Alkaline Water: What Does it Taste Like?

Man drinking alkaline water outdoors

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Alkaline water has gained enormous popularity in recent years, largely due to the purported health benefits of the water’s high position on the pH scale — but what does alkaline water taste like?

Whether you’re considering trying it for the first time or curious as to why the brand you’re drinking tastes the way it does, you’re in the right place.

The taste of alkaline water is both subtle and subjective. Some people describe alkaline water as having a “smooth” or “clean” taste. Others may notice a slight metallic or mineral taste. You may also perceive the flavor as slightly bitter when compared to tap water – a hallmark of alkalinity. However, some people may not notice a significant difference between it and regular water.

The taste can be difficult to describe, especially since pH can vary from one brand to another. Additionally, natural or added minerals that can also greatly influence flavor. To gain a true appreciation for the difference between alkaline and regular water, you could try comparing the two in a side-by-side taste test.

Pouring bottled alkaline water into a glass

What is Alkaline Water?

All water can be categorized as existing somewhere on the pH scale — a measure of how alkaline or acidic it is. A pH of 0 would be extremely acidic, while a pH of 14 would be extremely alkaline. A pH of 7 is neutral.

Most brands of bottled alkaline water have a pH somewhere between 8 and 11. The pH of tap water can vary greatly in the United States. It can be as low as 4 and as high as 9. According to the EPA, tap water should ideally fall between 6.5 and 8.5.

Alkaline water can hydrate you the same as regular water. However, it’s important to note that excessive consumption of it can lead to an imbalance of electrolytes in the body, which can be harmful. Therefore, it’s important to drink alkaline water in moderation and as part of a balanced diet.

You may be surprised to learn that carbonated alkaline water is available. While sparkling water is typically acidic, it can also be made alkaline either naturally or artificially.

The Impact of pH on Flavor

Acids tend to have a sour taste. Often, a lower pH is a good indicator that the beverage is likely to be more sour or tart. Conversely, basic (alkaline) beverages are more likely to taste bitter. However, this doesn’t mean that alkaline water is always noticeably bitter; the taste is often quite subtle.

Consider other beverages and where they fall on the pH scale. Juices, soda, sparkling water and sports drinks tend to lay on the acidic end of the spectrum. Green tea and alkaline water are on the more basic end. Milk is usually neutral.

Benefits of Alkaline Water

Proponents of alkaline water claim it confers a variety of health benefits, including preventing diseases like cancer and heart disease. Studies suggest that it may indeed slow bone loss.

Additionally, proponents tout alkaline water as being able to improve hydration, soothe acid reflux, increase energy, improve digestion and reduce high blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol. Some even claim that alkaline water can slow the aging process.

Many reputable physicians are skeptical of the efficacy of alkaline water to achieve the aforementioned results. They urge more research. However, unless you have kidney disease, drinking alkaline water is unlikely to cause you harm.

So if you enjoy drinking alkaline water and you believe any of the purported health claims about it, you may as well drink up.

Woman tasting alkaline water

How Alkaline Water is Made (Natural vs. Artificial)

Naturally occurring alkaline water is made when water absorbs minerals from rock in springs, streams, and other water sources. Common minerals in naturally alkaline water include calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and iron.

Alkaline water can also be made artificially through a process called electrolysis. Using a water ionizer, we can raise the pH of drinking water by separating it into acidic and alkaline parts. According to manufacturers of these products, more alkaline molecules remain in the resulting drinking water, while less alkaline ones are filtered out.

Factors that Influence the Taste of Alkaline Water

If you are shopping for alkaline water, you should know that there are several factors that may influence its taste. Consider these key flavoring elements when comparing one brand to another:

  • pH Level: A significant contributor to the taste of water, pH level denotes how basic or acidic your water is. A greater pH may make water taste more bitter, while a lower pH may result in a sour flavor.
  • Mineral Content: Natural or added during the bottling process, minerals are present in nearly all water, and they are important for maintaining our health. Some bottled alkaline water contains large amounts of dissolved minerals that greatly impact taste. Water with high TDS (total dissolved solids) is more likely to taste bitter, salty or metallic.
  • Contaminants: The location the water is collected from will determine its pH and mineral content, as well as any contaminants. While bottled water is generally considered safe and free of harmful contaminants, heavy metals, microorganisms, and chemicals like PFAS may be present in some drinking water. However, if these contaminants are present, they are usually in miniscule quantities unlikely to impact flavor.

Choosing Alkaline Water

There are hundreds of brands of alkaline water on the market today. It can be difficult to decide which ones to try first. Start with widely available and popular brands. Boutique brands tend to be more expensive and difficult to procure, though ordering online certainly makes things easier.

Importantly, you should not add any flavoring to your alkaline water if you are interested in evaluating how it tastes. Flavoring drops, packets or tablets may mask the subtle taste of alkaline water.

Bottled Alkaline Water

We recommend starting with the following brands if you are looking to try a bottled alkaline water:

Making Your Own

Making alkaline water at home is simpler than you might think. There are tried and true products that make it easy, and potentially more affordable than bottled water.

On one end of the spectrum, you have alkaline water drops, which instantly raise the pH of your water.

You also have water ionizers that use advanced technology to both purify and alkalize water. While these machines are more expensive, you may consider it a long-lasting investment in a beverage you consume regularly.

Taste Alkaline Water for Yourself

The truth is that most people don’t drink alkaline water for its flavor, which is subtle and may be difficult for the average person to discern. Tasting it side-by-side with tap water, regular bottled water, or even sparkling water may give you a better grasp on the flavor.

Many people believe there are a variety of benefits to drinking the beverage. While more research is needed to corroborate those claims, medical professionals generally agree that alkaline water is safe for most people to drink. So if you’re interested in trying it, there’s little reason not to.