Think bottled water is a scam? This water sommelier hopes to change your mind


If any city was going to have a water sommelier, it would of course be our West Coast cousin, Los Angeles.

The city’s Patina Restaurant Group has Martin Riese as their chief water expert and he’s schooling Angelenos on the way their water should taste – which we always thought should be, well, like nothing.

A big deal when it comes to water tasting, said Riese, is Total Dissolved Solids aka TDS. These, according to Town & Country, are the dissolved minerals and salts in our H2O. They vary depending on where the water is from, and the more there are, the stronger the water tastes.

Fiji for example has a TDS level of 222. “I think the cool thing about Fiji water is it has texture in my mouth,” Riese told T&C, and compared it to the “silky mouth feel” of olive oil or whole milk. Fiji, it would seem, pairs well with spicy food.

In comparison, Danish-water Iskilde, has a TDS of 400 along with a high oxygen content. Riese explained to T&C that the oxygen bubbles scrub the palate between bites. Iskilde – which has an earthy, mushroomy taste – would likely go well with a truffle dish or a cheese pizza with mushrooms.

Not only did Riese – a German native – obtain his US Visa based on his knowledge and expertise of water, but he is, rather unsurprisingly, the only certified water expert in the United States.