Let’s Twist again...with two lines of flavored, artesian water from the Pacific northwest. Photography by Dhanraj Emanuel.
KAREN HOCHMAN is Editorial Director of THE NIBBLE.
Twist Naturals Organic Juice Water
Flavored Water ~ Kosher, Too
CAPSULE REPORT: Sweetened, flavored, non-carbonated waters have taken off big-time, but we don’t care for most brands. Even though the flavorings are natural, they are so overdone that they seem artificial to us. When we discovered Twist, we felt the company had developed a winning recipe. You may have to twist a bit to acquire it—distribution isn’t anywhere near what FruitWater is (especially now that it’s been purchased by Coca-Cola)—but it’s worth seeking out. Flavored with natural agave juice (the Organics line) or juice concentrate (the Naturals) line, the bottles are 35 calories for 19 fluid ounces.
We like the name of this company: Talking Rain. It’s located in the Pacific Northwest, where people know about rain (seeps into the ground, or falls into a body of water, and becomes the source of all of our domestic water supply). As the regional market leader, it also is savvy in the ways of selling mountain spring water and flavored beverages. We’re guessing they saw the success of Fruit Water and Vitamin Water, and threw their bottle cap into the ring. We’re glad they did—we like the product much better than the others in the sweetened, flavored water category. There are four natural flavors and four organic flavors.
What makes a water organic? Both lines are made with artesian* well water, not purified municipal water; but the the Naturals are sweetened with regular fruit juice and flavored with regular natural flavors, while the organics are sweetened with organic agave nectar and organic flavors. The flavors in both lines use either citric acid or malic acid as a natural preservative.
*An artesian well is a confined aquifer whose water is pressurized. Water will thus flow out of an artesian well without pumping. Artesian wells are named after the former province of Artois in France, where the first one was drilled by Carthusian monks in 1126. For more information about water, see our Water Glossary.
The lines are both kosher, but is all kosher in Talking Rainville? We’re confused by the labels. First, they say “simply a twist of juice”; but there is only pineapple juice in the Naturals line, where it is used as a sweetener, not as a principal flavoring agent. Still, the loud proclamation, “Contains 9% Juice,” lets customers know that this is “juice water,” for whatever that’s worth.
Yet, the Organics line has the same “simply a twist of juice” label, but contains no juice. It appears that the company is holding ground that agave nectar is a juice, with the parallel proclamation, “Contains 9% Nectar.” However, agave nectar is nothing like fruit nectar—it is not a mango or pear nectar, for example. It it is a sweetener, like honey, spooned into tea or coffee, and is not drunk directly, except as people suck on honey sticks.
Labels notwithstanding, the juicewater, or agave nectarwater, can stand on its own taste merit.
You know this will be a better beverage from the start, made from artesian water. The Naturals flavors are Lemon, Mandarin, Marionberry and Peach; the Organics are Mango Açaí, Mandarin White Tea, Pomegranate Blueberry and West Indies Lime.
The Naturals. We prefer the Naturals, because the sweetening agent, pineapple juice concentrate, is barely discernable in most of the flavors. If you didn’t read the label, you might not realize you were drinking a sweetened water or juice water. You do, however, taste a bit of the malic or ascorbic acid, which is a required preservative due to the presence of the fruit juice. When you drink a totally unsweetened flavored water like Hint, it’s not in the mix, so you taste just pure water and flavor. Here, you feel like you’re getting a “beverage” rather than flavored water.
- Lemon tastes like bottled lemon iced tea, without the tea—refreshing. Mandarin is the least sweet, and for that reason, our favorite of the group. Marionberry† is very berry—the closest to Vitamin Water territory, and therefore our least favorite. Peach has a green peach quality, which is to say, not the overly ripe and lushness many people seek in peach-flavored bottled drinks.
†Marionberry is a cross between two blackberry varieties, named because the hybridization took place in Marion, Oregon. It is a very popular flavor in the Pacific Northwest, where Twist is made.
The Organics. The organics are sweetened with organic agave nectar, which is a lower-glycemic sugar substitute. As a result, the organics are sweeter—not as sweet as FruitWater, but sweet enough to please anyone who likes that style of beverage.
- Mandarin White Tea is a slightly sweeter version of the Naturals Mandarin, very pleasant. The malic acid’s acidity is bracing before the soft mandarin orange flavors waft in, a yin and yang concept that was popular with our tasters. Since white tea has little flavor in the first place, there’s none to be found here. Like the Marionberry, the organic counterpart Pomegranate Blueberry is very fruity. Unlike the restrained Naturals Lemon, Organic West Indies Lime is almost candied. West Indies lime is [supposed to be] the same as Key lime, but this lime belongs somewhere in the realm of newsstand candies.
- Of the Organics group, Mango Açaí is the standout—a great blend of flavors that had complex notes reminiscent of honeydew. We just wish that Talking Rain had taken the trouble to put the cedilla on the c and the accent on the i, to properly spell the flavor açaí (they spell it Acai). Certainly, their typesetters know the keystrokes to create these letters, just as we do. By just taking three seconds of extra time, more people would learn to pronounce the fruit properly—ah-sigh-yee—instead of calling it ahk-kai. Perhaps they will consider their obligation to educate the public when they need to re-print the labels. We’re not picking on just the poor water company—we tell the same thing to salsa companies and others that can’t be bothered to put the tildes on jalapeno and habanero (i.e., jalapeño and habañero), although most people know how to pronounce those.
So if you ask for Mango Acai and the store clerk looks at you blankly, ask again. You don’t want to miss out on this one. And, if you like flavored water, you may want to pick up a bottle of each Twist and decide where your own preferences lie. It’s one of the more enjoyable ways to intake your 64 ounces a day.
NATURALS: Lemon, Mandarin, Marionberry and Peach
Açaí, Mandarin White Tea, Pomegranate Blueberry, West Indies Lime
Certified kosher by OU
USDA Certified Organic
- 19-Fluid-Ounce Bottle
$1.29 to $1.49
Suggested Retail Price
Available at fine retailers nationwide.* See the store locator on the company website. For more information, visit DrinkTwist.com.
*Albertsons, Circle K, City Market, ConocoPhillips, Conway Oil, King Soopers, Kroger, Loaf ‘N Jug, Metropolitan Market, Publix, Rosauer’s, Safeway, 7 Eleven, QFC, Whole Foods Markets and Zupan’s, among others.