Here’s the rule of thumb when it comes to bottled water: the less it’s handled the better. The terroir, the taste signature of the water source, will remain pure and evident.
The International Bottled Water Association lists six types of bottled water, categorized according to the source of the water and the methods used to bottle it. Knowing what they are helps consumers decide which kind suits their needs.
Comes from a spring that naturally flows to the surface from an underground source. It can be extracted directly from the spring or by boreholing, a method that uses an external force at the underground formation that feeds the spring. If collected by means of the latter, the spring water must have the same physical properties as if collected naturally.
Water that has been produced by means of distillation, deionization, reverse osmosis, or other similar procedures. In short, bacteria and minerals have been removed from the water, making it “purified.” The water may also be labeled by its treatment process, such as distilled water.
Water containing no less than 250 parts per trillion total dissolved solids (TDS), which should be constant and relative to its proportions when sourced. No additional minerals are added. Mineral water, depending on the composition and levels of TDS, is said to be beneficial for your health.
Sparkling bottled water
The fizzy quality of sparkling water is due to carbon dioxide. Mineral water may be naturally sparkling at its source (naturally sparkling water) but lose their effervescence when the water is being treated. Carbon dioxide is then reintroduced in levels equal to the water’s natural state. This method of artificial carbonation was introduced in the 17th century.
Water that comes from a protected and confined aquifer in a well. Technically, an aquifer is a water-bearing underground layer of rock or sand.
Water extracted from a hole that is drilled or bored in the ground that taps the water source.
This story first appeared on Vault Magazine Issue 7 2012.