Why water tastes different everywhere

Have you ever reached a new destination, tired and parched from your journey, picked up a glass of water and gulped it down, only to realize that it tastes very different from the water you drink at home? Turns out, there is a science behind this phenomenon.

According to Susan D. Richardson, a chemistry professor at the University of South Carolina, the flavour of water depends on where it comes from. Groundwater from a well may have a chalky taste because it goes through layers of limestone deep underground. Conversely, water near a beach may smell like sulfur because of the sulfur-producing microbes in that groundwater. The aqua purified from some rivers or lakes can have an earthy, organic taste from leftover bits of decomposing plant matter. Water bottled from mountain springs tends to be packed with minerals that alter its flavour. Calcium makes water taste milky and smooth, magnesium can be bitter, and sodium makes it taste salty.

In the United States, local municipal corporations are known to hire taste testers for the water they supply and they even host competitions for the best-tasting tap water in the country (Bloomington, Minnesota was the national winner in 2016*). In India, the purest, healthiest and best-tasting water trickles down from the glaciers of the Himalayas and is bottled by Himalayan mineral water at a state-of-the-art facility.

In the case of Himalayan mineral water, it passes through layers of sand, gravel, silt and clay—i.e. Mother Nature’s very own filter—and through this journey, becomes pure, clean and enriched with nutrients. Himalayan’s underground aquifer is located at the foothills of the Shivalik range and is protected from pollutants by a double layer of clay which prevents any contaminants from passing through it. By the time this water reaches you it has transformed from a raw element of nature into a truly refined product.  Himalayan’s 20-year journey produces water which has the ideal balance of minerals like magnesium and potassium and these also lend a unique and distinguished flavour to the Himayalan mineral as well as Himalayan Sparkling water. Their water is extracted and bottled at the source, to bring you all the taste and natural goodness of pristine Himalayan water.

“If you compare natural waters to distilled water, which has been stripped of any particles or minerals dissolved in it, it will taste boring and dry, as if there’s nothing in your mouth,” says Martin Riese, a mineral water sommelier who got his certification from the German Mineral Water Trade Association. Martin consults with several restaurants in California and even teaches a Water 101 class to “educate students on the unique qualities and characteristics of mineral water,” according to his website.

Riese has created “Water Flights” much like wine flights for restaurants and bars and even done pairings of mineral water with fine ood. According to him the Total Dissolved Solids level plays a major role in the taste of the water. Some regions like Norway produce fruity water with a TDS level of 40 while others like Slovenia produce salty or metallic water with a TDS level of 7,400.

So the next time you travel to a new destination and notice the difference in the taste of the water, you know why.

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Disclaimer : The views and information expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the authors and references. Elgin Hotels & Resorts do not take liability or any responsibility for the same.

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