We taste-tested the coolest drink of the summer. Turns out it's kinda weird.
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If you just got into the coconut water craze, you may be late to the game. There's a new drink in town, and it's called maple water.
That's right, maple water.
What is it, you ask? Well, we wondered the same thing—so we went out and bought a little juice box of Maple (stylized "maple.") at our local health food store. It's the product of Boston-area startup DRINKmaple.
Believe it or not, maple water is just maple sap straight from the tree. But if you think that means it's a sticky mess, you'd be mistaken. Unlike pine sap, maple sap actually has a watery consistency and looks just like water. It has to be boiled down pretty aggressively to get the sugary sweet maple syrup you love on your morning flapjacks.
After taste-testing DRINKmaple's product, we found ourselves a little surprised. It had a much fainter maple flavor than we expected, as if someone put a few drops of syrup in a glass of water. Some tasters found the drink left them with a strangely dry tongue, while others complained of a faint but strange aftertaste that cut into their enjoyment. And of the few of us that have tried straight maple sap, it tasted sweeter and stronger than the stuff straight from the tree.
Still, according to DRINKmaple co-founder Kate Weiler, DRINKmaple's product is unadulterated maple sap with no sugar or flavoring added. She added that it may taste sweeter because the sugar content of the sap varies depending on when you tap the tree during the sugaring season. DRINKmaple tries to tap its trees at just the right time to get the best taste possible. The company also sterilizes its maple water to remove pathogens and naturally occurring yeast.
Weiler and Jeff Rose, the company's other co-founder, discovered maple water when they were visiting Mont Tremblant to run a triathlon. As Ironman triathletes, they're always on the lookout for better ways to replenish their bodies, and after a little research they realized maple water offered a healthier and cheaper alternative to other health drinks.
Indeed, maple water seems packed with good stuff. DRINKmaple's marketing materials claim the product contains 46 nutrients, including amino acids, antioxidants, electrolytes, minerals, polyphenols, prebiotics, and vitamins. It's also only 20 calories per bottle. But the list doesn't end there. Maple is gluten-free, dairy-free, GMO-free, and sourced from a small family farm in Canada that does not use chemicals or pesticides.
According to DRINKmaple, the product is technically organic, but it has yet to be certified by the relevant bodies. As for how healthy maple water actually is for you, Time points out that next to no studies have been done on maple water, so the jury is still out.
If you're interested in trying maple water for yourself, you can head over to DRINKmaple's site and buy it online at a cost of $3 for an 8.45oz. carton. The beverage is also available in select stores in New England and New York City, and the company plans to expand its in-store sales to other regions in 2015.
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