A subtle alternative to plain water
For many years my grandmother has been after me to quit drinking soft drinks. She knows how much sugar is in those drinks and wants me to work to be healthier and eliminate those sugary drinks from my diet. The truth is that balance is the key. I do drink at least 64 ounces of water a day and I typically only have one or two soft drinks a day. Still, I can see the health hazards that those drinks present and so I’m always on the lookout for an alternative that will provide me not only the sensation and taste of something other than water (I mean, everyone needs variety, right?) but also have the health benefits of water. I’ve tried the flavor additives for water, which are great, but I like to keep things simple.
Things don’t get much more simple than pouring water into a cup and that’s where The Right Cup comes in. The Right Cup is a simple 11-ounce, plastic cup that gives you the sensation of flavor from a specific scent. When you add water to the cup, nothing else is added to the water. The way The Right Cup actually gives you the flavor for your water is through the scent that is attached to the cup. The Right Cup website describes the experience as:
…a combination of smell, taste, and sight. As you drink from The Right Cup, your nose picks up the fruity aroma, your tongue gets a hint of the sweet taste, and the vivid color catches your eye. As a result, the overall drinking experience is enhanced, leading you to drink much more water without the bad stuff!
Anyone who has had a head cold can bear witness, foods taste different when your nose cannot detect the scent of it. This is the same theory that The Right Cup has used in developing this product. The thought is that if your eyes see the color of the flavor (in my case orange) and your nose can smell the scent, then your taste buds will pick up on those same subtleties.
So, is it true? Does The Right Cup successfully replace soft drinks or other beverages in terms of flavor? Unfortunately, no. I can’t say that I would switch completely from fruit juice, tea, or sports drinks in favor of The Right Cup. Does it provide flavor over plain water? Sort of. I did a side by side taste test with The Right Cup and my bottle of Dasani. I poured some of the water from the bottle (to make sure I was using the exact same water) into the cup and then took a drink. I could smell the orange scent, but once the water was in my mouth and I was no longer smelling the cup, it tasted like plain water. I switched back and forth between the cup and the bottle and could tell a slight difference between the two. The water from the cup tasted just a bit sweeter than the bottle did, but it didn’t seem to retain its orange flavor.
In addition to the cup not successfully providing the rich flavor I was hoping for, there are some other downsides to it, too. The scent — the main feature the provides the extra flavoring — will fade over time. The product designers recommend storing the cup upside down to help retain the scent, but their website also states that after a few months of use, the smell will fade. The cup retails for $30 and I don’t believe I would want to replace it after a few months at that price. There are some claims that with continued use, the brain will start to recognize the scent more and so the taste will intensify. I’ve used the cup a few times and haven’t really experienced that particular feature, but even if it does happen for some people, the fact is that after a few months, the scent will dissipate from the cup leaving it a plain cup. That said, it is a nice heavy duty cup and I will continue to use it even after the scent is gone, but it would be nice if The Right Cup were to provide an option for a lid or lid/straw combination. The Right Cup is not dishwasher or microwave safe. It’s also recommended that you avoid extreme heat and cold.
I love the idea of having a no-additive water flavor solution, but for me, The Right Cup isn’t enough. Its subtle flavoring is a little too subtle for me and I’ll probably still stick to other options for soft drink alternatives.
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