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Top Five Best Springs for Tea

The quality of water used has a bearing on the taste of tea. In the Classic of Tea, Lu Yu compared spring water with water from rivers and wells, and ranked it the best water for tea. A more scientific explanation is spring water, having passed the filtration by the sand and rock in the mountain, contains less impurities, less chlorinated or ferrous compound, and more CO2 and trace elements. 

Lu Yu, the Sage of Tea, has a subtle taste for tea water of varied sources.
According to one anecdote, Lu Yu (733~804), the Sage of Tea, was once invited for tea by a friend of his, named Li Jiqing, who dropped in on him in Yangzhou. Knowing that the water of Nanling Spring (said to be at the bottom of the Yangtze River) was good for making tea, Li suggested fetching some of it to make tea. A servant-soldier was sent to fetch water, who returned with a bucketful of Nanling water before long. Lu Yu ladled some water from the bucket, examined it, and said, “Yes, it is river water, but not Nanling water. It tastes like water near the bank.” The soldier-servant argued, “I rowed the boat into the middle of the river to get the Nanling water, as has been witnessed by all of you. How can you doubt about its authenticity?” Lu Yu remained silent, and lifted the bucket and poured half of the water away. Observing the water with a ladle again, he nodded, saying “All right! The remaining half bucket is the authentic Nanling water for tea.” On hearing the judgment, the soldier-servant was dumbfounded and dropped to his knees, confessing his fault. The fact was, though he did make it to the middle of the river and get a full bucket of Nanling water, the boat kept tossing with the strong wind and heavy waves on the river, and nearly half of the bucket of water had spilled out before he landed. To make up for the loss, he added into the bucket some river water near the bank. Yet Lu Yu had such a subtle taste of water that he wised up to the trick immediately.

In Chinese tea culture, tea connoisseurs of successive dynasties have disagreed over the rankings of water of different springs across the country. Lu Yu, for example, listed as many as twenty springs as the best twenty springs for tea.

The generally accepted ranking lists the following five springs as the top five best springs for tea:
 Gulian Spring, top five best springs for tea, China Tea Culture
Gulian Spring (谷帘泉)
Kangwang Valley, Dahanyang Peak,
Mt. Lushan, Xizi County
Jiujiang Prefecture, Jiangxi Province
 Huishanshi Spring, top five best springs for tea, China Tea Culture
Huishanshi Spring (惠山石泉)
Mt. Huishan, west suburb of Wuxi, Jiangsu
 Hupao Spring, top five best springs for tea, China Tea Culture
Hupao Spring (虎跑泉)
Huichan Temple, Baihe Peak, Mt. Dacishan, Hangzhou
 Lu-Yu Spring, top five best springs for tea, China Tea Culture
Lu-Yu Spring (陆羽泉)
Chashan Temple, City of Shangrao, Jiangxi Province

 Daming-Temple Spring, top five best springs for tea, China Tea Culture
Daming-Temple Spring (大明寺泉)
Daming Temple, City of Yangzhou


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