Why does cold, chill, normal, lukewarm and warm water have each a unique taste?


as title 🙂

In: Biology

I believe it’s because different temps of water can hold a correlated amount of suspended minerals and oxygen in them.

And they sound different too!

If I remember correctly the last time someone posted this, taste buds are more sensitive when they are warm, and less sensitive when cold. So at each temperature you get a different flavor.

Funnily enough, both answers so far are correct, though they’re describing 2 totally different things.


Hot and cold things tend to taste less strongly than mid-temp things, and also hot water specifically carries more air and minerals in the mixture. The minerals in your water can play a big part in the taste.

This question reminds of this Douglas Adams quote:

“It is a curious fact, and one to which no-one knows quite how much importance to attach, that something like 85 percent of all known worlds in the Galaxy, be they primitive or highly advanced, have invented a drink called jynnan tonyx, or gee-N’N-T’N-ix, or jinond-o-nicks, or any one of a thousand variations on this phonetic theme.
The drinks themselves are not the same, and vary between the Sivolvian ‘chinanto/mnigs’ which is ordinary water served just above room temperature, and the Gagrakackan ‘tzjin-anthony-ks’ which kills cows at a hundred paces; and in fact the only one common factor between all of them, beyond the fact that their names sound the same, is that they were all invented and named before the worlds concerned made contact with any other worlds.”

Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

A combination of factors.

1. Taste buds are affected by temperature and that alone can produce a variety of changes.
2. Warm water and cold water can dissolve different amounts of minerals, some of which produce a taste.
3. Warm water comes from most peoples water heater, with different minerals dissolved than may be present in the cold water pipes.
4. Your brain will just straight up reward you for temperatures it wants. Drinking hot water when cold or cold water when overheated is bound to release some extra dopamine at the same time as information about its taste is getting processed.

Temperature of something changes its chemical reactivity, but also as the temperature of water rises it loses the ability to retain dissolved gases.

So one of the things we do to make water palatable is put the little screen on our water taps, called aerators, so that The water doesn’t taste all “flat” coming out of the tap.

Evolution has designed us to prefer running water over still water because running water is usually not stagnant and so is less likely to be disease ridden.

So as you heat the water you taste more of its mineral, salt, and ion content as it loses dissolved oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen.

The removal of dissolved gases is also strongly implicated in my boiled water freezes faster than tap water. Getting rid of all those gases helps the thermal transfer of the water itself.

There’s like a whole bunch of science happening in all sorts of different directions. And there’s a whole bunch of biological reasons for our body to be sensitive to all of these elements.

Because we have taste buds specifically for water?

Well at least one factor is cold anything numbs your tongue so you’re tasting less the colder it is. As any college freshman with a fifth of disgusting vodka in their freezer will tell you

Can somebody fact check me on this?

I always assumed you were literally tasting the water that has been hanging out inside of the hot water heater for who knows how long. The temperature change is really just an adjustment of the ratio of water from the hot water heater and from the regular water source (well or public)