How to taste water
People often use the phrase “It tastes like water” to describe something with a boring taste, which illustrates that we often think of water as tasteless. Some people therefore don’t really think about how the water they drink taste. Others, however, will have strong opinions on which kind of bottled water they prefer—not only from a branding/lifestyle point of view but also from taste. Whether water can be a Gourmet thing depends on who you’re asking.
Different people, different palates
Our palates are different, and some can taste a lot more than others. Because of this, understanding taste from a scientific point of view can be quite hard, so an experiment will typically involve sensoric test panels, a group of professionals who blindfolded and under controlled environments taste what we consume. They then try to establish a neutral evaluation not influenced by a label, marketing, situation, temperature, etc. This is also done with water—in some countries even championships for best drinking water is held occasionally.
Taste depends on context
“In the 1960s and 1970s, Yale psychologist Linda Bartoshuk published a series of papers on the so-called aftertastes of water. When a person eats or drinks, his or her taste cells become adapted to that stimulus, Bartoshuk explained. If you then wash out that flavor with water, the cells rebound into an active state. It’s something like the after-image of a color seen against a sheet of blank white paper.
You don’t even need to eat or drink to experience the same effect. Bartoshuk found that a person’s own saliva can spruce up the taste of water. As you go about your day, your tongue will be awash with slightly salty spit. The saliva doesn’t taste like anything because your mouth has become habituated to it. But rinse the spit away with water and your cells will rebound to a bitter or sour taste with your next sip.
Aquaporins, and water’s own taste
Among physiologists, that’s been the dogma for more than 30 years: Water has a flavor, but only as an aftereffect of tasting other things. In recent years, however, a small group of scientists have argued that water can be sensed even on its own. Starting in the early 2000s, researchers published data showing that certain parts of the brain—in both humans and laboratory rats—respond specifically to water. At around the same time, a group at the University of Utah found that mammalian taste cells make proteins called aquaporins, which serve to channel water through cell membranes. The aquaporins, which are common in other types of cells, provide a possible way for water to stimulate taste cells directly.” (Ref: Popular Science Feb 2014).
Nothing is easy or simple. So, when tasting water – do not be too thirsty; rinse your mouth before tasting begins; 7 °C seems to be the best temperature for tasting; only use glassware that has no soap left on it and be in a good mood when you taste.
The taste of distilled water
Distilled water is not always distilled water. If you compare to the taste from battery water or laboratory water, which are both sold as “distilled” or “demineralized”, the taste is not nice. This water is often filtered / ion-exchanged water and is sold in plastic containers. Distilled water (produced using distillation) also vary in taste. Most will say that water has a flat taste if it was distilled under pressure (vacuum). Naturally distilled water, like WaterStillar does it, will have a more pleasant and better taste.
It is also highly important for the taste that all materials in touch with the distilled water does not migrate taste to the water. We made a 3rd party test for off-taste in the enamel we use to ensure that there is no off taste. Certain metals will give an off taste, plastics are hopeless and so are most rubber gaskets.
We recommend and think there is a need for a quality activated carbon treatment to eliminate whatever is left in the water. A well designed filter that has enough surface area and contact time to actually work. Activated carbon removes whatever the unpressurized distillation process can not remove.
If there still is an unpleasant taste in your WaterStillar water, you should look at your pitcher, your bottle, your dish soap, the smell in your fridge or other sources of contamination.
Flavors – infuse your drinking water and the taste to your preference
Adding taste to your WaterStillar Water is possible and completely up to your taste and likings. The initial water is absolutely clean, so just go ahead without a worry about the quality. Here are some suggestions:
It may come as surprise to many, but (some) bottled water has a low pH value, since the water very often is filtered under high pressure. A low pH value is often claimed to be a health risk, since most processed foods (in the western culture) also contributes to low pH values in our bodies.
Adding apple cider vinegar and perhaps some honey to your drinking water is a remedy that not only tastes good but it may help you with a number of health issues. These animal studies suggest that apple cider vinegar can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, along with several other heart disease risk factors (Fushimi et al., Setorki et al., Halima et al.). There are also some studies showing that vinegar reduces blood pressure in rats, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and kidney problems (Na et al., Kondo et al.). The only human evidence so far is an observational study from Harvard showing that women who ate salad dressings with vinegar had a reduced risk of heart disease (Hu et al.).
