Have you ever ordered a tasty-looking drink off a menu and been greatly disappointed when it tasted off? It might not seem like a big deal, but have you ever wondered why water tastes weird sometimes? It turns out that the answer may lie in the restaurant’s water supply.
Why Does Water Taste Weird?
Most people think of water as flavorless, but many factors can give it a slight flavor. Depending on what is in your glass, you can taste variations even if you’re drinking pop or a mixed drink. You’ll be able to tell the difference as long as there’s water in it.
There are a few reasons why restaurant beverages may taste different:
- Poor filtration: Most restaurants should have systems that filter out contaminants for cleanliness, but they don’t always work. Unclean or poor-quality filters may alter your drink’s taste.
- Contaminated water: Restaurants relying on public systems get 68% of their water supply from surface water, which means they pull from lakes or reservoirs. Since they’re open to nature, they might be contaminated at the source.
- Corroded pipes: Infrastructure doesn’t last forever. Water pipes corrode naturally over time without maintenance, so they might affect the taste of beverages.
- Geography: Your geography can affect taste because every source is exposed to location-dependent factors.
Why does water taste weird? You might notice a change in flavor for endless reasons, but the main four you’ll experience in a restaurant will be due to their pipes, location, filtration or water source. You might think you’re safe if you order bottled water, but most brands use tap water and add various minerals simply to change the flavor, so you may still experience changes. As long as there’s water in your drink, you’re subject to contaminants.
How the Water Supply Affects Your Drink
Everyone has a certain amount of water they should consume each day. Men should drink up to 13 cups of water daily, while women should drink around nine. Your health and well-being depend on you getting enough liquid every day, but does that mean you should drink the bad-tasting water you’re served with lunch?
It’s likely harmless if your water tastes weird, but you should still pay attention to it to determine why the flavor changed. It also may help you learn how to fix bad-tasting water to enjoy your drink with your food.
1. Metallic Taste
Your beverage may taste metallic because corroded pipes leak iron or copper into the water supply. Many things can cause water to taste metallic, which is not necessarily bad. For example, you’ve probably drank water out of drinking fountains at a playground or park that tasted slightly like metal and thought nothing of it. Vitamins and minerals are present in most water and can even be added if not.
Running water can even collect minerals by flowing over rocks, which gives it a metallic taste. While it’s something to look out for, it’s typically harmless.
2. Salty Taste
You’ll experience a difference in flavor if your beverage has excess minerals since sulfates have a salty taste that’s very noticeable. It can be unpleasant, but it’s relatively safe to consume unless in high doses. Be mindful that large amounts can cause sickness in humans, so put down your drink if the salt is particularly strong.
3. Rotten Taste
If you take a sip and are reminded of skunks or decomposing eggs, your water might have a form of sulfur in it. Rotten tastes typically present themselves with an odor, so you’ll likely be able to tell before your first sip if your drink has those contaminants. While they’re not harmful, it’s not particularly pleasant.
4. Earthy Taste
If your drink has an earthy flavor, that means it likely contains fungus or algae to some degree. They grow in surface water, so it’s not unusual for them to affect a restaurant’s drinks. Filters and disinfecting treatments are supposed to remove them, but that doesn’t always happen. Additionally, you might still taste them even if they’re not present.
5. Chemical Taste
It’s common for chlorine to be added to a water supply, which may be the chemical taste you notice. Most public water supplies require chlorination because it is a powerful and common disinfectant, but you’ll be able to taste it if the water you’re drinking has been treated recently.
Does It Matter if Water Tastes Weird?
Everything from extra syrup to a faulty machine can cause flavor differences, but it’s important to pay attention to changes in flavor. This is especially true if you’re drinking something with water in it since most taste differences are caused by contaminants you aren’t supposed to ingest.
While most things will only be present in minor or trace amounts, it’s not healthy to drink a lot of the common pollutants. For example, a beverage with chlorine can be harmful if you ingest too much at once, even though it’s generally safe.
How to Fix Bad-Tasting Water
You might be wondering how to fix bad-tasting water since you probably don’t want to eat lunch with a drink that reminds you of chlorine. You can’t usually do much to it at a restaurant in the time it takes you to order and eat, but you might be able to help.
Although most changes in flavor will come from their water supply, they may also have contaminated ice, dirty fountain drink dispensers or unclean glasses. You can ask for no ice, a new glass or an entirely different beverage. Additionally, you could request sweeteners or fruit to drown out any bad flavors. Ultimately, you will likely have to ask for something without water to avoid the taste entirely.
That being said, you might want a long-term solution if you go to that restaurant often. Inform them of the bad flavor in your drink and recommend they check their pipes and filters if you want a better-tasting beverage the next time you visit.
Your Water Tastes Weird Because of The Water Supply
The last thing you want when visiting a restaurant is to receive a weird-tasting drink. While it’s not mostly harmless, a restaurant’s water supply can affect the taste of every single drink made with it. You can use that knowledge to avoid certain drinks or find alternatives to enjoy your lunch without sipping on something that reminds you of rotten eggs.