Water is an indispensable substance that is necessary for keeping our bodies hydrated. Drinking water is a basic act of life – usually as simple as filling a glass under a running faucet. But is that the end of the story?
Not by a long shot!
Besides our municipal water source, which is strictly regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a huge variety of bottled waters is available to consumers. Many come from far-away places you can only dream of going to. Forbes Traveler said, “Bottled water is the next wine ..and like wine, water has terroir – a sense of place. ”
You can choose spring water, purified water or mineral water. Would you like sparkling or still? The packaging for all these choices might be inexpensive plastic or a frosty glass bottle decorated with Swarovski crystals, like the one shown above. Read on to learn more ..
Spring water comes from an underground formation which flows naturally to the earth’s surface. Mineral Water originates from a geologically protected underground water source. No minerals are added. The source is tapped with one or more bore holes and contains at least 250 parts per million Total Dissolved Solids. Total Dissolved Solids” (TDS) is a key measure of water purity used by the FDA. (Ten parts per million is the FDA standard for purified water -without minerals.)
Purified water is produced by processes like distillation, deionization and reverse osmosis. Purified waters, such as distilled water or deionized water, have had the impurities removed. Distillation does not guarantee an absence of bacteria unless the bottle is sterilized before the water is added.
Purified waters are essential for laboratory use and can be used in marine aquariums. Distilled and deionized waters are used in conjunction with lead acid batteries in cars because the minerals in tap water are corrosive. Distilled water doesn’t contain minerals so if used as a drinking water, it is important to get enough minerals in the diet. It can be used in irons to prevent mineral scale buildup.
The bottled water that you buy at the market may be nothing more than municipal water. Pepsi’s Aquafina and Coca-Cola’s Dasani come from public reservoir water but go through additional filtration and purification steps.
All bottled water must conform to basic quality standards similar to those set by the EPA for public drinking water. For the most part it is safe, although there have been occasions when contaminates were found. Health experts warn again the reuse of empty bottles because of the risk of microbial contaminants. Polyethylene terephthalate, or PET is the material used for plastic water bottles. The FDA has deemed it safe for use in food and beverage packaging
“EAU DEAR!” – FROM THE TOILET TO THE TAP!”
Several years ago, CNN ran a story about San Diego’s plan to recycle city sewage water into drinkable tap water. The controversial program, known as “Toilet-to-Tap,” didn’t exactly win the hearts and minds of local residents.
To be fit for human consumption, sewage water must go through intense filtering, reverse osmosis and a blast of ultraviolet light. In the last cleaning step, it is mixed with a dose of peroxide. The reclaimed water is said to be purer than the sweetest mountain spring water. That strikes me as a bit “hard to swallow?”
California residents must have thought so, but with the critical water shortage, the “toilet-to-tap” program was eventually revived as the Groundwater Replenishment System. The purified water is percolated into deep aquifers where it eventually becomes part of the natural drinking water supply. The water travels through sand and rock on the way to the aquifer. This is an extra step, generally thought to be unnecessary, but hey, better safe than sorry!
This process is being successfully used in Orange County. California psychologists are working with the populace to help them “mentally purify” the sewage water so they can overcome the “yuck” factor.
Bottled water became popular, in part, because people considered it chic. Now they drink it because they may not always feel good about their water source. From the toilet-to-the tap— Bottoms up!
GOOD TO THE VERY LAST DROP ..
Water has no taste, yet there can be subtle flavor differences depending on the water source, the mineral content and additives. To give bottled water more personality, fruity flavors are often added, sometimes with sugar or artificial sweeteners. Water has no calories but these sweetened versions may pack 100 calories per bottle. Who needs it?
Fitness waters are fortified with vitamins, antioxidants and electrolytes. Energizing herbs like ginseng, yerba mate and green tea extract may be added. Some are energized with a generous dose of caffeine. Fiber is a nutritional buzzword these days, and you guessed it, you can even buy water with fiber packets for mixing in.
Water connoisseurs are flocking to water bars, much like wine bars, to sample luxury waters. A water-tasting culture with precise rules is in place to guide you in matching water with foods.
“Pay close attention to water’s sensation of “mouthfeel.” With sparkling (carbonated) water, experts feel bigger bubbles stand up well to fried foods . Fried foods also pair nicely with acidic waters .. Sodium-free water is better with caviar .. Soft waters with high silica levels compliment many desserts Slightly alkaline waters taste sweeter; acidic waters a bit more sour “
“With white wine, choose water with a low mineral content and a neutral pH .. Water should be at a slightly higher temperature so it doesn’t diminish the wine’s flavor . Drink a different water for each course Effervescent water goes well with salads .”
You get the picture!
If brand association defines social status, then you might want to purchase a bottle of BLING H20 – a high-end luxury water that has made a huge splash in the bottled water scene.
Touted as Hollywood’s celebrity water of choice on Good Morning America, Time Magazine and Entertainment Tonight, Bling can be found at hot spots like the Grammys, the after-parties for the MTV Video Music Awards and at the Super Bowl.
It is popular at top lounges throughout the country and in many parts of Europe. You can pick up a bottle in Paris at the super-pricey Louis Vuitton store on the Champs ElysÃ©es. Ben Stiller and Jamie Foxx are reported to share an appreciation for Bling – so does Paris Hilton who feeds it to her pet pooch and thirsty paparazzi looking for refreshment.
