A team of 23 scientists from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh make sure Scotland’s water is tasty. They taste of 15,000 samples a year and find many aromas in the water such as earthiness to yeasty flavors. The tasting is very precise. They need to remove the chlorine, a chemical that disinfects tap water to taste the lingering notes underneath it. Tasters are not allowed to eat an hour before testing, if this unwittingly happens they can not participate in the testing. Wine glasses line the lab, they keep the water set at 25C and most importantly they never swallow the water. They test daily, even on Christmas. If they come across something really nasty, such as Petrol they do not drink it, but do send the sample off to Public Health.
- A team of 23 scientists at Heriot-Watt University are formally tasked with taste-testing Scotland’s tap water.
- Each day, 20-40 wine glasses are filled with tap water for evaluation, although the team members do not actually swallow the water.
- The tasting team has detected a variety of odor and flavor notes over the years, including earthy, yeasty, fruity, and even gasoline-like ones.
“Tasters are banned from eating an hour prior to testing, and every so often have vinegar, vanilla, lemon or almond extracts unwittingly dripped in.”