Are bottled waters worth it?

Cape Grim is one of the purest waters Toni Paterson MW has tried. (Photo: Cape Grim Water)

Bottled water can be more expensive than a bottle of wine. But what exactly are you paying for, and is it worth the money?

Sometimes you are paying for purity and the absence of character. Whereas other waters offer a distinctive blend of minerals that give the water a characteristic taste.

Although it is economical to buy sparkling water in bulk, it is important to consider that the age of a water can have an impact on its taste.

Image and packaging are also crucial to the appeal of bottled water. But from my blind tastings, it is refreshing to see a good correlation between stylish packaging and high-quality water.

Of course, water from the tap is the most economical and environmentally friendly option. And any off aromas or flavours that may be present can be reduced, or removed entirely, by filtering. However, when the need for bottled water occurs, it is important to realise that there are considerable differences in taste and style, so it is worth trying a few different types to find the one you like.

Cape Grim is one of the purest waters I have tried. It is ‘harvested rainwater’ collected in north-west Tasmania. The still version has gentle minerality whereas the sparkling is incredibly lively and refreshing, with appealing palate softness. If serving fine wine, this would be my water of choice.

Voss, from Norway, has a similar level of purity and clarity, though with a little more weight and minerality than the Cape Grim. The bubbles in the sparkling version are particularly fine, making it another excellent choice to pair with wine.

The Italian San Pellegrino is an assertive water with the flavour centred on the mid-palate. It is surprisingly robust, and a little salty, making it able to withstand hearty flavours.

Closer to home is Victoria’s Hepburn Springs water, which has a rounded palate due to its high bicarbonate level. There is also Beloka Water, from the Kosciuszko National Park in NSW, which is full-flavoured and distinctive due to its specific natural mineral content. The sparkling makes an excellent partner to food.

Although it is economical to buy sparkling water in bulk, it is important to consider that the age of a water can have an impact on its taste. So, it is best to buy on demand.

And it is also worth considering the packaging, as it can sometimes have an impact on the aroma and taste. Plastic bottles are lighter and more portable, but I prefer the taste of water bottled in glass.

One thought on “Are bottled waters worth it?”

  1. kg@matilda.net.au says:

    So Toni, “Plastic bottles are lighter and more portable, but I prefer the taste of water bottled in glass.” Are you really confident that if I lined up 20 glasses, randomly ordered, of the same water stored in two of these different container materials, with $100 on top of each class, that you would come out on top at the end with enough money to go and buy yourself dinner? I am sceptical, I would like to join you for a trial. To the extent that there definitely are differences between waters can you say a little more about exactly what causes those differences, and what the pH of the various different waters is — because of course, pH is a big factor, since that will directly stimulate your sour receptors, as will Mg ions etc.

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