Whether you're courtside at Wimbledon or enjoying a summer's day in the park with your mates, it's important to keep topped up with the clean stuff this summer.

Our panel finds out whether tap water can hold its own against its fancy-schmancy bottled rivals.

 

THE EXPERTS

Michael Tanousis
Sells water to Heston Blumenthal
Managing director of Aqua Amore (aqua-amore.com), supplier of bottled water to Michelin-star restaurants.

Dr Sarah Bell
Has tasted tap water in 23 countries
Environmental engineer and water expert specialising in the impact of technology on water.

Dan Masoliver
Drinks four litres of water a day
FHM Upgrade editor who recently purchased a jazzy glass water bottle.

 

Evian bottled water
Named after its Alpine source on the south shore of Lake Geneva, Evian has been one of the world’s most recognisable water brands since it was first bottled in 1829.
Price: 95p
Source: Évian-les-Bains, France

THE BLIND TEST - Tanousis: “You can tell it contains lots of bicarbonates as it’s quite heavy on the tongue. It’s dull as hell and kind of stale-tasting.”
THE SCIENTIST SAYS - Bell: “This is at least 500 times pricier than tap water, but it does not taste 500 times better. It’s for people with more money than sense.”
OUR VERDICT - Dan: “Describing water as ‘silky’ sounds mental, but in this case it’s true, and not in a good way.”

C


 

 

glass of tap water
Pumped into every home in Britain by one of 23 privately owned water companies. Our panel tasted Thames Water, which supplies the South East with 2.6 gigalitres a day.
Price: 0.025p
Source: The tap, your kitchen sink

THE BLIND TEST - Tanousis: “It tastes like swimming pools – stale and offensive. Definitely tap water. This will hydrate you, but it doesn’t stand up in terms of taste.”
THE SCIENTIST SAYS - Bell: “The chlorine flavour comes from the cleaning process, but British tap water has such high levels of regulation that there’s no doubting its quality.”
OUR VERDICT - Dan: “Loses on the taste front, but for sheer environmental friendliness and value, it’s pretty darn good.”

B+



 

 

Tufa Pura Water
House water at several three-Michelin-starred restaurants, including Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck and The Dorchester. Consistently tops blind taste tests by snobby sommeliers.
Price: £3.50
Source: Mendip Hills, Somerset

THE BLIND TEST - Tanousis: “Very clean, well balanced and soft, which means a high calcium content. I’d guess this is Whitehole Springs. It tastes as water should.”
THE SCIENTIST SAYS - Bell: “This tastes the cleanest, but they’re all subject to the same bottled water regulations. You’d have to have a very sensitive palate to tell.”
OUR VERDICT - Dan: “You’d think it’d be nigh on impossible to taste any difference, yet this water is a wet dream.”

A



 

 

iceberg water
Chunks of 12,000-year-old floating ice are collected in nets to melt naturally in tanks. Supposedly free from modern pollutants, it’s the only iceberg water in the UK.
Price: £10
Source: Actual icebergs, the Canadian Arctic

THE BLIND TEST - Tanousis: “This actually dries the sides of your tongue out, like that stuff they squirt into your mouth at the dentist. Not thirst-quenching.”
THE SCIENTIST SAYS - Bell: “You can taste the polar bear as it sinks into the sea from its melting iceberg… Given the world we live in, it’s bizarre people are drinking this.”
OUR VERDICT - Dan: “If ever there was liquid proof that price is not an indicator of quality, this is it. Nice bottle, though.”

D-



 

 

Volvic bottled water
Owned by Danone, the same megabucks corporation as sister brand Evian, Volvic bottles more than a billion bottles a year before exporting it to 60 countries.
Price: 65p
Source: Auvergne National Park, France

THE BLIND TEST - Tanousis: “This one’s got a natural coolness, like I’ve just put my tongue in a mountain stream. If I had to guess, I’d say it was the Iceberg Water.”
THE SCIENTIST SAYS - Bell: “Yup, tastes like water. These bottles take about 400 years to degrade, or they can be incinerated, in which case they release pollutants.”
OUR VERDICT - Dan: “The best bottle on the high street – thirst-quenchingly perfect for a hot summer’s day.”

A+

 

So there we have it...the rest is up to you.