In a fine-dining Michelin-starred restaurant, it is not an unusual to scene to see a waiter asking a customer "How do you like your water," while handing a specific water menu. Water sommeliers, a small group of professionals who think that water is not just water, suggest the best water taste for customers at restaurants.
Alican Akdemir, 28, is one of these few people who is trained as water sommelier and can distinguish water on its taste and mineral content. He has already categorized Turkey's different water types in each region. He says water has a wide range of flavors and textures and water sommeliers determine what tastes good in water. Completing his training at the Doemens Academy in Munich on water tastes two years ago, Akdemir now easily tell swhich water taste goes well while cooking or making tea and coffee. "The taste of water directly changes a meal's taste," he noted.
Making a living by tasting water, Akdemir began his profession at water tasting sessions. He said more third-wave coffee producers now require water sommeliers as good water flavor increases the coffee's quality. "Thinking that almost 95 percent of tea or coffee content is water, it is not surprising to see coffee producers to prefer better water. Prominent baristas chooses water with different hardness levels and temperatures."
Although many people's tastebuds are missing out the flavors of waters, Akdemir says he understands the nuances and suggests chefs to use a specific water type while cooking. "I differentiate them based on their taste like strong, sweet, savory or bitter and level them. I work with chefs and generally do not prefer eating much before tasting."
The number of water flavors in Turkey is limited, though, Akdemir continued. "I believe the main reason is logistic expenses as water companies prefer water sources in near-by regions."
Among water flavors, Akdemir said water with rich mineral content is not recommended to those on a diet. "Water with low mineral content or neutral water is ideal if you are trying to lose weight," he added. For babies, water with low mineral content and for heart health, water with high calcium content is recommended. "For better digestion, I suggest drinking water with high sulfate or sodium bicarbonate." Water in glass bottles should also be preferred, he noted.