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Bottled Water: Is it worth it?


vhilts
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I tend to drink bottled water when I'm on the road, and then it's mostly for convenience. You know, some people drink sodas all day while on road trips; I prefer water.

(Side note: I used to work for a high tech firm that provided free sodas, but I always got my drinks from the water cooler. Everyone kept saying "you know, the sodas are free", and I kept replying "I know, but I really prefer water.")

I often grab a prechilled bottle when I'm out - where I live it's high and dry, and yes, if I thought ahead I'd fill a bottle of my own and put it in the car, but honestly, it's low on my priority list of things to remember :-). Again, it's the convenience factor for me. The only brand I really don't like is Evian - the rest all taste fine to me.

Our tap water is pretty darned good; I've got a glass of it next to me now.

Marcia.

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

eGullet foodblog

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I like the convenience of bottled water for road trips but I'm a tapper all the way!

I can't help but think about the old joke about selling a fridge to an inuit. Convincing a huge group of people who drink probably the most flitered and disease free water on the planet to buy water seems like pure genius to me. and doesn't coke make dasani? which I guess means they've got you either way...genius I tell ya!

Life! what's life!? Just natures way of keeping meat fresh - Dr. who

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I buy bottled water primarily to take to the gym, and at home we refill the bottles with our Brita-fied tap water. And we ONLY drink out of the bottles because we have one of those cats who likes to knock things over.

I usually buy poland spring, husband likes Fiji and we both think Evian is nasty, and I think that's really the only water that has a different taste and texture (slimy.)

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Okay, my sister just told me about Trinity water. It is a mineral water from 2.2 miles below land in Idaho. My dad and her both say its the best they have ever tasted. I just read the website and I have to try it. They also offer a reduced mineral bottled water. Has anyone tried it?

-Becca

-Becca

www.porterhouse.typepad.com

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Aquafina and Dasani are the two top selling brands on the market -- is that because these are the best products out there, or the most competitively priced, or is it marketing hype? Well, look behind the curtain, and voila: Pepsi -- and Coke.

It's like McDonalds discovering that they can sell straight hamburger patties with no bun, no pickles, lettuce, tomatoes or special sauce -- and people will pay MORE for that, than the actual hamburger.

I've seen figures that estimate anything from 25% to 40% of all bottled water is simply municipal water. However, this isn't the bad news, seeing there are actually far more rules and regulations on tap water, than bottled water. Both Aquafina and Dasani are -- like Coke and Pepsi itself -- municipal water (although Coke claims to add minerals to Dasani).

I've got nothing but sympathy for people who live in areas where the tapwater is bad (incidentally, it isn't too fantastic where I live but with a filter, it's perfectly fine).

I'm not trying to give anyone a hard time about the unspeakable evil of buying bottled water or anything :smile: It's a convenience thing. But it's also good to know where the stuff is coming from...

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Since water is pretty much all I drink, I buy bottled water (usually Poland Spring or Volvic). I'd prefer to drink tap water, but the local tap water tastes like chloramine and swamp goo, dredged from the banks of two nearby rivers. Filters cannot remove the off flavors.

"Hey, don't borgnine the sandwich." -- H. Simpson

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My favorite readily available carbonated water is Gerolsteiner. I buy it even when others may be on sale & cheaper; it quenches my thirst like nothing else.

For still water, it's gotta be Poland Spring. My SO is a Maine girl & will allow nothing else. End of discussion.

(I live in the same North Jersey town to which Phaelon56 referred above. The chlorination level of our tap water is truly appalling. We have a filitration system which improves it, but I still don't like it.)

On a trip to Virginia I discovered a water called Grayson which was excellent, but it seems to be a regional item.

My favorite ever is a Swiss water called Valser, website right here for the curious. To me it has a unique freshness; must be the way my palate reacts to the particular mineral content. I was pleased to find it available at D'Agostino in NYC in the late 1980s, shortly after discovering it on a trip to Switzerland, but it disappeared after a couple of years.

Here is a peculiar page I've found giving mineral contents of certain waters. Sheds some light on why Evian tastes so dull to many of us.

