A valued customer contacted me using the TaoTeTea.com live-chat feature hosted by Facebook. He wanted to know why his Authentic Dragon Well Green Tea was all of a sudden brewing brown. To get down to the bottom of by his green tea was brewing brown, I asked him if his tea had always brewed brown. He said that it usually brewed a light crystal green, but recently it had been brewing brown.
I ask the customer what he may have done differently in preparing the tea. He said that nothing had changed, he has always used the same amount of tea and water and used the Breville automatic tea maker to brew his tea.
It was at this point an epiphany struck me. The green tea was brown because of the water.
Its all in the water
I asked if the water used was different in any way. As it turns out, the crystal green liquor was produced using reverse osmosis filtered water and the brown tinted liquor was produced using spring water bottled at the source.
During the reverse osmosis process, water is completely filtered of minerals as well as dissolved gases. As a result of such filtration and degassing, tea brewed with reverse osmosis water oxidizes at a very slow pace. Because the tea does not oxidize, it retains its "virgin" color.
On the other hand, spring water is rich in minerals and dissolved gasses. As a result, tea brewed with spring water will oxidized almost instantly.
Which water should I use?
As long as the water used is of a good quality, I suggest you use which ever water you prefer in regard to flavor and availability. I have a reverse osmosis system in my house, so I frequently drink my tea with reverse osmosis filtered water. On some occasions I will brew my tea with spring water. I find that my tea tastes great with either type of water. However, I do feel that spring water gives a little life to the taste of my tea, almost like it "wakes up" the leaves a little better.