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I have been trying to escape our habit of keeping a Brita pitcher on the counter.  It makes our water taste better, but the unattractive plastic container hurts my eyes.  I came across this Kishu Binchotan Charcoal at Dry Goods in Brooklyn last weekend.  (See my post about my new favorite store Dry Goods here).  This charcoal is actually just a piece of ceramic-like burned wood, charred at super high temperatures.  The charcoal absorbs impurities in the water and makes it taste much better.  The Brita and many other filters use the same charcoal technology.  But these Binchotan sticks look better and don’t come ground up and housed in disposable plastic.  (Technically NYC water is safe to drink without a filter, and we had ours tested to be sure there is no lead in our old pipes.  But I grew up with well water and I like ours to have that similar taste).  I boiled the Binchotan Charcoal for ten minutes per the directions, dropped it into my vintage ice tea pitcher and let it sit for a couple of hours.  I was thrilled to find that the taste is as clean, and even better than water from the Brita.  This glass pitcher is a welcome addition to our countertop.  Ebay has a great number of inexpensive vintage glass pitchers here if you want one of your own.  Cheers!