Edited by ghostrider (log)

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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At home, I drink tap water, sometimes filtered. Rarely right from the tap, though... I usually let it sit in the fridge for a while, and don't drink the very bottom. (I know, it probably makes no difference... but I like the water cold. Very cold.)

At school, I drink filtered water just because it's there.

And at my mother's... I always drink bottled water. Her water tastes very metal-y. She says that she thinks she has lead pipes and that the pipes affect the taste. It's only been in the past few years that she has started buying bottled. When I was younger, we used a filter. And before that, we just didn't drink much water because it tasted so gross!!

There are some bottled waters that I absolutely hate, and few that I know I enjoy enough to buy repeatedly. So, if I'm getting water from a vending machine, I tend to pick Dasani, because I like how it tastes (and that's fairly easy to find in a vending machine).

I say bottled water is only worth it if you don't really like the stuff coming from your tap or think there's some "issues" with it.

Misa

Sweet Misa

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Mineral water or, if one prefers, bottled spring water, has been much a part of European dining culture since the time of the Romans when water from various mountain springs was highly valued. So much a part of the scene is mineral water that some will go to as much trouble in matching water with their meals as they will wine.

On the negative side, there is also a distinct snobbism to mineral water, some professing for example to drink only Badoit, the "in" water of the moment, some even insisting on doing all of their cooking with it.

On the positive side, several years ago I was asked to lead a formal tasting of mineral waters, the editor and I both considering that this might make a rather "cute" and lightly amusing article. We invited only experienced wine tasters to the tasting, provided scoring sheets and ensured that the tasting would be fully blind.....the whole catastrophe. The tasters, myself included, entered in a rather jovial air.

What amazed us was that our palates were remarkably together in the evaluating and description of the various flavors and other sensations imparted by the various waters. In fact, closer together than the same group would normally be on wines! The proof of the pudding for us was that two samples of water received almost identical tasting notes and scores from nearly every one of the tasters. When finally they were revealed one was the bottled brand "Mai Eden" and the other was the tap water of the small city of Katzrin on the Golan Heights. It took only a single phone call to verify that the tap water of that city was precisely the same as that bottled in a plant less than 2 kilometers away and from precisely the same source.

It works! Try it.....

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i used to drink a lot of volvic. i really like the taste. sometime last year i started feeling guilty about the number of PET bottles i was putting out on recycle day. now i boil my water and pour it through a brita water filter. i save over 1000 yen ($10) a week!

i really want one of those total filtration systems but i cant justify the $2000.00. (yet :wink: )

my least favourite is without a doubt "contrex".

i adore sparkling water but usually dont splurge - a bottle of pelligrino at my local import shop is about 500 yen ($5) :huh:

"Thy food shall be thy medicine" -Hippocrates

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now i boil my water and pour it through a brita water filter.  i save over 1000 yen ($10) a week!

Do you live somewhere that the tap water is not safe to drink without boiling?

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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I like fiji... this is a good bottled water web site: http://finewaters.com/Bottled_Water/Index.asp

This is a cool site! It's very interesting to look at the TDS and ph's. Nobody can reasonably argue that "water is water" when, even among still waters, the ph's are differing by 2 points and one water may have thirty times the total dissolved solids of another.

I do believe there are significant differences among bottled waters, and it is definitely worth spending $1-2 for a tasty bottle, even on my student budget. I've tried so many it seems, but from that site it's clear I've only scratched the surface.

Anyway, my preferences among the widely available waters I'm familiar with:

Still

Fiji

Hildon

Evian (agree with the person who finds it oily, but I like it--sort of like the oil from flower petals)

Panna

Volvic (ultrapure...too pure)

Sparkling

Pellegrino

Apollinaris

Ramlosa

Gerolsteiner (a little too salty)

Calistoga

Perrier

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A few years ago, Lynne Rosetti Kasper and Al Sicherman conducted one of their Spendid Table tastings on water. Yes, Minneapolis Waterworks water won out. Read about it here.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Unless its ice cold, I cant even stand tap water any more. Its still better than manhattan beach's, though. That stuff tasted like rust.

