Tap, Bottled, Sparkling, or Still

Image via stockxchange | user Ale Paiva

Image via Free Images (formerly stockxchange) | user Ale Paiva

Even though I do sometimes crave something with flavor, water is what I drink at work, at home, and most of the time when we go out for a meal. As long as it’s cold, I’m happy enough and most of the time the general city tap water doesn’t bother me. We use water bottles at home, but just refill them from the tap to have on hand for easy-to-grab hydration.

At least that was the old way.

The first weekend in Thomasville we went out for Chinese food and, per my usual, I ordered water. Even if I wanted something else, most places don’t have decaf tea and the sodas all contain high fructose corn syrup, so water is pretty much my only option in many places, unless I order something alcoholic. Anyway, I was a bit dismayed that the water tasted really bad–not quite like sulfurous well water I’ve experienced back in Louisiana, but there was a definite flavor to this water and it wasn’t the kind of taste I usually go for. And very few places we’ve been to since then offer bottled water as an option, even if you’re willing to pay.

Once we’d settled the pipe repairs and turned the water back on, it was apparent that it wasn’t just an issue at the restaurant, but at our new home as well. While we were just doing simple over-nights, it was easy enough to just grab bottled water, though I did cringe at the waste. Now that we’ve moved in, though, keeping up with chilled bottled water in a fridge already packed with other food is a bit tougher.

First we added a Brita pitcher to at least allow us to filter tap water for drinking. The first time I made supper I realized that any cooking requiring water–like making rice or pasta–would also need to use filtered water to avoid adding an odd taste to our meals. That has the potential to suck through a single pitcher’s worth pretty quickly, not giving us enough time to chill more to drink with the meal. So for now we’re using a combo of bottled water and the filter.

Why not use a filter attachment to our faucet? Every one I’ve enountered in the past has been slow to the point of tedium, so that was out from the start as far as I was concerned.

Instead, for the long term, the plan is to install a whole-house filter where the water line enters the house to filter out any sediments, etc. and then a reverse-osmosis filter under the sink to filter for taste. This way we’ll be able to go back to using tap-filled water bottles for our usual drinking water and also be able to cook with it without worrying out the drinking supply. And different under-sink filters have different filtering rates, so we’re going to make sure to get the fastest rate available so we’re not waiting forever to fill a pot or kettle.

Just because tap water has always been our default and will be again, soon, doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a good bottle of sparkling water from time to time.

I used to think I hated mineral water: it always tasted flat to me (ironic, right?) and the bubbles were (for lack of a better word) pushy and obnoxious. Then I ordered a bottle of Pellegrino while on vacation last fall and the finer bubbles and superior taste convinced me that all mineral water is not created equal. Even the flavored Perrier I’d acquired a taste for couldn’t compare in taste or texture. I was smitten!

It’s still reserved as an occasional treat, mainly because paying for fizzy water still seems a bit of an extravagance, but if I’m someplace that has it and I’m going to have to pay for bottled water, I might was well have a little fun with it, right?

I was always amazed at how finicky people could be about something as simple as water, but now I’m starting to understand. I’ll still prefer the convenience of tap water, even if it’s less than palatable all the time, for the long term. At least we have the option to spend a couple hundred dollars on filtration systems, and for that I’m grateful.

20 thoughts on “Tap, Bottled, Sparkling, or Still

  1. We have a painfully slow tap filter that came with the house – my husband drinks from it but I just use the tap water. After living in a place with rusty water, the clear stuff from the tap is good enough for me!

    I’m interested to see how your filtration system comes together – we might do something like that in the future.

    1. Just waiting for Todd to feel comfortable with the options we looked at and hoping we get the filters installed this month. I’ll be sure to report back on how things go.

