Do you drink your water bottled or from the tap? Tap water has its drawbacks (safety, for instance, differs by location) and its perks (tap water is free). But some people opt for bottled simply because of taste. Not all city tap water tastes the same. And on February 23, a panel of tasters decided once and for all which city’s municipal tap tastes best.
Every year since 1991, a convention called the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting has been held in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, to determine where people can drink the best-tasting water. Water enthusiasts gather from far and wide to witness the spectacle dubbed “the Academy Awards of Water.”
At this year’s 29th annual edition of the event, water from all over the world was poured into wine glasses, ready to be sniffed, swirled, and tasted by the discerning tongues of a panel of trained Certified Water Tasters. The 10 judges, instructed thoroughly on proper technique and standards, then ranked a selection of municipal tap water and bottled water for overall quality.
What makes a great-tasting water, you ask? The waters were rated for attributes such as appearance, aroma, taste, mouth feel, and aftertaste. Judges were instructed that water should be odorless, should taste clean and light, and should leave you thirsty for more. Waters were tasted in four separate flights over two days.
2019’s winners hailed from all over the world. The best-tasting tap water globally was from Clearbrook, British Columbia. The honor of the best tasting tap water in the United States was awarded to Eldorado Springs, Colorado.
Other categories were judged as well, including best bottled water (Smeraldina Natural Artesian Water from Sardinia, Italy) and best purified drinking water (Berkeley Springs Purified Water from none other than its namesake). You can find the full list of winners on the event’s website.
It’s important to note that not every American city’s water was tasted. Additionally, the results change from year to year, though they generally remain somewhat consistent.
“The consistency in winners from year to year with different panels of judges validates the choices,” said watermaster Arthur von Wiesenberger in a press release. “It also speaks to the impressively high caliber of the waters entered.”
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