Complex Syrup is a water recipe with a focus on sweet, bass-heavy intensity.
Note: This is a dry salt style recipe, an artificial format geared toward ease of use. This format has certain limitations in its ability to bring the best out of tea. Those who are interested in exploring the capabilities of a finely tuned, yet natural style water should try Empirical Water.
October 8, 2021 Update: This recipe was previously known as Simple Syrup. The name has been changed to avoid confusion.
January 10, 2022 Update: A diluted version of this recipe has been added to the Brew Water section.
5x Concentrate – Do not drink!
- 3,785.4g deionized water – The most practical solution is to find a <3 ppm TDS RO dispenser. Ideally, use water that has been deionized, but not distilled. Distilled water will be 0 ppm, but may or may not need to be conditioned with aeration.
- 1.105g sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
- 0.708g magnesium sulfate heptahydrate (Epsom salt)
- 0.228g calcium sulfate dihydrate (gypsum)
- 0.498g calcium chloride, anhydrous
Brew Water – Do drink!
The original version of this recipe is as listed below. This was the version reviewed by Max of Tea Secrets:
- 757.1g concentrate
- 3,028.3g deionized water
- 8 drops silica (optional) – To enhance the mouthfeel and add sweetness.
For a smoother experience, mix 681.4g concentrate mixed with 3,104g deionized water. This is my preferred version of the recipe.
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 will 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 fully 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.
- If the recipe does not please the senses, there may be an issue with the level of dissolved gases. Try aerating the water by pouring it into your kettle from a height before boiling it, or by using a handheld frothing wand. This affects the texture by reducing astringency and adding a sensation of volume. 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. Note that not all waters are created equal. 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.
- Most teapots do not pour quickly enough for use with this water. Also, the recipe is fairly sensitive to clay, often resulting in overly-muted tea. For those reasons, please brew in a gaiwan for best results.
- This post may be updated from time to time to adjust the recipe and/or include new information.