Before Efron took the rest of the episode to France (where he puts a spotlight on the country's uniquely sustainable system of reusable water bottles and public water fountains), he stopped at a French restaurant called Petit Ermitage in Los Angeles, where he got a special presentation from water sommelier Martin Riese, who gave his entire party a lesson on water, and an accompanying taste test. The biggest takeaway? Stay away from "Purified" water.
"When it says purified water, or distilled water on the label, I would never touch that," he tells a confused Kendrick. "That means it's nothing other than actually boiled up tap water. I'm always saying 'When water's 'pure,' don't drink it.'"
He goes on to describe that water needs minerals, such as magnesium and potassiumthings that help your body function and make it healthier. And when you drink purified water that doesn't have those minerals, your body is still looking for them. So you're losing minerals from the rest of your body because the water you're ingesting doesn't have any. Complicated stuff, but makes a lot of sense.
"Okay, my mind is actually blown," Kendrick says, turning to see if Efron and Olien were as flabbergasted as she wasbut they say they already knew.
After a little more battering of the "purified water" racket ("the worst thing on planet earth"), Riese walks Efron, Olien, and Kendrick through different kinds of waters, and their corresponding TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) level. The trio tries a number of different waters, from different countries from and different compositions (some have "champagne"-like sparkling qualities). One water from Australia, with a TDS of 1,300, is described as "the olive oil of water," and a "thick water."
"It annoys me that this is so good," Kendrick says. "Because I don't know how to describe it, but it tastes so strong."
"Water has a flavor, for sure," Efron says. "It's a watery flavor."
The segment continues and the trio run through numerous different waters, including one that Riese eventually says isn't even for hydration, but for medicationit's mineral content is that high.
For as outrageous as it all sounds, it's really rather interesting and educational to learn so much about different waters in a show hosted by the guy who once starred in High School Musical and Neighbors. Everyone has seen and heard about mineral waters before, but how many people watching Down to Earth knew what it actually meant? A lot of people are making themselves healthier just by clicking play on Netflix and learning. And if you're stunned that a "water sommelier" exists, well, you are certainly not alone:
Okay so I just found out that water sommelier is an actual job and I kinda feel a sense of purpose all of a sudden Spaceman Spliff (@aaron_dav1s)
Watching @AnnaKendrick47 and @ZacEfron doing a tasting of water with an actual water sommelier. Im jealous. Ive always been a water snob and now I feel justified. HamilPeep (@HamilPeep)
Just found out theres such thing as a water sommelier, so my bougie ass obviously feels the need to become a water connoisseur Pierce Gillette (@SweetAsPierce)
Riese himself maintains an active presence on Twitter, and has been embracing his newfound status as a widely known water expert.
And his message about staying away from purified water is as strong on social media as it is in person (and when speaking to Zac Efron).
So, kids, we do have an important takeaway from all of this: if you think different waters taste different, well, you're probably right. And those different tastes are probably because different waters are having different impacts on your body. And when you see some fancier waters in whatever store you're picking up lunch, or groceries, or whatever, it might be a good idea to take a look at the label and remember what you learned from Zac Efron, Anna Kendrick, and the first-ever water sommelier.