Local innovator creates product that changes the mineral profile of water

By Christy Nadalin
Posted 2/27/21

Daniel Starr-Tambor never planned to start a food business, but things don’t always go as planned.

In 2011, Daniel, a New York native, and his wife Ashley, a Providence native, purchased an …

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Local innovator creates product that changes the mineral profile of water


Daniel Starr-Tambor never planned to start a food business, but things don’t always go as planned.

In 2011, Daniel, a New York native, and his wife Ashley, a Providence native, purchased an old blacksmith shop near the edge of a quiet stream in Grafton, Vermont. They had only lived there a month when Hurricane Irene hit New England with devastating results in several southern Vermont communities. The stream on their property, suddenly a raging river, swept their home and all their possessions away.

The community set them up in a vacant house for the winter, where they spent about 6 months before moving back to Providence. “Every night we’d sneak into this adjacent inn with this espresso maker,” said Daniel. The couple couldn’t sleep anyway, and the espresso brought back memories of a wonderful trip to Rome the previous spring before.

Still, it wasn’t the same.

“I asked why the espresso didn’t taste as good as it did in Rome and my wife said ‘it’s in the water.’ That was a lightbulb moment,” said Daniel.

He said it took a couple of years to figure it all out, but he had hit on an interesting idea: what if he could analyze the mineral profiles of the water in several cities and use that to create an additive to purified water that would allow people to mimic the water in a certain city, from anywhere in the world?

“Surprisingly, the minerals are all the same,” said Daniel. “They are calcium, potassium, magnesium, and sodium in varying proportions.”

With the help of friends and family scattered around the world, he was able to have water samples analyzed for the contents of each of these minerals.

Daniel is a musician, something that comes as a surprise to people who expect him to explain that his invention sprung from a background in chemistry. But as he sees it, there’s nothing incongruous about that.

“I love science, I love math, to me it’s all the same. If you understand music you understand the universe.”

Among his original compositions is one, Mandala, that proves just that.

“Each note is based on the revolution of each planet in the solar system,” he said. “Sped up 24 octaves, each one repeats at a tempo aligned with it’s own rotation and it creates a fugue, the patters that it forms are the same. And if it continues, it will be 2.8 nonillion years before repeating.”

“So that means that the patterns of our universe, were they to stay constant, would create a palindrome.”

What’s a nonillion? That’s 30 zeros. Even Daniel can’t put that number into context, beyond explaining that it’s many times over the life expectancy of the universe.

Coming back to earth — and its minerals — the concept behind TapDrops and its many applications is science, not science fiction, and it’s not a new concept, either. Terroir, a French term used to describe the environmental factors that affect a crop, is generally used in reference to wines and cheese, but it applies here. By thinking in terms of the foods and drinks that developed in a certain place, in makes sense that they would have developed in concert with the mineral profile of the water — something that doesn’t really change over time since that profile comes from the very land. Terroir is nothing new to gastronomy — though the ability to apply it to water and bottle it certainly is.

Vienna is a favorite for coffee (Rome’s mineral profile is actually more robust, and better suited for espresso). London’s, predictably, is perfect for tea. “I know people that come here from England and bring their tea with them, then complain it doesn’t taste the same,” said Daniel. “London drops take care of that.” If you prefer green tea, try Tokyo drops — or Morocco, if mint tea is your thing. Other regions include Paris, Munich, New York, Sardinia, and Pilsen. Daniel has also produced a line that are applied in a 3-step process that are most suitable for cooking, baking and brewing, as well as a couple of varieties that are meant to supplant favorite bottled waters like Fiji and Poland Springs. Plain water formulas replicate bicarbonates sulfates and chlorides as well as minerals, so they are not ideal for coffee machines because bicarbonates cause scaling to coffee machines.

The differences between the cities can be subtle or less so — according to Daniel, the cities in Central Europe are most similar to each other, while Tokyo and New York have surprisingly similar mineral profiles. Casablanca and Sardinia are the most mineral rich, while still-in-development Ethiopia is similar to San Francisco — both regions known for their unique types of sourdough breads.

For each formula (not including the 3-step varieties), you add 1 milliliter of TapDrops to each cup of water; you will get 60 cups of water out of each small bottle. Distilled water should be used if you want it to be perfect but a good quality filtered water also works well.

Locally, a couple of varieties of TapDrops are available at InkFish in Warren; most of Daniel’s sales are online, and he is shipping product all around the country based on word of mouth advertising. Admittedly, it’s not a product people are liable to impulse-buy at the Whole Foods checkout. “People are definitely skeptical at first,” said Daniel. “It does take a bit of explanation, but once people get it, they’re hooked.”

For more information, visit tapdrops.com.


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