The pricey water is the marketing creation of Hollywood producer Kevin G. Boyd, who realized (some of) the world was in need of a designer water exactly like Bling. The spring water comes packaged in a variety of stunning acid-etched, frosted or cobalt blue bottles, some beautifully decorated with Swarovski crys
tals. Boyd has said plans are in the works for bottles with diamonds and rubies. Bling water runs around $60.00 a bottle but can cost as much as $90.00; plastic designer bottles run about $20.00. That’s more costly than many bottles of fine wine!
This is heady stuff for a country whose economy is going straight down the drain! I find it all amusing since I have been drinking this particular water for most of my life! The source is a pure mountain spring in East Tennesse in the Great Smoky Mountains. The water is sold by the English Mountain Spring Water Company near Dandridge, Tennessee – my “home away from home.” East Tennessee is also the home of Dollywood and Pigeon Forge!
The water really is excellent and in 1999, earned the distinction of “Best Tasting Water in the World” at the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting Festival in West Virginia. The mineral rich springs have long been a popular spa destination; even George Washington owned property there. Winning a medal is said to bestow instant “olympic-caliber cachet,” and the logo is often incorporated into the product packaging.
English Mountain spring water even beat out the famous French Perrier brand. Old-time bootleggers knew how good the water is and liked to chase a swig of moonshine with a big gulp of Tennessee spring water. Good water is necessary for good moonshine; no doubt the spring water was an integral part of the community recipe.
English Mountain water is produced through a “nine step purification process that includes ozone, ultraviolet and microfiltration.” It flows from an aquifer that lies about 2.5 thousand feet below the surface. It is bottled at the source. The spring is known locally as, “The Promise Land. ”
If you want to find out what all the fuss is about (without paying the steep price), head to the nearest Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, where English Mountain Spring Water is on the menu.
It is available in specially designed 20-ounce plastic containers or you can order it in a large frozen mug – a necessity during South Carolina’s sweltering hot summers. The containers aren’t “blinged” with sparkling crystals, but have “the look and feel” of old-style Hutchinson glass bottles in keeping with the restaurant’s theme. The glass bottles were used from 1880 to 1910 to package the first “Coca-Cola drinks.”
Many upscale restaurants are banning the use of bottled water for environmental reasons. If you agree, but don’t like the taste of tap water, consider installing a good carbon filter. It can improve the taste and reduce lead and chlorine disinfectant byproducts. You can make the chlorine taste in your tap water less noticeable if you pour the water over ice or serve it very cold from the refrigerator. Glass is best for storage; plastics can impart unwelcome flavors.
Do the research. Find out what’s in your tap water by checking water-quality tests. Did you know that mineral-rich hard tap water can adversely affect your hair. Calcium buildup can mess up color-treated hair and cause it to become dull and lifeless?
Whichever water you choose, the point is to drink a lot of it – at least eight cups a day. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, headache and dizziness. All types of water do a good job of rehydrating your body and most of it tastes pretty good.
The average person might not taste a lot of difference between bottled water and fresh tap water – which doesn’t improve with age, by the way! Connoisseurs say some of the best tasting waters have a “velvety, smooth mouthfeel.” Sparkling waters should have “refined bubbles.” In the end, the water you choose depends on your personal taste and your wallet! Only you can decide.
Here is a list of interesting, high-end bottled waters. * Some are available locally. Many come in chic designer bottles.
MaHaLo Hawaai Deep Sea Drinking Water – One of Hawaii’s best exports to Japan is the super-cold, min
eral-rich, desalinated deep-sea water from Kona. The water, taken from extreme depths, is said to come from glaciers that melted long ago, near the end of the ice age. It is believed to help everything from circulation to metabolism. It is expensive, often costing $6.00 or more for a 1.5 liter bottle.
Hawaii Water (* Columbia grocery stores) Pleasant tasting, ultra-pure Hawaiian water naturally filtered thru thousands of feet of lava rock to form an underground aquifer. Fewer than 5 parts per million TDS — less than 1/2 the FDA Standard for purified water of 10 parts per million. Photo at left.
Ty Nant (* Krogers) – When you think of Ty Nant, think James Bond. This chic water comes from a spring in Bethania, in Northwest Wales. It has no nitrates, a neutral PH and low concentration of mineralization. It was the onscreen water of the great secret agent Bond, played by Pierce Brosnan. The water comes in striking cobalt blue bottles and attractive asymmetrical, rippled plastic containers. Ty Nant is Welsh for, “house by the brook or stream.”
Berg Water– Water made from 15,000 year old chunks of melting icebergs off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. Supposedly there were less atmospheric pollutants during this period. The pale green tint of the glass containers reflects the icy green shade often observed in icebergs. Use iceberg water to make environmentally-correct ice cubes! 100 % mineral free.
Tasmanian Rain – Australian produced bottled water collected from pure rainwater in Northwestern Tasmania before it hits the ground. Still and sparkling varieties available. Soft clean mouthfeel; no aftertaste.
10 Thousand BCâ„¢ – For over 10,000 years this water was locked in a icy glacier in the remote and environmentally protected Coastal Glacier Range in British Columbia, Canada. It has remained unaffected by any kind of environmental influences.
Pastry Water – A low-calorie treat! Pastry-flavored water has 100% all-natural flavoring with no artificial preservatives or sweeteners. Only 50 calories per 8-ounce serving! Try the strawberry shortcake or banana cream water! Yum yum!
Fiji Water Co. -(* Columbia grocery stores) A South Pacific water from an artesian source in the rain forest. It is carbon-negative. The water has a smooth mouthfeel. It is reported to be a Beverly Hills favorite because the high silica content is suppose to strengthen fingernails and hair and improve the skin. The company works to help grow the rain forests and is involved in green initiatives.