How Hard Water Ruins Your Tea

Do you love a good cup of tea? Are you worried that you’re not getting the perfect brew?

It’s no secret that Brits love a good cuppa. Around 100 million cups are drunk each day in the UK alone. From a traditional brew to fruit and herbal teas, there are lots of ways you can perfect your brew. So, you may be surprised to hear that your water can make all the difference in getting the perfect brew. 

Keep reading to explore how hard water is ruining your tea and what you can do about it.

What Is Hard Water?

Before we get into the details of how hard water can affect the taste of your tea, we’ll explore what hard water is. Hard water is a result of different minerals present in the water. Minerals such as magnesium and calcium make water ‘hard’.

Compared to soft water, there is no difference in the rigidity of water. Instead, the difference between hard and soft water is at the molecular level. The number of mineral ions present in the water will determine the water’s hardness. The more ions present, the harder the water.

Around 60% of the UK’s water supply is hard. Regions such as the South and East of England experience the hardest levels of water. That’s because the main source of water supply to these regions comes from reservoirs with high mineral content.

You can check the hardness of the water in your area using this map.

Where Does It Come From?

Even though hard water accounts for the majority of the UK’s supply, water is not hard to begin with. Instead, water starts soft without the minerals present. The water cycle explains how the minerals later become added.

Firstly, water evaporates from water sources such as oceans, the sea, and lakes. On a sunny day, the sun heats the water and creates water vapour (water is gas form). As water evaporates on the Earth’s surface, it rises into the atmosphere by warm updrafts.

As the water vapour enters the cooler atmosphere, it condenses. Cold air cannot hold as much water as hot air, leading the water vapour to condense. When there’s too much water vapour in the atmosphere, the vapour transforms into tiny droplets resulting in clouds. 

As these droplets are so tiny, they can stay up in the air. When these droplets begin to condense into larger and heavier droplets, in a process called precipitation, they fall back to the ground. It is when the rain begins with these heavier and larger water droplets that hard water begins to form.

To make rainwater hard, it needs to fall onto sedimentary rocks, such as chalk or limestone, that contain minerals. Once the rain has fallen, The water percolates through the rocks. As soluble rocks dissolve, the minerals found in the rocks are deposited into the water.

It is at this point the water becomes hard. The water then flows into streams and reservoirs to become the main source of supply for our water. Even though water is treated to ensure it is safe to drink, water companies do not soften water supplies by removing these minerals.

How Can Hard Water Affect Your Tea?

Water is the most vital ingredient of a good brew. It accounts for nearly the entirety that goes into making a good cuppa. So, if the water is not right to begin with, you won’t be getting the perfect brew. No matter what teabag you use or what you add to your tea, it’s never going to be right.

Given that water is around 97-99% of a cup of tea, it should be no surprise that it can affect the quality of your brew. That’s not to mention any unsightly bits of scale sitting at the bottom of your cup (a result of heating hard water).

A common misconception is that drinking hard water is not good for you. Actually, the minerals found in hard water (calcium and magnesium) are beneficial and can help us achieve the daily recommended mineral intake our bodies need.

Despite the drinking benefit, hard water can lead to many other problems, including scale build-up in appliances, water stains, and hair and skin problems. Find out more about how hard water affects your skin and hair.


Even though the minerals in hard water can help us increase our mineral intake, not everyone likes hard water. The taste of hard water is a bit like marmite! Some people like the taste while others hate it. The additional minerals can make the water taste unpleasant, bitter, or even salty.

The minerals in hard water can also trap the taste and smell of your tea. The calcium and magnesium minerals affect the way tea compounds dissolve in the water. Asides from affecting how well your tea brews, it can also lead to precipitates forming in the tea, such as a cloudy solid ‘tea cream’.


Another interesting point of how hard water can affect your cup of tea is the look and consistency. Brewing a cup of tea with hard water will make it both darker in colour and give it a thicker consistency. Not only can you taste the difference, but you’ll see the difference.


Boiled water can often have a flat taste due to the lack of air present. That’s something else that can affect your perfect brew. While you can aerate the water by pouring it to and from two containers, an easier option is to prevent scale build-up in the first place.

Your kettle also will start to suffer from scale build-up. As hard water is quickly heated, the minerals solidify to create scale build-up. Over time, the scale continues to build up and can reduce the efficiency of your kettle (meaning it takes longer to boil).

Boiling water doesn’t remove the minerals present in hard water either. If you want to add some character back into your tea and get the perfect brew, you’ll need to make changes to the water. Fortunately, there is an easy way to do this.

Using a Water Descaler

If hard water is becoming a problem with your tea, there’s an easy solution! An electronic water descaler can help you get back to enjoying your perfect brew.

A water descaler is a small electronic device that is fitted onto the main water supply pipe. The main unit is fitted onto a wall next to the main water supply, while an antenna is wrapped around the pipe. The antenna produces an electromagnetic field that alters the behaviour of mineral ions.

Using a process called ion exchange, the antenna emits a time-variant magnetic field through the pipe that affects the form of the minerals. This process does not alter the chemical composition of water.

Unlike water softeners, the minerals are not removed. Salt and sodium are not added to the water as with water softeners. Descalers work by changing the behaviour of minerals found in the water through electrical currents to prevent any build-up of calcium deposits.

That way, you can still obtain the health-benefiting nutrients without witnessing the drawbacks of hard water. Not only will your brew thank you for it, but so will your appliances and pipes. You won’t succumb to horrible scale build-up anymore.

Find out more about the differences between water softeners and water descalers.

By using a water descaler, you should be able to benefit from a scale build-up-free kettle and better and more efficient water boiling. You’ll also not get any unsightly bits of scale in your tea, and most importantly of all, a better tasting and looking cuppa! Now, time to put the kettle on.

Aaron Middleton is a digital marketer and content creator at Dreamscape Design. He works with several clients, regularly developing content that seeks to help and provide value.

How Hard Water Ruins Your Tea

One thought on “How Hard Water Ruins Your Tea

  • December 28, 2023 at 5:03 pm

    Great article on water softeners! It’s evident that you’ve covered the key aspects comprehensively. I appreciate the explanation of how water softeners work and the benefits they bring, especially in preventing limescale buildup and improving the efficiency of appliances.

    It clarified some misconceptions I had about water softeners. Additionally, the section on maintenance tips was valuable; understanding how to properly care for a water softener is crucial for ensuring its longevity and optimal performance.

    I would love to share more information on water softener and salt , as it could add even more depth to the reader’s understanding. We only promote products and services that we believe will benefit our readers. Your support through these links helps us maintain and improve our website while keeping our content free for all users.

    Overall, though, this is a well-rounded guide for anyone looking to invest in a water softener or enhance their knowledge on the subject. Keep up the good work!


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