The Blind Water Tasting

The Blind Water Tasting

Water testing.jpg

In the office yesterday we were debating bottled water. Is there really much difference between them and does price equate to quality? We thought there was only one way to find out - to have a blind water tasting! 

Before going into the details of the tasting, we thought we should give a brief overview of the different types of bottled water there are.  Who new there were so many types?! 

Types of Bottled Waters

Spring Water: water derived from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the Earth's surface. Must be collected at the spring or through a borehole. Evian is an example of spring water. 

Mineral Water: similar to spring water but must contain a minimum of 250 parts per million total dissolved solids.These must come from the source and minerals cannot be added. Volvic is a mineral water. 

Purified Water: water purified by a process of distillation, reverse osmosis or deionization. It can originate from anywhere, usually from public sources and the purification process removes virtually all types of impurities. Many supermarket own brand water is purified.

Artesian Water: bottled water from a trapped water-bearing underground layer of rock or sand in which the water will rise under its own hydrostatic pressue above its natural level. Many higher-end water brands such as Voss and Fiji water are Artesian. 

artesian water

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The Blind Tasting

We gave everyone in the office 6 different popular water brands, completely blind, and asked to rate them out of five and write some tasting notes about the water. These were the contenders: 

Evian: spring water comes from the Source Cache in France. The source is fed from the melted snow and rain that filters through glacial sand over a period of fifteen years. The glacial sand is surrounded by clay, which protects the water from pollution and gives it its mineral composition and taste. 

Volvic: mineral water that comes from France and is filtered through volcanoes, giving it it's 'unique mineralisation'. 

Fiji: artesian water from Fiji that also filters through layers of volcanic rock to give it it's 'signature soft and smooth taste'. The most expensive water from our line up. 

Acqua Panna: mineral water from Tuscany in Italy. According to their website their water is 'Perfectly balanced, light and luminous with a tonic note' and 'encompasses the very essence of Tuscan lifestyle, heritage and fine elegance'.

Crystalline:  a spring water from France and the cheapest bottled water in the line up. 

Good old Tap water: from Antibes, France

The Results

From 1st to 6th place, the results were as follows, with Fiji the favourite and unsurprisingly tap water the least favourite.

  1. Fiji Water
  2. Evian
  3. Crystalline
  4. Aquapanna 
  5. Volvic
  6. Tap

Fiji was described as being very pure and soft in the mouth whereas descriptions such as mineral and dirty were given to Volvic. What became clear from this little exercise is that there really is a difference, water is not just water and everyone had a clear preference for one.  There is one man taking water very seriously and is known America's only water sommelier - he created a 40 page water menu in his restaurant!  Not sure if this is taking it a little too far... 

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