All water does not taste the same


Michael Long, Sports Editor

H2O, aqua, and water are all the same, right? Some think it is, but others think it tastes completely different.

I am that second type. To me, taking a sip of Dasani or Kroger-brand water is the same as drinking a big ole batch of chemicals, yet I see people guzzling it down and just think to myself, “How?” I just don’t see how people can think all water tastes the same.

Theoretically, it makes sense that all water should taste the same. Water is water. There are no ingredients that have to be added, no certain way to prepare it because it’s just water, the simplest beverage this planet has to offer.

Despite the simplicity of it, water has still found it’s way to be… complicated. There’s such a variety of things that can happen to water before it touches your lips that make it taste different, and it all boils down to the source and treatment. Water can be pulled from lakes, springs, reservoirs, and wells for example. These different sources all contribute their own unique flavor.

Susan Richardson, a chemistry professor at the University of South Carolina, stated in an article on Cook’s Science’s website, that water may taste chalky due to the layers of limestone it passes through underground. Richardson also stated that water from a source near a beach can contain the scent of sulfur because of sulfur-producing microbes.

The different sources result in different minerals getting into the water. According to Richardson, calcium makes water taste smooth and almost like milk, and magnesium makes water taste bitter and sodium makes it taste salty.  

Water treatment is the other big factor that affects taste. The basics of water treatment are filtration and disinfection. Water companies use a ton of different methods of filtration like distillation (used by Smart Water according to Alkaline Water Plus), reverse osmosis (used by Great Value according to Alkaline Water Plus) or even UV light (according to Thrillist’s “Most Popular Bottled Water” list).

Most companies disinfect water using ozonation, which simply means infusing the water with oxygen, but some companies use chlorine due to it’s low cost.

The more that water is altered, the more the taste is affected. Dasani, my personal least favorite brand of water, is treated with reverse osmosis, according to Alkaline Water Plus which means it is void of all minerals. Yes, this means that all unhealthy minerals are erased, but so are the healthy ones that give water its natural taste. To compensate, Dasani adds their “own special blend for that pure, crisp, fresh taste.”

There are an insane amount of things that happen to water before it hits our mouths, resulting in no two bottles being the same.