Hands-on review: LANG remineralising water filter
Image credit: Lang
How well does this attempt by a Swiss ‘bottleless drinks company’ to give ordinary tap water an authentic Alpine taste work?
Some people buy bottled water occasionally, grudgingly, when they need a drink on the move. Others buy large quantities routinely, either because they prefer the taste or believe it is healthier than tap water.
If you want to kick your bottled water habit then LANG is one of a new breed of machines that promise to not just heavily filter tap water but also remineralise it, for a flavour claimed to rival that of bottled spring water.
At 35cm wide and 40cm deep, first impressions are that it’s imposing. It has a bigger footprint than pretty much any kitchen electrical apart from a freestanding microwave. It’s classy in white, but still when guests arrive they ask “what’s that?” rather than disregarding it. Despite the thoughtful design, it’s industrial enough that we’d rather have it behind a cupboard door or in a utility room than have it hog worktop space in plain sight. That said, if you drink bottled water at home then all those bottles take up a lot of space.
The entire back half of the machine is dedicated to three water filters: sediment, activated carbon and reverse osmosis. At the front, on the left you have a large jug for tap water (in) and a smaller one on the right to receive filtered water (out). In between are attractive, colour, touch-sensitive controls. A hatch on the top pops up for access to its two packets of Swiss salts and minerals (€19.95 total, enough to remineralise 250 litres of water) and a slot to insert an optional flavour pack. We tried two flavour packs: black tea concentrate and green tea concentrate, which make 240 and 280 cups respectively (€24.95 each). There’s also a natural lemon drink and other flavours are coming soon.
Filters are the priciest element, costing €100 for a full set, but they should last 2 years or 20,000 litres. The machine is self-cleaning.
Filtering water is loud, a deep humming sound: it doesn’t just drip, it’s pumped through the filters. It’s not fast: you can either filter a cupful in a minute or a 1 litre jugful in 4 minutes. We left it running and were impressed to see that it stops automatically when the jug is nearly full, rather than overflowing. The water tastes soft and pleasant, compared with London tap water. It tastes a lot like bottled spring water.
LANG can also dispense hot water to make your own drinks. Menus offer the choice or normal (which we measured as 73°C), hotter (78°C) or colder (56°C) hot water temperatures.
The flavour pack teas are fascinating. They aren’t brewed on the spot, they’re made by diluting a liquid concentrate. As a result, you can enjoy them hot or cold. You remove the right-hand jug and then the water outlet is pulled outwards, transforming into a spout to dispense drinks into a cup. It’s a neat design and a mug fits perfectly under the spout. Again, LANG stops automatically after serving a standard cupful, or you can tap the screen to stop it prematurely.
Cold green tea was a bit weird but the warm one was good. We expected something bitter or bland but it tasted very pleasant. You would have thought it was freshly brewed from tea leaves.
We were excited to try the black tea, to compare with a regular brew, but sadly the cartridge didn’t work on our review sample, despite repeated attempts. LANG just didn’t register it as being present. What’s more, the bottom of the tap water jug let out water onto the worktop.
The design is generally good, with just a few other quibbles. It’s annoying that the tap water jug isn’t transparent as you can’t tell how full it is without lifting the lid. And the display is hard to read in bright direct sunlight.
The non-working flavour pack was forgivable, but the fact that the bottom of the tap water jug leaked repeatedly was not. This was an early model and things will need fine-tuning before its official launch in autumn 2019.
Finally, there’s the environmental debate. Whether LANG is green or greenwash depends on your current drinking habits. If you drink bottled water at home then yes, LANG would reduce your carbon footprint as well as save you money. Its mineralised water costs around €0.10 per litre and saves not just on the environmental impact of making all those plastic water bottles (including the oil used in their manufacture) but also their transportation costs. But if you drink tap water... as you were.
Andrew James Hot Water Dispenser
Filtration isn’t of the same standard, and there’s no remineralisation, but this machine does feature a basic Aqua Ultima filter as well as dispensing hot water at your chosen temperature, between 55 and 100°C. It’s fast and energy efficient, producing a cup of boiling water in as little as 5 seconds.
Kinetico K5 Pure
Add a tap to your kitchen sink that delivers pure filtered water (sediment, carbon and reverse osmosis) fast. The Pure Plus model (£710) also features remineralisation for a superior taste, while the Pure Ultra (£880) filters out bacteria and viruses too.
From £655 kinetico.co.uk
The average cost of tap water in the UK is around 0.1p per litre and quality standards are very high. Experts consider it safe to drink and it’s far more environmentally friendly than bottled water. You’ll save plastic and food (ok, water) miles.
Nearly free! water.org.uk
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