I only drink aquafina (not that I have anything against fiji. Its just that a drink a *lot* of water.) Its one of the most tasteless waters ive come across, and that is the point.

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now i boil my water and pour it through a brita water filter.  i save over 1000 yen ($10) a week!

Do you live somewhere that the tap water is not safe to drink without boiling?

MelissaH

I live in Osaka, Japan. They say the water is safe to drink and millions do...

I think the tap water tastes terrible. If i go to the next prefecture Nara (30 minutes by train) the tap water is quite delicious.

Melissa, I have been lurking in your blog :cool: may I for your professional opinion? I have read that boiling water does not remove chlorine from tap water rather it changes it into a carcinogen called trihalomethane. I assume the levels are miniscule. Can you eloborate?

"Thy food shall be thy medicine" -Hippocrates

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Chlorine will eventually dissipate from water naturally. Assuming your water is safe, I would advise that you try skipping the boiling and just filter it through a Brita (activated carbon removes some chlorine) and then let it cool in your fridge. You should have relatively chlorine-free water. Depending on the initial chlorine residual level out of your tap, of course.

THM is one byproduct of chlorine disinfection, and again levels are dependent on the chlorine dosage, but yes they should be miniscule. Water quality regulations in N.America do specify THM and other byproduct residual levels, so assuming Japanese regulations are similar, your water utility should be doing occasional measurements for these chlorine byproducts. The common logic in THM and "carcinogenic" byproducts is that they are preferable in the miniscule levels you get from chlorinating water, when the alternative is possible gastro infection - which can cause more immediate illness or possibly death in the young, elderly and immune-comprimised portions of the population.

Edited for spelling.

Edited by BCinBC (log)
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BCinBC, thanks for answering for me. :biggrin:

I'd add that by boiling your water, you're also de-aerating it, and in my opinion, de-aerated water tastes kind of flat, sometimes almost metallic. An activated charcoal filter on its own should remove the nasties.

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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Has anyone tried backpacker's filters and purifiers? I just got a Miox purifier that uses rock salt and electricity to produce a chlorine solution...tried it on my tap water and as one would expect, it made the chlorine taste even more pronounced... hopefully would work better on water from lakes, streams, etc.

I'd like to find a way to make my tap water more tasteful and help me kick the bottled water (Poland Spring, Fiji, and Volvic) habit..perhaps a Brita might be a better solution.

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Who would want water from a virgin aquifer? Me, I like my water to have a bit of character.

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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i can taste the difference between bottled and tap water but i live in BC and the water hear is reuptably clean so i just drink from the tap. even if the water wasn't so clean i'd prolly still drink from the tap.

bork bork bork

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I am a water snob ... I like Culligan water and Aquafina ... and I am one of those people that can tell the difference between tap and bottled water.

"I cook with wine ... I sometimes put it in food."
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(Reposted, with image removed due to copyright issues)

It took only a single phone call to verify that the tap water of that city was precisely the same as that bottled in a plant less than 2 kilometers away and from precisely the same source.

Exactly!

I checked out this finewaters.com website, and on their list, I checked out the most pretentious looking bottle, which was Voss, of Norway. It lists Voss as "...amongst the purest waters in the world. Taken from a virgin aquifer shielded for centuries under ice and rock in the untouched wilderness of central Norway."

To see what the bottles look like, click here.

Well guess what?

This Aftenposten article has something else to say: Britney Spears and Madonna are paying dearly for this water in New York. Norwegians are using it to flush their toilets. What's going on here? What is Voss? Or where is Voss?

Well, for one, it isn't under no ice and rock in the untouched wilderness of central Norway. Voss is a great skiing resort, and has it does have a great mountain range. But it isn't in central Norway -- it's in western Norway. However, that's just finewater.com's mistake.

What's more important, Voss the water doesn't come from Voss the city.

It comes from southern Norway. It comes from Iveland, near Kristiansand, on Norway's southern coast. The Aftenposten article mentioned above reports that the Voss bottler and marketer now wants to secure its production and "preserve its exclusivity" by forcing the local municipality to find an alternate source of water for their citizens (!). The local major ain't cooperating.

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