areas? Over to Suzy, one of our team of expert tea buyers: “Before we can blend it, we taste every single tea we buy, not once but twice. We taste up to a thousand different teas a day, once made with hard water and once with soft water to decide which teas will provide the perfect combination of flavor and appearance for each water type. Hard water tends to make tea darker and thicker, whereas soft water makes a lighter brisker tea – so you can not only taste but also see the difference.”

In Harrogate, where Yorkshire Tea is tasted and blended, it’s a soft water area. Therefore, we have tanks of the hardest water in North Yorkshire delivered to us by Yorkshire Water especially for tasting. We have ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ instead of ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ taps in our tea tasting room and we religiously test the hardness of each batch of water delivered.

Suzy adds: “The interesting thing about hard water is that it reveals a lot about tea as it brings out any taints, flavours and characteristics that soft water might mask.”

So now you know why wherever you are in the country, you can enjoy a proper brew.


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