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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Musings on flavored water

<ir="ltr">Don’t get me wrong: water is great. But a little flavor can’t hurt, right?

Apparently, that’s a controversial claim. “Flavored Water May Be Making Kids Hate Plain Water, Experts Warn,” shouted a Huffington Post headline in October 2013. To be fair, it would definitely be a bummer if every kid in the world suddenly hated water because it wasn’t flavored. If you relate to that statement, let’s have a conversation.

Maybe the whole thing is just a conspiracy. “Why Do People Drink Flavored Water – Really?” asked Janet Hull, PhD, CN in a May 2013 blog post. Spoiler: she never even answered the question.

I don’t have an answer either. But I can tell you that if you’re going to drink flavored water, there are a range of options available, some better than others. LDC offers three options of flavored water: Strawberry Kiwi, Tropical Mango, and Blueberry Pomegranate, displayed left to right as you face the machine. All the way on the left is plain water, if you’re into that sort of thing. Which you’re not. Otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this.

Let me walk you through what went down as I sampled these three versions of the good-ol’ H2O. I entered this process optimistic about Strawberry Kiwi. Strawberry Kiwi felt like a fairly typical combination of artificial fruit flavors, one that I assumed the creators of said artificial fruit flavors had perfected by now. You know what happens when you assume. For some reason, the Strawberry Kiwi water was aggressively carbonated, and it left a weird aftertaste. The taste itself was fine, but why did it need to fizz in my mouth even after I was done drinking? Amount drank: half-cup. One word: shrug.

I was not so keen on the idea of Tropical Mango. Like the other flavors, Tropical Mango is two words. But somehow, only one of those words is a flavor, so already that I felt like someone was trying to cheat me. Thankfully, I was wrong. The Tropical Mango unequivocally deserves first place for best flavor. By the end, I was legitimately disappointed I’d only filled about a quarter of my cup. Then I realized that the real problem was actually that I’d filled my other cups with more of their sub-par flavors and that my tray had three separate cups of flavored water. Weird. Amount drank: quarter-cup. One word: pleasant.

The story of Blueberry Pomegranate is a different one entirely. I was fairly confident, even excited, about this one. Independently, blueberry and pomegranate are among the most reliable artificial fruit flavors. I don’t mind the fruits themselves, but I don’t eat either one that frequently, so I’m pretty well-versed in the artificials. But the combination of the two did not live up to my expectations. In fact, Blueberry Pomegranate was a real letdown. I hope I learned my lesson that day. And I hope the flavored water creators learn something too: if you’re going to go artificial, make it the good kind. Amount drank: half-cup. One word: Unworthy.

As the saying goes, fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Well I won’t be fooled again. Next time, if I ever decide to ignore my standard water again, I’ll be headed straight to Tropical Mango. I don’t care if one of the words is not a real flavor. They told Pelé one name wasn’t enough, and he became the greatest soccer player (sorry, footballer) of all time. And yes, I know that his real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento – let me make my point. Sometimes one word, one flavor, is enough. Why did I even leave the taste of water-water in the first place? Amount drank: approximately one and one-quarter cups of flavored water. One word: meh.

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