We all know that water is important and thankfully, the global movement to decrease the amount of bottled water consumed has stepped up significantly. Globally, the conservation and sustainability of water has become a key topic for all nations. And so it should… but what about pampered palates and those who dislike the taste of tap water?
Vanilla Beige recently conducted a water tasting with Nordaq Fresh just to see if there was a meeting point for foodies and sustainability. Did the water we drank with our wine and food really matter? The results were eye-opening. We’ll tell you more about Nordaq Fresh later but before we do, let’s share with you the findings of our water tasting.
THE BLIND TASTING
We tasted three types of water in two different categories (still and sparkling) in order compare flavour and mouthfeel. There was a panel of six who accurately filled out the ratings sheet. All others were excluded. Tasters were not told which water they were drinking and they rated each on a scale of one to five (five being the best).
Still waters were tasted at room temperature.
|Fiji, Natural Artesian Water||2.3|
|Acqua Panna, Natural Spring Water||2.8|
Two sparkling waters were tasted cold and one (tap water which was made fizzy with a Sodastream) was tasted at room temperature.
|S. Pellegrino, Natural Spring Water||3.2|
- Tasters overwhelmingly described Nordaq Fresh as “clean” and “pure” on their tasting sheets.
- Four out of six rated Nordaq Fresh a five in the still category. One rated it as a two.
- The ratings for sparkling waters differed significantly across all tasters.
EFFECTS ON WINE
We tasted two types of still water at room temperature (Fiji and Nordaq Fresh) against a couple types of red wine. One taster reminded us that it would be difficult to compare as wine changes in flavour and characteristics based on many factors such as aeration, amount of time in the glass and a host of other variables.
We tasted by having a sip of water then tasting the wine. Next we tasted the other water and then another sip of wine. We did this several times in order to fully appreciate the differences in flavour. We also would take one, two or three sips of the same water, then wine, moving back and forth between wine and water.
More than half of us noticed a drastic variance to the flavour of the wine while a few only noticed a minimal change. One taster described the wine as being more acidic after Fiji water and having a much better flavour after Nordaq Fresh.
EFFECTS ON FOOD
We tasted two types of still water at room temperature (Tap water and Nordaq Fresh) with the following nibblies using the same method above:
- Brie & walnut crackers
- Smoked salmon and sourcream blinis
- Sticky date pudding
The findings were, for some, a subtle difference but for most tasters, the flavours of the food did not change significantly. For me personally, I felt that a cleaner, purer water enhanced the overall experience even though the actual flavours of the food did not vary to a great degree.
EFFECTS ON COFFEE
We tasted coffee made from tap water against coffee made from Nordaq Fresh. The tasting was conducted in coffee cupping style where everyone tastes from the same cup of coffee in order to ensure that the brew strength and flavour is the same for everyone. We were given a spoon to taste each type of coffee with a cup of water to rinse the spoons off between each taste.
Between the two brews, a difference in flavours and characteristics were noticed by everyone, however, a preference for the brew varied so much so that a definitive decision could not be made.
WHAT OUR TASTERS SAID
“I really enjoyed the evening of water tasting. I’ve always said that not all water is created equal, and now I have evidence! So surprised about the difference it made to the taste of the wine and coffee though, I had no idea!”
“Had a fascinating time blind tasting water and then comparing the effects on wine and food. Interestingly the difference between waters, when tasted together, was distinct. When tasting for a change in flavours for wine and food, the significance on wine was big while the change in food flavours was subtle.”
“I had never even considered the fact that the water I drink could influence the taste of my wine! I’ve heard of wine snobs and coffee snobs but never thought I would become a water snob!”
“Fascinating!!! Who knew water could have such an impact on the taste of wine? Loved that Nordaq Fresh celebrates the natural and brings taste to the forefront. I’d love to see them remove the perceived need for bottled water in the first world.”
“I loved experiencing the taste of pure water. If there is such a thing as tasting clean, that’s what you got. Pure, fresh, clean water that made other top brand’s taste like it came out of the tap.”
What is Nordaq Fresh?
I first tasted Nordaq Fresh at Salted & Hung when they offered free-flow still or sparkling water to us. It was at a minimal charge ($3, still/$5, sparkling) and all four of us at the table then had an interesting discussion about what kind of water it was, how they sparkled it and most of all, how great it was to have a free-flow choice of water, the price of which didn’t feel like robbery. We also commented on how it tasted great and was fresh, clean and continually topped up from big glass bottles that were refilled as needed.
Little did I know that we were actually drinking Nordaq Fresh – water that is straight from the tap (yes, good ol’ Singapore tap water), filtered, chilled and sparkled (if you prefer) on site. It still costs a minimal fee because, while it is local tap water, it goes through the proprietary, patented Nordaq FRESH filter system. This system removes impurities and unwanted flavours but it keeps the natural salts and minerals needed for a neutral, balanced and rounded taste.
As a foodie, this is great news because I can have great tasting, filtered water without feeling that I’m contributing to the increasing carbon footprint on so many items. It also didn’t go past me that Nordaq Fresh is served at many Top 50 Asian Restaurants, one of the most notable being Restaurant André who was their very first customer in Southeast Asia. Since then, the list of restaurants who serve Nordaq Fresh has grown to 20 and still moving upwards quickly. They are also growing within the region.
I feel that it is almost like a badge of honour that these fine establishments serve Nordaq Fresh. Not only do they care about the environmental impact that shipping in bottles and bottles of mineral water will have but they are also conscious about the effects on taste that a pure, clean water can have on the wine and food they serve.
Watch the video with Thomas Keller, chef, restauranteur and cookbook writer from world-renowned The French Laundry.
Here in Asia, you can drink Nordaq Fresh at the following venues (but please order some wine and food to go with it :)).
- Alati – our interview with Chef Ioannis Stefanopoulos can be found here.
- Fat Prince
- ME @ OUE
- Neon Pigeon
- Pollen – our interview with Chef Steve Allen can be found here.
- RAW (Taipei)
- Salted & Hung – our interview with Chef Drew Nocente can be found here.
- Tong Le
- Warehouse Hotel/Pó
For more information visit Nordaq Fresh
Note that we were not paid to conduct this tasting and none of the tasters’ ratings or notes belonged to anyone affiliated with Nordaq Fresh. We were not paid or given anything in return for writing this article other than plain old water (albeit still and sparkling Nordaq Fresh water), however a couple bottles of wine were provided for the tasting.
All images were provided by Nordaq Fresh.