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Years ago I was given a book written by Masaru Emoto, a Japanese scientist, titled The Hidden Messages in Water. He has written many other books along the same lines with the core idea that water has a molecular structure that is affected by human consciousness; or, in other words, thoughts directed toward water can change the structure of it to make it healthier. 

Some tumbled rose quartz stones, next to a glass bottle, in front of a copy of “The Hidden Messages in Water.”

What is the best water for tea?

At the time of reading the book, I certainly understood the importance of using the best water for tea from a taste point of view, but living in a polluted city didn’t present an opportunity to go spring hunting very easily.

So where does one go for the best-quality water? You would think that heading to your nearest grocer and grabbing a nice-looking bottle of spring water would do the trick…but think again!

Getting water in plastic bottles isn’t caring to Mother Earth (but that is another conversation). What I want to know, and I’m sure you do too, is: If I use bottled water, is that my best choice? Maybe I just tell the water I love it like Emoto did…

Here are some facts to consider:

Branded water is made to seem like it is higher quality and comes from a pristine stream or mountain spring. Bottled at the spring is very rare indeed, so where does the water come from?  Did you know that most bottled water comes from similar sources as your municipal water supply, meaning that there is likely nothing special about your bottled water other than its branding? Aquafina now states on their label that their water comes from public sources.

While some brands put their water through additional filtration processes, many do not. This is rather shocking as it is often the same tap water from the municipal water source. Even more shocking is that the EPA strongly regulates water quality that comes into our homes but there is no regulation for bottled water. 

Using water from plastic bottles means that you risk ingesting some toxic chemicals. Water bottles contain a sizable amount of Bisphenol A (BPA) which is a substance known as an endocrine disruptor – meaning it bears a toxic effect on a person’s ability to reproduce. Further, plastic softeners known as phthalates are also used and are toxic to the consumer. Older bottles and those exposed to heat are the worst culprits.

PET bottles, made from polyethylene terephthalate, are those lightweight but strong plastic bottles; most of which are nearly impossible to hold and not accidentally squeeze water out of the top when you grab it. Reports funded by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), which is in turn funded by oil and coal companies (plastic is made from oil, right?), say PET bottles are safe…you do the math!

Have you heard the term micro-plastic? These are tiny pieces of plastic that can be found in a variety of products including a lot of health and beauty products to give exfoliation properties. Not only can bottled water absorb some of the chemicals in the bottle, but recent studies suggest that the plastic itself can be present in the water. In fact, a World Health Organization study found that in 93% of popular bottled water brands tested, the water contained plastic fibers. That can’t be good!!

If you are trying to save the planet by refilling your plastic water bottle at one of those dispensers at your local grocery store or even at airports, this too has consequences. You might think you have cleaned the bottle but the soft plastic creates a perfect breeding ground for bacteria as well as risking additional micro-plastics and chemicals to enter the water. 

If you think all of this is a little over the top, consider this: the San Francisco Airport has now banned plastic bottled water from being sold by its retailers. Instead, the retailers have to sell water sold in metal bottles and the airport has installed 100 water refill stations throughout the terminals. This eliminates the 4 million water bottles sold each year.

Next month I’m going to look at two water solutions I’ve recently discovered which I am testing out. Stay tuned! The photos in this article give you a little hint.

Any readers of last month’s article Hotaru Shincha – What is Shincha? may be interested to know that Master Kumagai has given us one more batch of his rare Shiracha Shincha – shown ice brewed in this blog’s photo!

A glass bottle of ice-brewed tea, near a book with sunglasses on it.

Images provided and copyright held by author

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