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Textual content by Shraddha Jahagirdar-Saxena. Images by Ritika Shah. Styling by Shweta Navandar

“Are you kidding me – does one thing like that exist?!” Lakshitaa Khanna, India’s first feminine water sommelier (and sure, that’s her precise career), is used to encountering such incredulous responses when she explains her job. However, determinedly obsessed with a problem that may actually by no means run dry, she believes that there’s rather more to H20 than merely being an inorganic, clear, tasteless and odourless thirst-quencher. As Martin Riese – thought of America’s first licensed water sommelier – tweeted: “[…]Individuals who assume water is boring don’t drink sufficient water.”

Earlier than getting into this line of labor, to study concerning the range and lesser-known options of water, Khanna had studied trend journalism at NIFT (Nationwide Institute of Vogue Expertise), Delhi and in addition accomplished a course in design from the Marangoni Vogue Institute, Milan. She briefly joined her father in his real-estate enterprise however finally determined to modify lanes and observe a deeper ardour.

A secure water provide is a valuable, even scarce, commodity for a lot of populations, as pure assets are both drying up, changing into contaminated or are usually not simply accessible. So, a water sommelier undoubtedly stands out in a rustic like India, the place the juxtaposition of communal faucets with branded bottles is starkly apparent. However Khanna believes that her efforts to instil larger understanding about conservation and knowledgeable consumption within the globalised city client will finally trickle right down to have a widespread impression.

The 31-year-old Khanna honed her palate by way of a course on the High-quality Water Academy (spearheaded by Riese and Michael Mascha) and learnt about a number of components, just like the TDS (whole dissolved solids) ranges, carbonation, GDS (groundwater growth stress) and pH ranges, that may impact delicate modifications between the style and texture of, say, Evian and Veen and could be unnoticeable to the common client.

The founding father of Bodh (whose water comes from Bhutan – the one carbon-negative nation on the earth – thus reportedly holding superior nitrate ranges) sees how her friends have more and more begun to deal with gradual residing, which incorporates mindfulness round meals. This shift has in the end additionally led to a stronger consciousness across the dietary content material, high quality and sources of the water that we drink. Together with a podcast collection with Riese that’s within the works, Khanna’s plans are targeted on constructing consciousness. “I need to attain out to all sections of society,” she explains. “I need to educate everybody and hope to do this sooner or later.”

Excerpts from her dialog with Verve….

I’d examine how Martin Riese, as a baby, would all the time drink from the faucet throughout household holidays round Europe, which is how his curiosity about water developed. Did you’ve got an identical starting?
Mine is just not as dramatic. Actually, I, like most kids, would have most popular having a carbonated delicate drink like Coke or one thing sweeter. However by my early teenagers I did realise the necessity to drink extra water and keep away from the dangerous results of sugared water.

On my first go to to the Thong Nai Pan Noi seaside in Koh Phangan, Thailand – I used to be lower than 10 then – I used to be amazed to see the large expanse of water that stretched far, with out a seen horizon. That sight made me recall my faculty geography classes and the truth that water covers about three-fourths of the earth’s floor. I used to be fully fascinated by this stretch of water and spent hours imagining its thriller and the unbelievable creatures that lived in it and the way the identical water touched hundreds if not thousands and thousands of various shores; its calmness and stormy ferocity continued to fill me with marvel.

Nonetheless, it was on a climbing journey in Bhutan about 4 years in the past, once I stopped to drink at a spring, that you would be able to say is when water actually spoke to me. The sweetness of that water was tempered with a style of the earth, however it was so refreshing and uplifting. It quenched my thirst and left me feeling completely rejuvenated; I felt as if I had imbibed from the spring of life itself.

I had an insane want to scream “Eureka!” on the high of my voice. You can name that my defining second. I realised that I wished to study extra concerning the water, bottle it and provide it to the world, and work in the direction of guaranteeing that clear and potable water turns into a risk for everybody.

This alternative of career is an uncommon one. How do folks initially react if you inform them that you’re a water sommelier?The commonest response I get is, “Are you kidding me, does one thing like that exist?!” Nonetheless, amongst frequent travellers and world residents, consciousness of the career is rising. And the hospitality business is just not solely growing the water choice on provide but in addition using sommeliers, although most work for bottlers and the mineral water business at current. Nonetheless, I see the hospitality business embracing this speciality, simply as they do wine sommeliers. 

How would you describe the completely different tastes of water? Do you’ve got a desire?
High-quality mineral waters are available flavours that vary from sweetish to strongly mineralised, which some could discover barely bitter or heavy on the palate. Waters may also be naturally or artificially carbonated, and these are the champagnes of water. These originating from volcanic origins are usually naturally carbonated and have a excessive sodium content material that influences their style. These are usually gentle and have effervescent bubbles. Different waters have excessive or impartial pH stability, which once more results in variations in style as some could also be acidic and others, alkaline.

My desire is my very own Bodh Water, which has low TDS and balanced pH ranges, making it gentle in style and really refreshing. Nonetheless, whereas having heavy meals, I additionally like S.Pellegrino, an Italian water, which is excessive in minerals however sweetish with added carbonisation. This makes it palate-cleansing but refreshing, and the carbonisation provides it a zing that’s tongue-popping.

How lengthy did it take so that you can tune your palate?
Studying how to take action would truthfully be a life-long course of however the few programs that do exist assist you to prepare and recognise varied flavours in over a yr’s time or extra. This isn’t to say that it takes a yr for one’s palate to recognise completely different tastes. Like the whole lot else, one fine-tunes one’s palate by way of common tasting and experimenting with completely different waters; as you pattern increasingly of the identical, your repertoire of style tends to extend, and it turns into simpler to distinguish and recognise the assorted waters by their particularities.

