Although many people expect their drinking water to be “flavorless”, natural and processed drinking waters have flavors due to minerals and organics in the natural water, inputs from any step of water processing or transport, and interaction of these chemicals with an individuals' nose and mouth. Since people can detect the flavor of water, the idea has been proposed that drinking water consumers be considered as sentinels who monitor water quality. This paper explores specific sensory components of drinking water, how humans perceive their drinking water, and future directions for aesthetic research that can better explain causes of and treatments for tastes and odors in drinking water and the human factors that make water a desirable beverage.

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