Does All Water Taste the Same?


The Stanley water bottle remains the best vesicle to drink water.

Jilli Carson, Managing Editor

Does all water taste the same? This question usually yields two very opinionated answers. Either different brands of water absolutely taste different and it’s ridiculous that one would even question this fact, or “water is water,” and questioning the existence of different tasting water is to question whether the sky is blue. 

“The argument of whether all water tastes the same or not is exhausted and I’m sick of people saying that it does,” Caroline Homan ‘23 said. “I will die on this hill. The best water is Fiji, and the worst water is Dasani. No more questions please.”

I proudly stand on the side that agrees that different brands produce different qualities of water, and therefore different tastes. There is concrete evidence to suggest the different taste, and I will present my case now. Different water brands obtain and package their product in different parts of the world. Fiji water, obviously produced in Fiji, takes a long journey down the island’s porous volcanic rock, gathering pure electrolytes and being naturally filtered on its way. On the other end of the spectrum, Dasani, or America’s most putrid water, is simply purified tap water with added minerals. There is no question that Dasani can even compare to the taste of Fiji’s tropical, pure, volcanic, mineral water. 

“Dasani is disgusting,” Chelsey Gilbert ‘23 said.

If this isn’t convincing enough, there is actually an employed water taster in Los Angeles. This taster, or “water sommelier,” works for high-end restaurants in LA, tasting their water and ensuring top quality and flavor. Martin Riese has attached a new meaning to “sommelier,” which usually refers to an expert wine taster. Led by Riese, ​​Los Angeles’ Patina Restaurant Group’s 45-page water menu has helped people to better understand and appreciate water. If the utter existence of Martin Riese doesn’t convince you that different waters most certainly do have unique tastes, I don’t think much will. Let’s take a look at what our student body thinks.

After polling the class of 2023 with two questions through GroupMe, I have gained some insight on the opinions of my peers. The first question I asked was: Does all water taste the same? With 32 responses to this question, the “No, different water brands taste different” option got 32/32 votes. This surprised me, because I have had this conversation with many of the voters that have said they believe all water tastes the same, but they answered the poll saying it doesn’t. Because the poll was public, I believe that some voters felt peer pressured to vote for the (correct) answer that other students were selecting.

The next question I asked was: Would you spend more money on “better tasting” water, or does it not matter? Because of the previous question’s results, I expected a sweeping majority saying that they would spend more money on higher quality bottled water, but the “yes” and “no” answers actually tied. This question may be the one that yields the most telling answer, and perhaps the poll has changed the research question that I should focus on. Not “Does all water taste the same,” but “Do you have a preference over the unique tastes of different water brands?” Still, I stand strong with my opinion and research. I still, along with the rest of my classmates, believe that water doesn’t all taste the same, but I also strongly believe in the importance and influence of the different tastes. 

“I do agree that not all water tastes the same. I do. But, would I spend significantly more money on the ‘better’ water? No, I wouldn’t,” Will Davidson ‘24 said. “I like Voss water the best, but I wouldn’t spend my own money on Voss water over Arrowhead water.”

While I still believe in the unique flavors of each water brand, my insight on the opinions of my peers is altered. Though my polling sample size was fairly small, I found that all of my classmates agreed that different water brands do have distinct tastes. But, I was surprised to learn how polarizing the second question of whether better tasting water is worth the high price was. Overall, I fancy myself a water enthusiast (I’m most enthusiastic about Fiji water, of course), so I’m glad to hear that so are a lot of my peers.