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An Explanation

TDS & Taste

Not all bottled waters are created equal. Natural mineral water sourced from deep beneath the earth, may comprise high levels of minerals that not only adds distinctive taste and texture, but can positively impact wellbeing and even athletic performance.


How do you know which water to choose? The key indicator is Total Dissolved Solids, or TDS, which measures the concentration of minerals within water in milligrams per litre. Every water has a TDS, with ordinary tap water typically ranging from 20 to 40 mg/L TDS. For water to be called ‘mineral’ water it must have a TDS of 500 mg/L or more. Three Bays – considered to be a truly exceptional mineral water – has an astounding 1300 mg/L TDS.


In the US, the TDS ‘score’ of each water is gaining traction, largely due to high-profile US Netflix series Down To Earth. We’re proud to say in the 2nd episode the role of TDS was explained and the shows producers chose to highlight our natural mineral water (formerly known as Aqui-Live, now rebranded to Three Bays) as among the world’s finest examples for both taste and texture.


The host of Down To Earth, Hollywood actor Zac Efron, met with professional water sommelier and fine water judge Martin Riese to learn more about how TDS affects the taste, texture and health benefits of mineral water. As he pours a glass of Aqui-Live Still for Zac and fellow actor Anna Kendrick, Martin tells them: “This water is the olive oil of water. It’s a thick water.”


Three Bays, has among the highest concentration of minerals of any commercial mineral water at an outstanding 1300 mg/L TDS. Three Bays also packs in 23 of the 24 essential minerals required for health and wellbeing – the only known commercial water brand in the world to do so.


In fact, Three Bays has been recognised at the unofficial world championship for exceptional water, the Fine Water Awards, for the past 7 years as the world’s most unique water (tasted under our previous brand name, Aqui-Live). For such recognition to be afforded to a small producer based far from the epicentre of fine water in Europe – and to be awarded so often – is the greatest accolade for any mineral water brand.


In addition, both our Still and Sparkling varieties have also been awarded ‘gourmet’ status by France’s AVPA (Agency for the Valorization of Agricultural Products).  This is an acknowledgement that the Aqui-Live/Three Bays brand deservedly sits alongside the top echelon of products in a country famed above all others for its appreciation of gourmet produce.


Australian laws do not currently require a TDS statement on product packaging and – unlike most other countries – do not stipulate a minimum TDS for a product to describe itself as mineral water. “In Australia you can legally call a bottled water ‘mineral water’ without any minerals in the water whatsoever,” laments Olaf Lyche, who along with wife Dayle Purcell are the co-founders of Three Bays Mineral Water.


“The only rules that exist is that mineral water has to come from a unique, underground source, but it doesn’t specify mineral content. In America, you have to have TDS of at least 250mg/L in order for it to be labelled mineral water. In Europe, it’s 500 mg/L. In Australia there are several brands that call themselves a mineral water with a TDS of 40.


Making it rarer again, Three Bays flows from the earth as still water. “All high TDS waters in Europe come out of the ground already with CO2 in the water, which makes the water very acidic,” Olaf says. “Ours comes out still, and still with such a high TDS of 1300. That makes our water incredibly rare.”


And finally, Three Bays’ outstanding minerality is largely due to another truly unique attribute – it is one of only 8 commercially-available artesian mineral waters in the world. ‘Artesian’ means the water comes to the surface naturally, without drilling or pumping. In the case of Three Bays, it takes more than 2000 years to make the journey from an aquifer 900 metres below the ground and rise to the surface on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. This unique mineral water is created by the gentle pressure of the earth pushing it up through the rich soil of the Red Hill district, slowly infusing it with an abundance of minerals. At the surface it is simply collected and sent for bottling.


“It is an incredibly fortunate chain of events that we just happen to be on the receiving end of,” says Olaf. “Now we want to share this incredible and delicious product with everyone.