Where does the world's best drinking water come from?
Bottled vs. tap: which waters have the best aroma, taste and "mouth feel"? A competition in the United States finds out
Though all eyes were on the Academy Awards show in Hollywood, another exciting ceremony was taking place in the United States last weekend -– the 23rd annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting.
Held in the spa town of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, it's the largest water tasting competition in the world, according to organizers.
The "international" signifier is a bit misleading. Though the awards do encourage global entrants, U.S. water samples dominate.
On Saturday night, 11 judges spent hours tasting and selecting from among 82 waters sourced in 21 U.S. states and 10 foreign countries. There were 32 municipal waters -- straight from the tap -- from a dozen states, as well as Canada, South Korea and Thailand.
So who has the world's best tasting tap water?
At the end of a tough day of sipping, the town of Emporia, Kansas, was awarded the top prize for its municipal H2O.
A Canadian brand won best bottled still water in the world -- Canadian Gold from Marchand, Manitoba. A total of 30 bottled waters were tasted.
Two sparkling waters tied for first place: Touch Sparkling Mineral Water of Manitoba and Celvik Dobri Kiseljak of Bosnia. Ten sparkling waters entered the competition.
The purified category was won by Rain Fresh Oxygen Purified from Garland, Texas.
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The 11 media judges included representatives from regional and national media, who were instructed by organizers to look, sniff and taste each water according to guidelines similar to those in a wine tasting.
The waters were rated for each attribute including appearance (it should be clear -- or slightly opaque for glacial waters), aroma (there should be none), taste (it should taste clean), mouth feel (it should feel light), aftertaste (it should leave you thirsty for more).
Here's the full list of winners.
Best Municipal Water 2013
1. Emporia, Kansas
2. Independence, Missouri
3. Greenwood, British Columbia, Canada
4. Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and Clearbrook, British Columbia, Canada (tie)
5. Keremeos, British Columbia, Canada
Best Bottled Water 2013
1. Canadian Gold Artesian Water (Marchand, Manitoba, Canada)
2. Agana Rainwater (Buda, Texas)
3. Denton Spring Water (North East, Maryland)
4. Eldorado Natural Spring Water (Eldorado, Colorado)
5. Kiowata (Longford, Kansas)
Best Sparkling Water 2013
1. Touch Sparkling Mineral Water (Marchand, Manitoba, Canada) and Celvik Dobri Kiseljak (Tesanj, Bosnia) (tie)
2. American Summits Natural Spring Water (Clark, Wyoming)
3. Puyehue (Osono, Chile)
4. Antipodes (Whakatane, New Zealand) and Jackson Springs Natural Premium Spring Water (Manitoba, Canada) (tie)
Best Packaging 2013
1. Lumen (Dallas, Texas)
2. Puyehue (Osono, Chile)
3. Bling H2O (Hollywood, California)
4. Antipodes (Whakatane, New Zealand)
5. American Summits Natural Spring Water (Clark, Wyoming)
Best Purified Drinking Water 2013
1. Rain Fresh Oxygen-Rich Purified Water (Garland, Texas)
2. Greenwood Gold, (Greenwood, British Columbia, Canada)
3. Indigo H2O (Elkhart, Indiana)
4. Berkeley Springs Purified Water (Berkeley Springs, West Virginia)
5. Bar H2O (Richmond, Michigan)