Woman drinking water.

Is Water Really Tasteless?

Water is the lifeblood of all living things, which is why humanity has spent so much time and effort dressing up (or down) the flavorless beverage. Lemon water, sparkling water, spring water, alcoholic water—there seems to be no end! But is water actually tasteless?

Why does some water taste bad?

Anyone familiar with well water knows that water in certain parts of the country and gleaned from certain sources can taste differently. Most water we drink here in California comes to our homes from a local municipal water source and is treated before we ever turn on the faucet. Tap water is typically treated with fluoride and can contain certain natural minerals such as calcium and magnesium, which affect the taste of water.

Does water have no flavor?

According to a recent study, water may not actually be tasteless as previously thought. A 2017 study from a group of neuroscientists at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena sought to determine whether animals had water-sensing taste receptor cells (also known as TRCs or taste buds) in their tongues. We know that TRCs can sense five major tastes:

  • Bitter
  • Sour
  • Sweet
  • Salty
  • Umami (savory or meaty)

These TRCs activate different parts of the brain when triggered, which is how we register taste. During the study, the team found that water stimulated the sour TRCs of lab mice. Some scientists believe that our sense of taste was an evolutionary survival technique—bitter tastes typically indicated that food was toxic or poisonous. This could explain why water with a higher mineral count may taste bad to individuals.

Don’t spend your money on bottled water when you can improve the taste and quality of the water you have at home! Water purification and filtration allow you to get clean water from every faucet in your home. Contact Always Plumbing Heating and Air at (949) 523-1992 to speak with a member of our team about how we can help you improve your water today!