If you often opt for bottled water or think tap water has a strange flavour, you’re not alone. And you’re not wrong either. While some people might say all water tastes the same, there are many flavours to natural water which make it different from treated tap water. Let’s find out more about why spring and tap water taste differently below.
What makes spring water different?
The main factor that alters the flavour of spring water is the natural minerals it contains. Water from springs and wells can be naturally full of minerals which will definitely alter its flavour. Good quality spring water can have minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium and sodium, amongst others.
While none of them are bad for you, all of these minerals can impact the flavour of the water. Calcium, for example, makes water taste milky and smooth. You may not explicitly notice each of these minerals directly, but varying levels and combinations are what change the flavour of spring water compared to tap water.
How does this differ from tap water?
While spring water comes from water that naturally flows to the surface from a clean underground water source, tap water has to be processed in water treatment plants to ensure it is safe for consumption. This means chemicals like chlorine or fluoride have to be used during the purification process and, in fact, nearly all tap water contains chlorine.
While it is important to make sure water is clean and safe to drink, these disinfecting chemicals used in its treatment, as well as their by-products, can easily change the taste of the water.
You may notice a medicinal taste in some tap water which could be caused by disinfecting agents. Sometimes these agents can react with compounds found in the water and result in the creation of disinfection by-products. This too can really change the flavour of water even if there isn’t much of it.
What about metallic tasting water?
If you think you’ve ever tasted water with an especially metallic flavour, it could be due to a high level of iron, copper or zinc in the water. A particularly bitter or metallic taste or smell can be due to old pipes, metal fittings or tanks that are part of your plumbing. This may not be harmful in itself, but it can be off-putting and greatly affect the water’s taste.
This is a problem you will never come across with spring water. Naturally occurring, it will always taste fresh and clean since it doesn’t have to run all the way through networks of pipes and tanks to reach you.
What does this mean for me?
While none of these differences makes tap water bad or dangerous, it does mean the taste is different. If you prefer to drink clean-tasting, refreshing water, spring water seems to be the better choice for you.