What exactly is maple water? With all the hype surrounding it lately, I’ve been dying to know. It’s been dubbed ‘the next Coconut Water,’ touted for possible nutritional benefits and praised for its sweet, subtle taste. It didn’t take all that much convincing for me to get interested though. To be honest, my thought process was more like “What’s not to like? Syrupy waffles? Good! Pancakes? Good! It only makes sense to explore this maple water thing, too.” So what is it exactly? Maple water is the pure, pasteurized form of maple syrup. Basically, before that sweet maple syrup drenches your pancakes, it’s tapped from a tree. That thinner, watery sap that first escapes from the bark is called maple water. The maple syrup that we’re accustomed to is made from the step that comes next – when that sap is boiled down to a thicker, sticky substance. Having a new natural beverage option intrigues me. The way I see it—the more, the merrier. Anything beats a can of soda! I’ll pass on those chemicals, thanks. So what do we know about maple? Maple syrup has been studied by the University of Rhode Island and is known to provide more than 20 compounds linked to human health. Additionally, it is rich in nutrients like thiamine, manganese and zinc. Fun fact – just one ounce of the real syrupy stuff contains 46% DV of manganese, a known antioxidant. That’s a mouthful, but exciting when I think about another reason to get a little crazy with my pancakes. The University study goes on to reveal that real maple syrup contains phenolics, the beneficial class of antioxidant compounds also found in berries. Researchers think these phenolics could also be in maple water, just in a lower concentration—bonus points! I see maple water as a sweet victory for natural drinks, adding just one more option to their arsenal. I’ll give it a go knowing that maple syrup is surprisingly healthier than I originally thought. While they aren’t the same thing, here’s hoping that the apple, or in this case, the maple water, doesn’t fall too far from the tree. ;) Cheers!