Carbonated Water: What’s the Difference?


Whether you’re shopping in person like it’s 1984 or ordering from a monopolistic delivery service, it’s easy to see the diverse range of water varieties available to consumers in 2019.

These carbonated alternatives are in addition to tap water (if you’re lucky enough to trust it), with one of the biggest downfalls being the environmental destruction caused by plastic bottles. In some cases, the production and distribution of the product adds to the problem.

By understanding the difference, one will be able to navigate through an ever growing market: one that is expected to reach six billion dollars in sales by 2021.

So, while some may say that “water is just water,” assuming that all clear liquid with some bubbles have exactly the same qualities (but with a different taste), that is not the truth.

Do you know the difference between club soda, seltzer, tonic and sparkling mineral water?

While there are a handful of similarities, there is also some contrast amongst the four options. Let’s take a look at how carbonated water impacts taste, health and other factors:

Club Soda

Commonly used as a drink mixer, club soda usually has no flavor. However, some may note a slightly salty taste due to minerals. In order to produce the drink, two things are added: the said minerals, such as sodium bicarbonate, potassium sulfate, sodium chloride, disodium phosphate and sodium bicarbonate, plus carbon dioxide gas (CO2). The minerals added depend on the brand, manufacturer and where the company is located.

The artificial method for carbonating water originates in England almost two hundred and fifty years ago. Described in the paper “Directions for Impregnating Water with Fixed Air,” it was published in 1772 by Joseph Priestley.

It was noted that Priestley had described his carbonation finding as his “happiest discovery,” which lead to a significant scientific discovery – the existence of oxygen.


This selection is similar to club soda – in the respect that it is artificially carbonated. However, the difference is that seltzer does not contain any minerals. As a result, this tastes a bit closer to “natural” water. Since there are no minerals, this allows Seltzer to react positively to lemon, lime and other citrus, also making this a popular option for mixed drinks. To note, seltzer is sometimes referred to as sparkling water (but without minerals).


Similar to club soda, which includes carbonation and minerals that are added, tonic is noted as having the most distinctive taste of all the carbonated options. The bitter taste is due to the ingredient quinine, which comes from the bark of the cinchona tree.

Historically, quinine was added in order to prevent malaria in tropical areas, although the amount included in the modern era is less (and varies by company). Today, it is common for sugar or high-fructose corn syrup to be added – which adds taste, but also calories.

Tonic water is the only one that includes calories, all which come from sugar.

Sparkling Mineral Water

One distinction from club soda, seltzer and tonic is that sparkling mineral water has natural minerals and carbonation that is bottled at the source, such as a well or spring. Sometimes, a company may add extra carbonation after the fact. Sparkling mineral water is also noted as having less acidity when compared to the other options.

As each source of bottled sparkling mineral water is different, it therefore has varying degrees of minerals and trace elements, which is why different brands have a slightly different taste.

At Mitte, we see the benefit of mineral water, which is why we have created the world’s first device that allows individuals to create mineralized water right within your home. We respect and understand the importance of natural mineral water, but due to environmental concerns – mainly linked to the mass production of plastic bottles, we believe an alternative is in order.

Please click here to learn about our technology and here to learn more about our history.


By Mitte Team — May 7, 2019
The information contained in this article is provided for educational and informational purposes only, and should not be construed as health or nutritional advice.

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