  2. I’m with you- after growing up with hard water, I’m perfectly happy to drink the delicious city water that comes from our tap! The whole-house filtration sounds like a good long-term solution. In the meantime, have you considered a water cooler? We used one when we had hard water, and it was actually pretty convenient. The five gallon jug lasted a while (even using it for coffee, cooking, etc) and kept plenty of water cold and hot. Five gallon jugs aren’t so expensive to refill, and you might be able to find a used cooler on craigslist (that’s where I found my first one). Just my suggestion, to help get through until you can do the whole house system πŸ™‚

    1. We looked at them, but aren’t really sold on them. Hadn’t thought about checking out craigslist for a used cooler–if we keep pushing it back on the to-do list a cooler might move up on the possibility list!

  3. Mmmm…Pellegrino!
    Although in reality, when it comes to drinking, I’m more of a tap water girl myself too. (or booze)
    I DO notice all the crazy differences in water whenever I travel (or live somewhere new for work semi-longterm) in my skin and hair though!

    1. Right! I think our water is actually a bit soft in Thomasville (my skin certainly isn’t as dry), but thankfully not so soft you feel as if you can’t get clean (something I’ve noticed in other cities).

  4. Sorry to hear about your pipes and that funny-tasting water! That would definitely turn me off! Like you, I’ve acquired a taste for Pellegrino – it’s. so. good! But it’s pricey and like you said, feels more like a treat. I’ve gotten into the habit of keeping a tumblr of cold water with lemon slices in the refrigerator at home. I drink so much more from a straw (for some reason) and keeping it in a ready-to-drink container in the fridge makes it so convenient! It also preserves the lemon!

    1. We used to add lemons to the drinking water to help combat all the sweating we did while cooking at the plantation–funny I never thought to do it at home, too! Currently we’re going though several 20 oz bottles a day between the heat in general and with all the moving boxes and totes around we’re doing. Once that settles down I’m sure our water consumption will also decrease a bit. (At least I hope it does!)

  5. After growing up on yummy well water, I’m so disappointed when I encounter chlorinated or off-tasting water. I’m totally with you on this one. I’d want the whole house filter, too. The pitchers and the filters on the tap are great when you’re in a temporary place, but I wouldn’t want them in a forever home.

  6. I tend to stay in the same cities for at least a few years, and with both of the last two places I’ve lived, at first I thought the water tasted HORRIBLE. But after spending a few months of using a Brita filter, I’ve found that I adjust to the taste and then it doesn’t matter so much if it’s filtered. I hope ya’ll can get used to it or find a solution that works for you!

    1. Interesting about the palate acclimation! I’m sure I’ll continue to encounter it if we go out to dinner in town & they don’t filter it themselves, maybe I’ll get used to it then, too!

  7. i would also be annoyed by having to put a filter on the tap water or use a Brita pitcher but that will be fine in the interim! And my mom is like you, orders water everywhere she goes, drinks it 98% of the time, it’s so healthy, and while I drink a lot of water, I still love juice, milk, and sodas too!

    1. I still get the odd craving for something with actual flavor, and even a soda every now and then (though there are few I can safely drink), but I always come back to simple water.

  8. The water in our new home tastes a bit different too. It’s got more… I’m not sure if the word is scale or chalk, but it’s the mineral deposits. It is still OK for cooking and drinking, but once in awhile the water is really murky when it comes out of the tap and it creeps me out.

    If I were in your situation I would totally want to do the same thing… I love tap water and can’t imagine not being able to drink and cook with it!

    1. Murky water would definitely give me pause–it took several days for the built-up deposits in the bathroom sinks to finally clear, turns out when they’re not used regularly they “fill in” with gunk. To which I say ‘ew’ and try not to think about it further or else I’d be asking Todd to completely replumb the whole house!

  9. Okay, I could have told you that Pellegrino is the shit. I love that stuff. But I am surprised that Tallahassee water tastes better than Thomasville’s. Florida water is a bad deal to me. I hope the filters help!

    1. You know, it’s funny you say that. I grew up drinking Tallahassee tap water and have never had much of an issue anywhere else, but now that we’re drinking filtered water at home I *do* notice a slight taste to the Tallahassee water!

      I’ve also solved the issue of not being able to order water at restaurants: order wine! πŸ˜‰

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