company - education - coffee

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Costa Rica: Reflecting on water

Last winter when I was travelling through central america, I volunteered at a coffee farm for about a week and a half. Now the water quality in most of central america (Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Hondorus, Nicaragua and Panama) is fairly poor, but Costa Rica because of the economic situation in most of the country, is an exception for the most part. So after having to buy filtered water or purifying my water with iodine tablets for 2 months, I was surprised to find that the coffee farm had clean, fresh tasting water. It came from springs near by and collected in a well underneath the guest house. For several days the other guests and I were drinking the water with delight, relived that iodine was not necessary. After maybe 5 days I noticed a soapy taste in the water and started to get concerned that maybe the water wasn't as good as I had thought earlier. The other volunteers didn't notice any thing strange about the taste so I kept drinking it, thinking that maybe they had a chlorinated source. After washing some dishes one night I realized there was a hole in the sink. I ran the faucet and went outside to see a good amount of water dripping into the ground right below the sink. The pipe that brought us fresh water was right there sticking in the ground and it turns out that the soapy dish water was leaking into our well beneath the house. I patched up the hole as best I could and put a pot underneath the sink to catch the excess water leaking through. After about a day or so, water started to taste alot cleaner and like it did the first couple of days I was there. I never thought developing my palate would actually be practical like that!

Now several months later after coming back from california, I am realizing how incredibly critical water quality and chemical make up is for tea. I think my brita has a learning disability, cuz the water goes through it too fast. I tried poland spring and volvic and neither work as nicely as the water in cali. Ben's filtered and softer water worked fairly well, but I still can't get that same sweet and fullness as in california. Whatever ends up working, I realized that where ever you are in the country your water is probably gonna be a little different. I know that when I was in Arizona several years ago, the water tasted aweful cuz it had been sitting in the pipes for a really long time. Maybe I just need to get a new filter...