Drinking alkaline water (pH above 7) is by some considered to be a good way to lower the body’s pH-level. A low pH value in your body is claimed to be preventing / even curing some cancer diseases and even slowing down the aging process.
One way of making alkaline water is to use a chemical process called electrolysis. This technique uses a product called an ionizer to raise the pH of regular water. Makers of ionizers say that electricity is used to separate molecules in the water that are more acidic or more alkaline. The acidic water is then funneled out.
Another way of making alcaline water is simply to add baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to the water. Add 1/8 tbsp (600 mg) baking soda to a glass of water (0,25 liter). Baking soda has a high alkaline content. When the baking soda mixes with the water, it increases the alkaline properties of the water.
A third way is to use lemons. Lemons are anionic, so when you drink lemon water, your body reacts with the anionic properties of the lemon making the water alkaline as your body digests it. Fill a pitcher with WaterStillar water and add one whole organic lemon, cut into eights – do not squeeze them. Cover the water and let it sit overnight for 8 to 12 hours at room temperature. You can add one tablespoon of pink Himalayan sea salt to your lemon water if desired. Adding the salt mineralizes your alkaline water.
A fourth way in your WaterStillar system is to install a flow through mineral filter with calcium/magnesium between the system and your tap. That will add some minerals and highten the ph value a bit.
Adding fresh lime, lemon, strawberries and cucumber are the most frequently used flavors. Just make sure to rinse the fruit carefully before adding it to the water – and perhaps wait for some time to let the nice taste mix with the water.
Inspired and want to take it to the next level? Then try these combinations – and please use organic fuits to avoid (most) pesticides:
- Lemon, Lime and Orange – or just one/two of those
- Raspberry and Lime – lime will underline the raspberry flavor
- Pineapple and Mint – very, very nice combo
- Lemon and Cucumber – or just cucumber. Use an organically grown cucumber
- Blackberry and Sage – goes hand in hand
- Watermelon and Rosemary – very complex in taste
- Orange and Vanilla – better than most soft drinks
Be creative—you can use just about any herb in water. Mint leaves, slightly broken up will add a wonderful taste to your water. Stevia will add sweetness. Also try lavender, orange blossom, rose leafs and elderberry flowers. The list is endless.
Many use Himalayan salt due to its claimed health benefits. Pink Himalayan salt is chemically almost equal to table salt; it contains up to 98 percent sodium chloride. The rest of the salt is trace minerals, such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium. These give the salt its light pink tint. These minerals also explain why Himalayan salt tastes different from regular table salt. Some sources say that pink Himalayan salt contains up to 84 different trace minerals.
Table salt is often refined, and consist of pure sodium chloride, in some countries with added iodine. Iodine is a mineral that the body needs for maintaining proper thyroid function and cell metabolism. Great sources of iodine include fish, sea vegetables, dairy, and eggs, among other foods.
Sea salt is an option that many prefer due to taste and the various minerals it can contain. Just remember that our oceans are getting more and more polluted, leaving behind more and more unwanted components (eg micro plastic) in the sea salt. Look for sea salt from under ground or refined sea salt.
Juice – mix your own
On the market you can find thousands of dry or wet solutions to bring taste to your water. But why not make your own? The recipe is quite simple: Just bring the fruit you have to a boil in a little water, add sweetener (sugar, honey, syrup etc) and strain. Add to your WaterStillar water until the desired taste is there and enjoy.
Fruit juices are industrially often made from juice pulp. A concentrated (dehydrated) juice that makes transportation easier. In some markets you can buy these juices and then add water yourself just before you enjoy your orange juice.
Medicine and supplements
There are perhaps thousands of additives in the market containing vitamins, minerals, salts and anything else you can imagine. We can not recommend you any of these, but we can provide the cleanest water to mix it into.
Bubbles also affect taste
Carbonated drinking water will change the taste and the sensoric experience. The bubbles are CO2. Machines that can add bubbles to your WaterStillar water comes in tabletop versions and in integrated systems for commercial use. We do not sell these and ask you to look for local suppliers.
Crystal clear ice cubes
Freezing WaterStillar water into ice cubes will give you see-through clear ice cubes that will make your water, liquor or drink look amazing. Simply pour the water into your ice-cube container and put in the freezer. Or connect the water to your fridge (with water dispenser/ice cube) and watch small diamond-like ice cubes appear.