Packaged water is mineral water for most of us and rarely do we bother to check its brand. What's the difference anyway, right? But if you ask Martin Riese, he'll tell you exactly what the difference is.
Martin is a professional water taster and his job pays him tons of money!
He says water is the healthiest beverage on this planet and that just like wine, one can actually taste the region and depth from where it comes.
Clearly, judging water on the base of its taste requires a keen ability to perceive the nuances of its flavour and Martin seems to be an expert at that. The concept of water sommelier is quite common in Europe, but Martin Riese is America's only water sommelier. Bottled water is graded on the basis of mineral count or TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) level, and the packaged water we buy may differ in the mineral count. And that's what a water-taster identifies. In one of his columns, Martin describes how he developed interest in water-tasting:
"As a child, when I would vacation with my parents, I would always taste tap water wherever we went. And I came to realize that tap water in different cities tastes different. This became the most interesting part about traveling for me— sampling different tap waters."
Martin's journey as a water sommelier began in 2005 when he was working at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Berlin. Once, when a customer asked him why the hotel had 1500 kinds of wine but just one brand of water, it compelled him to think that people should be given more options in water that are not just sparkling or tap water. That's when he created his first water menu.
Martin is currently working with Patina Restaurant Group where he created his first American water menu in 2013. The menu offers 20 different spring and mineral water from 10 different countries. Their most expensive water is called Berg, a 15,000-year-old glacier water from Canada, which is priced at $20 per bottle!