There’s nothing more refreshing than a glass of ice cold water when you’re parched, equally so, a piping hot cuppa coffee or tea never seems to have a distinct “off” taste, no matter what type of water you’ve made use of.
But let that very same water sit at an ambient temperature for a while, and taste it again. Unless that water is purified water, with endless filtration methods, reverse Osmosis and the likes – you’re pretty much guaranteed to pick up a bit of a funky taste.
Why is that the case? There are a few theories, so we’ll let you decide anyway.
Human Development – Psychological
The reason we may gravitate towards a preference for ice-cold water may be a biological, almost evolutionary response to protecting ourselves against disease. Think about it, where does ice-cold, naturally occurring water come from? Usually, it comes down mountain streams and rivers, either from melting snow or right out of natural springs, crisp and clean – and disease / contaminant free.
Warmer water, in its natural environment, is normally found in stagnant bodies of water which have an exponentially higher predisposition to harbour dangerous germs, bacteria and possibly viruses.
Hot Water and Cold Water Storage Methods
Normally, cold water is fresh and clean-tasting. Water that passes through the hot water tank (geysers, in this case) has been heated and probably has dwelt for some time in the heater tank, and may taste stale. Hot water also may pick up a metallic taste from the pipes.
Science and Flavour Preference
Heat has the effect of agitating molecules. Consequently, there will be more of the items we perceive through smell in the water itself; the smell of chemicals is more evident, and as such, our taste buds pick it up much easier.
Temperature Overpowers Taste
This can be directly compared to beer; temperature has such a huge influence on taste, that we have come to accept that only the hottest or coldest products taste better. I’ve seen it in many advertising campaigns – where a beer (which has not been modified or improved their recipe) will market itself as better tasting, when chilled to a certain temperature. In short, extreme temperature does a great job of masking unwanted tastes.
While I might only be able to stomach a glass of water that is as cold as the Arctic itself, that same water may be unbearable to the person seated next to me. It boils down to personal preference sometimes, whether it’s tooth sensitivity, preference of the taste of the warmer or cooler water – it’s really a grey area.
What is your take on this topic? Do you prefer your watery drinks to be either steaming of frozen?
What do you think the reason behind your preference is?