Food Fight!

The Water Wrestling Match

by Alexa P. Photography Riz Ainuddin on Wed, March 16, 2011

When you're faced with so many possibilities it can be hard to choose what water to drink especially when you start to factor in price as some of these can be quite pricey! What we found is that just because it's expensive does not mean it's better.

Who is the most refreshing of them all?

There are thousands of bottled water brands throughout the world, each one claiming to have the most refreshing, purest water around. While we couldn’t possibly taste test all of them we decided to narrow down our list to a few popular ones.

Taste Tester #1: Me, The Guzzler
Qualifications: I am proud to say that I’m a water addict! I easily consume a minimum of 3litres daily and you’ll always find me with a glass of water in hand. When I go out to eat I often opt to have cold water rather than a sugary drink.

Taste Tester # 2: Riz, The Sipper
Qualifications: I drink water, I’ve been drinking it since I was a baby. I am quite picky about how my water tastes and I’m always looking for the best.

Taste Tester # 3: Alia, The Water Bearer
Qualifications: Hardly a day goes by that I don't chug down several liters of the stuff. There are drinking bottles and cups all over my house because my family drinks water all the time.

Introducing the Test Subjects:

Spritzer (RM1.10)

Of course, we had to pick a bottled water from here. This is Malaysia’s best selling natural mineral water that is produced and bottled out of a vast 295-acre site in Perak. The water is extracted from an aquifer located over 400 feet deep underground in the tropical rainforest.

Evian (RM4.50)

A French brand of mineral water coming from several sources near Évian-les-Bains, on the south shore of Lac Léman. Evian is portrayed as a luxury bottled water, making it popular among Hollywood celebrities. The Hotel Victor in Florida actually has a spa treatment where a bath is filled with 1000bottles of the stuff!

Waiwera (RM7.49)

This water from a geothermal aquifer was recently voted the World's Best Bottled Water, in a blind taste test done by the UK wine magazine, Decanter. The panel made up of Masters of Wine, top sommeliers and some of the most experienced palates in Europe tested 24 of the world's top water brands.

Acqua Panna (RM6.90)

This water takes its name from the Villa Panna in the hills of Tuscany, where the natural spring was first discovered. This brand now belongs to San Pellegrino, which is owned by Nestlé. Acqua Panna has become the exclusive bottled beverage at many luxury establishments.

Perrier (RM5.60)

This water is from a spring in Vergèze in the Gard département of France. The spring is naturally carbonated. Both the water and natural carbonic gas are captured independently and in the bottling process, the carbonic gas is added so that the level of carbonation in bottled Perrier is the same as the water of the Vergèze spring.

The 3 Tests:

Tasting at room temperature

Make coffee with it

Make jello with it

The Verdict:

The Guzzler – I don’t know if it’s the French in me who is used to drinking bottles of the stuff but I prefer Evian for its smooth qualities and I really enjoy the bubbly Perrier which makes me feel like I’m having something other than water. I love how the bubbles tickle my nose as I tip it back. The Acqua Panna is very drinkable with a refreshing taste. Spritzer doesn’t do too badly with these big names and I definitely enjoy it as a local brand that is easy on the wallet. Waiwera however, despite the hype, was a disappointment. It tasted very strongly of the plastic bottle.

The Sipper – Acqua Panna is my preferred choice because of the glass bottle, I feel the quality of the water is maintained well compared to water in plastic bottles. It is light and refreshing and I would make my coffee with it. Evian tastes mineral-ey and when it’s cold it feels fresh and clean. When it comes to sparkling, I prefer other brands to Perrier; it has too much gas and feels heavier. Waiwera is not a clear favourite for me; it has a tap water taste to it. Spritzer is what I would grab straight off of the shelf if I were thirsty because it’s cheap and tastes good; not bad at all for local bottled water!

The Water Bearer – I really like Acqua Panna, it’s super refreshing. If it didn’t cost so much I would drink it all the time. Waiwera was strange overall because plain water does not usually taste bad; to me it tasted worse than carbonated water, which I can’t stand. Perrier is low on my list because it is bubbly and therefore not chuggable. Spritzer is my favourite local mineral water because it’s a great thirst quencher. Evian is fine as far as fancy bottled waters go, but I still prefer Acqua Panna at the end of the day.

Overall Conclusion:

While we were quite adventurous in trying out the water in various states it was easier to taste the differences at room temp. Once we added in coffee or turned it into a jelly it was much harder to distinguish. I would say that Evian and Acqua Panna make for a smoother coffee, and the bubbly Perrier shouldn’t be used for coffee mainly because of the sodium content and its acidity level, which only makes it unpalatable. With jello there really isn’t much of a difference as the texture and sugar mask the true flavours of the water.

These were our top picks for taste and price. With a clear loser at the end.

Top 3 Taste: Acqua Panna, Spritzer and Evian
Top 3 Price: Spritzer, Evian, Perrier
Loser: Waiwera (At RM7.49 this is extremely pricey and definitely not worth it tastewise)