Complex Syrup is a water recipe designed for general tea enjoyment.
August 10, 2021 Update: This recipe has been adjusted to 86% of the original concentration.
October 8, 2021 Update: This recipe was previously known as Simple Syrup. The name has been changed to avoid confusion.
10x Concentrate – Do not drink!
- 3785.4g deionized water – Ideally, find a <3ppm TDS RO dispenser. Distilled water will be 0ppm, but may or may not need to be conditioned with aeration.
- 1.900g sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
- 1.217g magnesium sulfate heptahydrate (Epsom salt)
- 0.393g calcium sulfate dihydrate (gypsum)
- 0.857g calcium chloride
Brewing Water – Do drink!
- 3406.9g deionized water
- 378.5g concentrate
- 0.004-0.007g calcium carbonate (optional) – Make sure to fully dissolve this into the 3406.9g deionized water before adding the 378.5g concentrate. If this recipe tastes bitter and/or chalky upon adding the calcium carbonate, that means it’s not fully dissolved. In some cases it can take a day or two to dissolve fully. It helps to refrigerate the water to increase the rate of solution.
- 8 drops silica (optional) – To enhance the mouthfeel.
Tools – Not optional.
- Milligram scale – For the minerals.
- Higher capacity scale – For the water.
- TDS Meter – For verification and troubleshooting. TDS meters usually underreport by roughly one-third, but at least it will tell you if you’ve made an order of magnitude error.
- Squeeze bulb – Useful in various ways throughout the entire process.
- Silica desiccant packets – These could come in handy for the calcium chloride, which deliquesces with exposure to ambient moisture.
- Consumer-grade milligram scales tend to have unpredictable and inconsistent behavior. Get to know your scale and work around its behavior. Try to load the minerals into the dish (included with the milligram scale) in larger amounts. Loading the minerals only a few milligrams at a time tends to “confuse” the scale. Even small errors will have significant impacts in practice, so be exact. To ensure that the mineral dosage is correct, weigh the dish by itself before adding minerals and write that number down. When it comes time to add the mineral, place the dish onto the scale and tare it. Add the mineral until you get the correct reading from the scale, then remove the dish and tare the scale again. Wait one minute for the pressure plate to return to its original position, then weigh the dish with the mineral in it again. The reading should be equal to the weight of the dish plus the target weight of the mineral. You will likely see an error upon following these steps, and that’s to be expected, just add or remove some mineral to get the correct reading. Take the time to be exact.
- Use the squeeze bulb to wash off any remaining mineral from the dish into the water. Some of these minerals tend to stick. Make sure that you’ve filled the squeeze bulb from the already-measured jug of 3785.4g deionized water, and empty any remaining water back into the mix when finished dosing the minerals.
- To avoid precipitation of minerals, wait several minutes after adding each mineral, shaking occasionally. If you notice any precipitate in the water, you’ll need to start over.
- For best results, store all your water in a cool place away from sunlight. You may find that chilling the concentrate prevents mineral precipitation if it becomes an issue at any point. Chilling the concentrate in the fridge will also keep it fresh longer.
- Try aerating the water by pouring it into your kettle from a height before boiling it. This enhances the texture by reducing astringency and adding a sensation of volume. If the water is overly aerated, you can boil it for a while to remove the extra gases. Aeration is also closely tied to pH, and it affects the flavor profile by reducing intensity and slowing the steeping speed. It is best to try the water at various levels of aeration to become familiar with the effect. Please remember that aeration is a spectrum. You may prefer a different level of aeration than I do. Note that not all waters are created equal. Some will be over-aerated for use with tea, and others will be under-aerated. It is relatively simple to adjust this recipe with aeration to your tastes. If the brew is too intense and/or steeps too quickly at normal parameters in a gaiwan, try aerating more.
- Never underestimate the significance of good base water. Please try the recipe with a variety of distilled/deionized waters and RO sources before passing judgment. It is make or break.
- This post will be updated from time to time to adjust the recipe and/or include new information.
- This recipe is best suited to brewing in a gaiwan. Most teapots do not pour quickly enough for use with this water.