Cheap bottled water is a "scam" and people should just drink from the tap where possible, an expert has said
Cheap bottled water is a "scam" and people should just drink from the tap where possible, an expert has said. Milin Patel is a qualified water sommelier and the self-styled 'Willy Wonka of natural water'. He says that, contrary to popular belief, the public should drink from the tap and not splash out on cheap bottles. And Milin, 41, claims that cheap products which have 'added electrolytes' should be completely avoided. He claimed: "Any water like that comes from the tap is boiled to remove the natural electrolytes. "Then they put back in manmade electrolytes - but less than it started with. "Generally anything marketed that way is a huge scam. It's just tap water for quadruple the price. It uses a lot of energy too." Milin, from Hampton Court, south-west London, has been passionate about water for 20 years. He launched the capital's - and possibly the country's - first dedicated water shop in nearby Fulham last year. Milin, aged in his 40s, qualified as sommelier in 2020 and says he has collaborated with Water Aid on projects. He said: "I've always had a deep passion for water - it's my life and I want to show others how to appreciate it. "I was always taught water is just water and it's all the same - but that's not true at all. "There are so many different factors that make a water unique. "We should respect its source and give it the same value and respect as we do spirits and fine wine." Milin's shop, Fine Liquids, sells a wide range of products. The most expensive is a 750ml bottle for £120: APSU Origin Water, from Patagonia. The extreme price is justified by its origins, coming from a free-flowing glacier, Milin says. But he added that top liquids are only for special treats - and for everyday drinking we should stick to tap water. He said: "You'd be surprised how many people buy cheap plastic commoditised water, thinking it's better than tap water. "We should all drink tap water, or filtered tap water, for hydration. "Sometimes people put any differences in water taste down to pH. "But 99% of what a water tastes like is down to its total dissolved solids (TDS) - the combination of different minerals in it." Milin says that magnesium in water can give a slight "sweet and zingy" flavour. And potassium gives a "slightly bitter and earthy flavour", he said.