Do you drink tea for the health benefits, or because it tastes good?
I think most tea drinkers would look at you bewildered before muttering, “both!”
However, according to a new study released by Cornell University, you can’t have it both ways.
According to their research, if you steep yourself some green tea in water from the tap you’ll get a pleasant tasting cup of tea, but few antioxidants. If you steep up a cup using bottled water, however, you’ll get double the antioxidants, but it’ll leave a bitter taste in your mouth. It is due to everyday minerals found in tap water, such as iron, calcium, magnesium, sodium and copper, that 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.
First and foremost, not all bottled waters are created equal. In fact, many bottled waters out on the market are just tap water, which leaves the findings at a moot point.
Secondly, it indirectly implies that the only way to get lower levels of these minerals is by buying bottled water. Using a water filter (either a filtered pitcher or a filter hooked directly up to your faucet) can produce similar effects, and you are not wasting nearly as much money or destroying the environment with empty bottles.
Finally, I am a firm believer that if you enjoy the flavor, 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 favor flavor.
One thing they did get right, though: don’t ever use deionized (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!