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At the table

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At the table

How to serve water

- Water served at meal times should not be cold since it reduces stomach temperature and prolongs digestion.

- Mineral water should never be served with ice because it alters the original composition of the water. To avoid this, serve water chilled but not too chilled, at about 17 degrees centigrade.

- The ideal temperature for serving sparkling mineral water is 4 degrees centigrade.

- Rinse the glass before serving water, especially when it is removed from a hot dishwasher.

- Reject unlabelled bottles or when the label is torn. Always insist that the bottle be opened in your presence.

Tasting water

How to perform tasting

One needs to have a certain level of sensorial education and practice in order to be able to taste water. Palate must be clean and tasting should be done on an empty stomach, just like when tasting wine, oil and cheese. Specific vocabulary is established for water tasting, just like in the latter case, and the following concepts must be taken into account when tasting a glass of water:

Visual analysis:

- Limpidness or cleanliness: Liquid without visible residues or impurities.

- Aspect: parkle and transparency when present. Sparkle takes place when light is captured and amplified. This property greatly depends on light and on the quality of glass.

- Fluidity: This refers to movement of water in the glass. Best fluidity is present when water immediately returns to its starting point without sticking to the glass.

- Opacity: Lacks sparkle and transparency.

- Turbidity: No sparkle or transparency. Ensure that there are no strange residues in the glass that may cause negative effects.

Olfactory analysis:

- Mud: Smell of dirty, humid and muddy soils.

- Lime: Typical of calcareous waters.

- Ferrous: Typical of iron rich waters that have a characteristic reddish tinge.

- Mouldy: Waters that have been stored for a long time in cellars or in humid storerooms.

- Acidulated: Characteristic of sparkling or carbonated waters. One should not get confused between the natural carbonic smell and the mineral effect.

- Oily: Waters stored in kitchens or places that cook oily products.

- Unpleasant odour: Some of them may have intense sulphurous notes. Popularly called water with rotten egg smell.

- Freshness: Gaseous waters produce a slight “tang” and a tactile sensation of freshness.

- Mineral effect: Waters that produce a mineral note near the nose.

Taste analysis:

- Impression: Sensations produced upon first buccal contact with water.

- Evolution: Set of tastes perceived upon keeping water inside the mouth.

- Intensity: Time span of taste sensations.

- Persistence: Just like in the case of intensity but refers to the analytical sensation.

- Taste: Predominant impression upon quantum valuation.

- Aftertaste: Sensation perceived through the nasopharyngeal passage.

- Post-taste: Final long-lasting sensation in the mouth upon ingesting water.

- Sweet: Sweet and tasty water, non-sparkling.

- Salty: Slight taste of minerals and carbonates that is related to more acidic waters. A more exact definition would be related to its content of chlorides and sodium.

- Bitter: Slight bitterness when water comes from a muddy, ferrous source.

- Pleasant: Water that produces pleasure and has no defects.

- Acid: When the tongue is sensitive to slight acidity. It is a characteristic of sparkling waters.

- Oily: Oily flavours arise from improper storage.

- Plastic: Characteristic of waters that are exposed to the sun, that are stored for a long time, and is typical of waters stored in polyethylene plastics or PVC bottles.

- Unpleasant: Characteristic of sulphurous waters.

- Balanced: When there is no predominant effect.

- Fresh: Overall sensation of freshness in the mouth.

- Earthy: Calcareous waters. In northern waters it can be mistaken with a humid taste.

- Metallic: Presence of iron and manganese.

- Fungus: Characteristic taste of underground cellar humidity. It is produced by a substance called geosmine, which is produced by certain species of fungus.

- Rocky: when it has a taste of silica or stone.

Tasting conditions

Guaranteed tasting should be properly carried out. To that end, the room temperature in the tasting hall should be between 20 and 22 ºC and humidity must be between 60 and 80 %. The ideal tasting recipient is a conical test-tube or glass which permits better olfaction and tasting. Tasting time is around 5 seconds, although aromatic components are perceived after 3 seconds when temperatures are above 22º C.

One can judge limpidness, transparency, opacity through sight and perceive the aromatic components and some defects through smell.

The experience of water tasting is different from that of any other product, such as oil or wine, because of its greater subtleness. Contrasts are not so evident and the capacity to perceive the different water characteristics requires special physical and psychological conditions.

The varying water composition, both in content and concentration of substances, imprint pleasant or unpleasant sensations. Furthermore, a higher bicarbonate content and presence of carbonic gas provides the sensation of a better digestion. Demineralised water provides greater sensation of freshness but almost null taste. A combination of personal and health factors, together with the season of the year and the product conservation status, determines preference for one or another type of water.

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