Graphic credit: Drink Maple, Vertical Water, Happy Tree, Maple3, Seva
Maple water isn’t as odd as it sounds. It’s actually just sap from maple trees—the same stuff that, in many cases, is later heated, reduced, and transformed into maple syrup. Tapped directly from the maple tree, maple water has a water-like consistency (unlike the sticky sap produced by pine trees).
We had to try it for ourselves. Some maple water producers claim nutritive benefits, of which we’re a little skeptical—Time notes that the product is “so new that there’s little research out there on its health benefits"—but we can judge them on flavor alone.
Below, our editors give their thoughts and rate the products’ tastiness on a scale of one to five, from least to most delicious:
Photo credit: Maple3
It claims: "Natural, refreshing, low in calories." The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers awarded it a NAPSI: "natural, authentic, pure, sterile, undiluted.”
Editors’ thoughts: “Smells horrible, like rubbing alcohol.” “Reminds me of my summer camp, which treated its water with fluoride. And it did NOT taste good.”
Photo credit: Drink Maple
It claims: ”Forty-eight nutrients: Vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, antioxidants, electrolytes, and probiotics” and “more manganese than a cup of kale.”
Editors’ thoughts: ”First thought: ‘I hate that.’” “It has a really strong smell.” “Tastes less offensive than others because it’s lightly sweet.” “Cardboard aftertaste.”
Photo credit: Seva
It claims: ”Meticulously selected to meet the highest standards, Seva nourishes and hydrates to help your body.” It also snagged that NAPSI certification Maple3 boasts.
Editors’ thoughts: ”I hate this a lot less than the others, but I’m a long way from actually liking it.” “It’s really sugary on the finish.” “I had to rejigger my scale to accommodate its awfulness.” “Cardboard aftertaste.”
Photo credit: Vertical Water
It claims: ”Tapped fresh from U.S. maple trees, Vertical Water gives you a tasty, low-calorie drink anytime you’re thirsty—or a delicious, lightly sweet base for brewing coffee or tea, making smoothies, or cooking.”
Editors’ thoughts: ”Not bad, but I’m getting notes of cardboard—perhaps from the cardboard packaging?” “There’s a sweet, somewhat cardboard aftertaste that clings in a light film.” “Doesn’t taste like maple—tastes like green algae stuff or whatever. Like aloe.”
Photo credit: Happy Tree
It claims: ”Electrolytes, B vitamins, antioxidants.” “With lots of thiamin and riboflavin, enjoy maple water in the morning or with exercise for a natural B-vitamin boost.”
Editors’ thoughts: ”Too maple-y, but at least no awful aroma.” “This is, like, the best. It’s light, sweet, and I feel clean afterwards.” “There’s an odd fake vanilla note here that’s pretty unappealing.”
On the whole, our editors weren’t too tickled by maple water—it certainly won’t be the “next coconut water” in this office.