You talked about wonderful waters – how do they differ from purified consuming water?
Purified consuming water or pure bottled water is water that has gone by way of a filtration course of which removes germs and micro organism from the bottom. Nonetheless, this course of additionally removes many of the minerals and vitamins which are current within the water, and a sustained use of bottled water can result in mineral deficiencies within the physique.

Pure mineral waters or “wonderful waters” as we name them are bottled on the supply and are principally from historical spa cities – for the reason that previous few centuries they’ve been identified for his or her holistic therapeutic results on the human physique. They spring from historical aquifers or come from  sources which are untouched by human fingers; they carry the goodness of the earth as they make their approach by way of nature’s course, until they’re bottled for human consumption.

How can one determine the presence of various minerals in water?
In comparison with wine, variations in style amongst waters are fairly delicate. However they’re nonetheless discernible. As water meanders by way of the earth – in rivers, springs, wells and extra – it collects varied minerals, giving supply waters their distinctive traits. So, calcium would make water style milky and clean; magnesium provides it a bitter style and sodium could make it salty. If a water has a extremely metallic style, it will probably trace at excessive iron ranges. It additionally brushes by vegetation, amassing their style and properties and does so all through its journey, until it ends in a single’s glass or cupped fingers, carrying all of the reminiscences it has skilled.

India has a number of completely different sources of water. Inform us about a few of your explorations and tastings….
The primary expertise that involves thoughts – which I used to be lucky sufficient to witness – was an ice stupa in Ladakh. This creates synthetic glaciers which retailer water in winters within the type of conical formed ice heaps. Come summer season, when water is scarce, the ice stupas soften and change into a water provide for agriculture. The one I noticed was an exquisite piece of artwork and creativity by the inventor Sonam Wangchuk. The challenge was performed below the aegis of College students’ Academic and Cultural Motion of Ladakh.

One other unforgettable supply was a gorgeous stream in Kashmir, which I got here throughout throughout my travels. The musical sound of that stream and the style of its water had been magical. Uttarakhand can be endowed with bountiful water assets which are accessible in abundance.

Any ideas for tips on how to finest take pleasure in water?
There are a couple of key factors that one should take into accout. Water is tastier when not chilled and is saved at room temperature. One of the crucial frequent errors that folks make is to drink water too chilly. Ice is unhealthy for water.

And we should always by no means throw water from completely different sources into the identical glass as this may intervene with the style profile. Additionally, lemon ought to by no means be utilized in water at tastings or pairings – though chances are you’ll drink lemon water daily for hydration – as it’s thought of by specialists to be the arch-nemesis of water. This truth has been confirmed to be true by way of many trials; it interferes with the unique style. Equally, water sommeliers throughout the globe emphasise utilizing the right glass. So, when getting ready a water menu, it’s essential to do not forget that water holds worth and must be elevated on the desk.

What varieties would you match with Indian delicacies?
As I discussed, Indian delicacies, because of its use of various spices, tends to be finest paired with water. A extra flavourful water may be paired to cleanse the palate or  complement the meals, which can be essential for vacationers who are usually not used to it. A glowing water provides zing to the assorted Indian desserts and leaves one refreshed after a usually heavy meal. Indian meals holds richness and is mostly spicy; it must be balanced out with waters like Fiji Waters which has a candy after-taste due to its good silica content material.

Once I consider dishes, the primary one which involves thoughts is a well-cooked rogan josh. I’d pair this with a bottle of S.Pellegrino and serve butter rooster or butter paneer with a bottle of twenty-two Artesian water from Spain. A light-weight dessert like rasmalai or phirni would go nicely with a low minerality water like Svalbardi from Norway that might not detract from its flavour.

How do you assume we are able to change our perspective about water?
Step one is for all of us to make use of water conservatively ourselves and educate those that don’t accomplish that about its considered use. This implies altering our mentality and perspective in the direction of water in our every day residing. Using social media to spotlight the significance of water can be important, as increasingly Indians are energetic on it, and this may change attitudes for the higher.

Who’s your target market?
As a model, Bodh is priced a bit increased and subsequently has a distinct segment market.

However I want to say that the position of a water sommelier turns into essential in a rustic the place water is scarce. I need to show that water sommeliers exist and have the information to assist folks and our nation.

So, within the Indian context, I need to attain out to all sections of society. I need to educate everybody and hope to do this sooner or later. We have to preserve our water, its sources. It bothers me once I see folks losing water. We have to use it in the appropriate methods. And it is usually essential for us to get the appropriate diet by way of consuming the appropriate sorts of waters.  

How do you intend to create consciousness concerning the various kinds of drinkable water in India?
Bodh Waters has began a marketing campaign on social media by way of its Fb and Instagram pages to boost consciousness and present guests the distinction between the assorted sorts of waters. Nonetheless, that is nonetheless in its early phases. We’re additionally planning to begin a weblog and a collection of podcasts in collaboration with Martin Riese and Michael Mascha in a bid to coach folks on the distinction between waters. Extra importantly, we are attempting to convey the message of water conservation and implementing sustainable methods to recycle water in our space. We hope to increase this primary throughout Delhi, after which look past.

Credit score: This put up A water sommelier wants to change the way we consume this overlooked drink was printed first on 2021-08-13 06:22:01 by Amit Patil at

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