Mineral water? Bring it on. It doesn't matter whether it's a heat wave or not. Gladly also strongly sparkling. Let's hope that with so much thirst the quality is right. Warentest takes a sip from the bottle and finds, among other things, that not all water is originally pure.
The per capita consumption of mineral and medicinal water in Germany has increased almost tenfold in the last 50 years. Only coffee is more popular as a drink. Unless it's football. Then, just like in the past, we grab a beer. Otherwise, the Germans quench their thirst massively with mineral water. Around 130 liters of it are drunk in this country per year and person.
Especially when it is very hot, attempts are made to return minerals that have been lost to the body. They come from layers of rock through which rainwater has seeped up to the source. On the way there, the water can then absorb minerals. And unfortunately also less desirable substances such as arsenic or uranium. Or pesticides that seep from fields, decompose on the journey down to breakdown products and are thus also found in one or the other of the 800 recognized mineral springs in Germany. Apart from that, by law, mineral water must come from underground water sources protected from contamination.
Irrespective of this, consumers in Germany can choose from over 500 mineral waters, either still or carbonated, depending on their preference. Let's stay with the latter, the strongly sparkling mineral water. Stiftung Warentest examined 32 classic waters and checked whether they contained harmful substances, whether expensive brands were better than inexpensive private labels and whether consuming bottled water actually added minerals.
Result: Top water is available from 0.17 euros per liter. Two brands of water, on the other hand, promise too much. One thing stands out negatively in terms of taste. In addition, not all water is originally pure, trace substances from above-ground contamination accumulated in the test, whether sweeteners or degradation products of pesticides and detergents. Warentest increasingly found traces of this in the current mineral water test. 9 out of 32 products were affected. The quantities of trace substances in the test are harmless to health, but the designation "natural mineral water" is questionable for the products.
Overall, many waters scored "good" or "very good". The worst rated product was the "Carolinen Classic". It advertises organic quality, but does not deliver it. It contained trace elements from the environment. There was a "poor" in the declaration for this, overall the water cuts off just under "sufficient". "Rheinfels Quelle" came in second to last in the test. It clearly tastes like plastic.
The best and cheapest classic waters for 0.17 euros per liter in the test are "Lidl Saskia" (Quelle Löningen), Penny ("Wald Quelle") and Rewe Ja ("Quintus-Quelle"). With the branded water "Aquintus" for 0.37 euros, they are among the eight waters rated "very good". "Gerolsteiner" and "Residenz Quelle" provide many minerals, both are "good" overall. At 0.50 euros per liter, they are quite expensive.
(This article was first published on Wednesday, June 22, 2022.)