Why Is Sparkling Water Bitter?

  • By: Jan Helge
  • Date: July 18, 2023
  • Time to read: 5 min.

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Sparkling water may taste bitter because of the carbonic acid present in it. The bitter taste may also be due to additives such as sodium salts, contamination of the carbon dioxide or water during carbonation, and bacteria infestation after the water has been opened. 

Do you ever get that weird, slightly bitter taste in your mouth when you drink sparkling water? It’s a pretty common experience, but it’s still kind of strange. Why does sparkling water taste bitter? There are a few possible explanations.

In this blog post, I will discuss some of the most likely reasons why sparkling water tastes bitter. I will also provide some tips for avoiding or minimizing bitterness. Let’s get started:

Why Is Sparkling Water Bitter?

First, before I answer this question, we need to know how sparkling water is made. Sparkling water is created by adding carbon dioxide to still water. The carbon dioxide reacts with the water to create carbonic acid.

Like most acids, carbonic acid has a sour taste. However, it can also have a bitter taste depending on the concentration of the acid. If the carbonic acid is too concentrated, it will taste bitter.

So, one possible reason why sparkling water is bitter is that the carbonic acid is too concentrated. This can happen if the sparkling water has been sitting out for a long time or if it was made with too much carbon dioxide.

However, there are a few other possible explanations for the bitterness.

7 Possible Explanations why Sparkling Water Tastes Bitter

Here are some of the possible explanations for the bitter taste of sparkling water:


If, for instance, the carbon dioxide used during the carbonation process had been contaminated with other chemicals, these could impart a bitter taste to the sparkling water.

The water used may also contain impurities that can contribute to the bitter taste. This is more likely if the sparkling water was made with tap water instead of filtered or distilled water.

Too Much Carbon Dioxide

As I mentioned, carbonic acid is created when carbon dioxide is added to water. If too much carbon dioxide is used, the resulting sparkling water will be more acidic and taste bitter.

This is why it’s important to use the proper amount of carbon dioxide when carbonating water. If you’re using a sparkling water maker at home, make sure to follow the instructions carefully.

Old Sparkling Water

If sparkling water is left out for too long, it can go flat. When this happens, the carbon dioxide escapes from the water, leaving behind a more concentrated solution of carbonic acid. This can make the sparkling water taste bitter.

To avoid this, it’s important to store sparkling water in a sealed container and to consume it within a few days of opening.


In some cases, bacteria can cause sparkling water to taste bitter. This is more likely to happen if the water used to make the sparkling water was contaminated or if you opened the water too long ago and you didn’t store it properly.

To avoid this, make sure to use clean, filtered water when carbonating your own sparkling water at home. You also want to store opened sparkling water properly.

Excesses of Other Minerals

Another possibility is that there are excess minerals in the water used for carbonation. In general, hard water will produce more mineral deposits in the final product. These can make sparkling water taste bitter.

Minerals such as calcium and magnesium can contribute to the bitter taste. If you live in an area with hard water, you may want to use distilled water when carbonating your own sparkling water at home.


It is important to note that some sparkling waters may contain additives that can make them taste bitter. For instance, many sparkling waters contain sodium citrate, which can add a sour or bitter taste.

To avoid this, you can purchase sparkling water that is labeled “unsweetened” or “no added flavors.” You can also carbonate your own water at home using a sparkling water maker. This way, you can control what goes into your sparkling water.

Type of Sparkling Water

Some types of sparkling water taste more bitter than others. For instance, club soda and tonic water are both more likely to taste bitter than seltzer water. This is because they contain more minerals and/or additives.

Sparkling mineral water and seltzer, on the other hand, are less likely to taste bitter. This is because they are made with pure water and do not contain any additives.

When choosing sparkling water, keep in mind that some types are more likely to taste bitter than others. If you’re sensitive to the bitter taste, you may want to stick with seltzer or sparkling mineral water.

How to Reduce the Bitter Taste in Sparkling Water

There are a few things you can do to reduce the bitter taste of sparkling water. One option is to add a slice of lemon or lime to your glass of sparkling water. This can help to neutralize some of the bitter flavors.

Another possibility is to dilute the sparkling water with regular tap water. This will make the sparkling water less concentrated and may help to reduce the bitter taste.

Finally, you can try adding a sweetener such as sugar, honey, or syrup to your sparkling water. This can help to mask the bitter flavors.

Can I Still Drink Sparkling Water if It Tastes Bitter?

Yes, you can still drink sparkling water even if it tastes bitter. However, you want to make sure the reason it is tasting bitter is not that it is contaminated. If the sparkling water is old or has been stored improperly, it may be best to avoid drinking it.

Check labels carefully before purchasing sparkling water to make sure there are no added flavors or sweeteners if you don’t want any. You can also carbonate your own water at home using a sparkling water maker. This way, you can control what goes into your sparkling water and avoid any bitter surprises.

Final Thoughts

I hope I have answered your question, “Why is sparkling water bitter?” As you can see, there are a few possible explanations. In most cases, the bitter taste is not harmful and you can still drink the sparkling water.

Related Topics:
What Does Sparkling Water Taste Like?

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