Since last April, shoppers at L.A.'s Sprouts Farmers Markets may have noticed a bizarre new product moving in next to the coconut water. Its name? Maple water. Yes, maple as in Canada's leafy flag. And water as in that basic life-giving liquid, which we've been hyping for the last few years with supposedly healthy additives such as electrolytes, chia seeds, vitamins and sugar.
The maple water trend began on the East Coast (presumably because of its proximity to actual maple trees), but producers with names including Vertical Water, DrinkMaple and Happy Tree are all available now in L.A. to provide those seeking yet another alternative water source with a new way of drinking water with sugar in it.
So what is maple water? It is exactly what it sounds like ... well, sort of. Yes, it's sugar water that comes from maple trees. No, it's not water with some maple syrup thrown in.
Maple water is the sap that flows out of the maple tree in order to replenish the tree as the winter season comes to a close. Maple trees produce watery sap, as opposed to the sticky, glue-like sap that immediately comes to mind. Maple sap is the raw ingredient in maple syrup, which, once boiled down, produces that glorious pancake elixir. Now you can have all the pre-syrup water your heart desires — some producers even promote its alleged nutritional qualities.
DrinkMaple claims that maple water contains "46 naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, antioxidants and prebiotics." Since maple water comes about as a rejuvenating source of nutrients for the tree after winter, the idea is that maple water does good for the human body as well.
However, the product — whether from DrinkMaple or otherwise — has yet to be on the market long enough for scientists to really tackle the actual nutritional value of maple water. So it may be smart to keep those eyebrows raised until you learn exactly how "healthy" this natural sugar water is.
Drinking maple water is, again, exactly what you would expect ... sort of. With a faint yet noticeable maple sweetness, maple water also renders a surprising dryness — an unexpected quality when drinking water. Compared to coconut water, the water alternative du jour, maple water does have its pros.
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With fewer calories (roughly 15 per serving) and half the sugar of coconut water, you may be tempted to call your dietician to talk tree sap after reading this. Whether it tastes better than coconut water, aloe vera water or whatever other alternative water out there is for you to decide.
Is maple water here to replace coconut water? Who knows. Is it here to replace tap water? Unlikely. Is it here to add a little sugary spring in your step? Certainly.