Water tasting: the hottest new way to sip and spit?

Each year Wellington on a Plate encourages diners to step out of their comfort zone and try something new.

But one event this year is hoping to put a new spin on something we have every single day - water.

Wellington's Avida Bar put on the event and manager Stephen Morris says it's not that different from your average wine tasting, beer tasting, or coffee tasting.

"It's not as easy as Sauvignon Blanc, where you've got little white flowers, passionfruit, and asparagus. But there are still differences," he told Newshub.

Avida invited twenty open-minded punters - and one slightly confused Newshub Late reporter, to blind-taste six different types of H2O.

"What I've done is got all of the waters in the same sort of bottles, all the glasses have been cleaned this morning in the same dishwasher. Everything is completely the same, except for the water," says Morris.

The waters came from Petone, Waikanae, Whakatane, France, Italy - and the Avida filter, with guests asked to write down notes, and see if they could guess which was which.

Participant Shannon Gillies was able to pick one instantly based on bad memories from the airport.

"One I put down as Evian because I found it disappointing," she says.

Ben Wineke was keen to see which waters might go well with his morning coffee extraction.

"How many did I get? Gosh, probably none of them, but I gave it the ol' college try!" he says.

The event cost $45 but Ben Cline and Laura Dyhrberg said it stood out for them in the WOAP programme.

"We thought that it would kind of be just a fun jokey thing to do, but the last laugh is on us because we can't taste water to save our lives," says Cline.

Morris is encouraging people to appreciate the unique flavour profiles of water from different places.

"So often we don't taste everyday things with any sort of interest. We just drink or eat and we don't pay any attention," he says.

While he was on-hand to help stumped tasters, he was careful not to steer them too far towards one flavour.

"You've always got to be careful, especially with wine tasting as well, with auto-suggestion. If you say passionfruit everyone goes 'oh yeah, I get passionfruit too!'"

Water is big business, and some bars and restaurants are starting to get their own water sommeliers - as clued up on H2O as their colleague might be on wine. But Morris says his degustation is meant to be light-hearted.

"Maybe it is bonkers. If it is bonkers, then the bottled water industry is a sham. Is that what we're gonna see? I don't know; let's look at it with an open mind."

There is a bit of science behind it - all waters have different minerals like calcium or magnesium that have dissolved over time, affecting the water's taste.

"I could taste chemicals, and saltiness, and sweetness. It was interesting," says participant Nikki Wright, who scored a session-best four out of six.

As for my thoroughly un-educated guesses, while I could definitely taste subtle differences I still got zero out of six - and a desperate need to go to the bathroom.