Traditional wisdom says to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. But what kind of water? With an embarrassment of hydration options, both in our homes and on the market, the choice can be paralyzing. It doesn’t help that, in the wake of contamination crises and scarcity caused by natural disasters, most of us are aware like never before of the vital importance of clean water.

Most of us judge the cleanliness and healthiness of our water based on what tastes good to us. If you’re fine with what comes out of your faucet, then that’s what you drink — maybe you even proclaim its virtues to your out-of-state friends. (We’re looking at you, New York.) If you don’t like the taste, though, or you’ve been freaked out by stories of bacteria, pathogens, heavy metals, and even micro plastics swimming around in your municipal water system, you might want to use a home water filter to ensure that you’re drinking H2O in its purest form.

But even ultra-filtration can’t make water more refreshing. Once you’ve passed the cleanliness bar and found something that doesn’t taste metallic or stale, you’ve got the numinous X factor — does this water quench my thirst? If your water doesn’t make you run back for another 8-ounce glass, or if you’re just drinking the bare minimum before resorting to soda, juice, or tea to wet your whistle, it’s time you met Mitte.

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We have to be honest — we were first attracted to the Mitte water filter by its pretty looks. Cube-shaped, sleekly minimalist, and fitted with a natural wood dispensing knob, the filtration machine looks a lot nicer sitting on the countertop than the cumbersome plastic pitcher filters we’re used to. But when we investigated, we found some serious brains behind the beauty.

Built by a Berlin-based startup team of engineers, Mitte is as high-performing and ultra-efficient as you’d expect from the country that gave us Mercedes-Benz, the Deutsche Bahn railway company, and watchmaker A. Lange & Sohne. It uses a proprietary distillation technology inspired by the natural water cycle (where water flows through rocks) to remove contaminants and add trace elements for your health. The result is water that is 60 times cleaner than what’s achieved by simple filtration, and 5 times cleaner than the product of reverse osmosis systems.

Need the nitty gritty? The World Health Organization measures water purity by the amount of Total Dissolved Solids, or TDS, it contains. The smaller the TDS value, the purer the water. Distilled water has a TDS of 1 ppm while water filtered in a Mitte comes close with a TDS value of 3 ppm.

But it gets even cooler than that. While other water filtration devices remove beneficial minerals along with contaminants, Mitte enhances your water with natural minerals that are essential to human health. You can choose from three mineral cartridges that offer different combinations and varying levels to suit your health needs as well as your taste preferences. The Vitality cartridge helps athletes and party animals hydrate and recover electrolytes quickly. The Balance cartridge is great for people with sensitive digestion, as well as families with small children. The Alkaline cartridge helps restore the body’s pH balance and purify it with antioxidants.

If you’ve used a Brita filter or a reverse osmosis system, you’ve probably had that moment where the taste is a little “off,” making you wonder whether something is broken. Mitte filters require no guesswork. If one part of the machine breaks down, no water comes out — simple as that. And no need to wonder when it’s time to replace the cartridge. The Mitte app will monitor your current cartridge usage, send you notifications when it’s getting time to order more, and even set up automatic ordering of new cartridges based on your individual usage.

Best of all, the Mitte filter has a conscience. Along with being the most energy efficient countertop distiller in the market, the Mitte machine tracks your in-home water use for charitable purposes. With every liter Mitte dispenses, a donation is made through Water.org to a water project in developing countries. In other words, you drinking clean water from a Mitte means somebody else gets to drink clean water, too.

The only potential downside of the Mitte is the length of time it takes. The machine can purify one liter every two hours, with a max of about 3 gallons per day. Makes sense — it takes some time to get all the nasty bits out and all the good stuff in. But on the upside, Mitte’s purification process is always ongoing to ensure a ready supply of drinking water. And the system’s smart sensors will alert you when you need to refill the input water tank to keep the 4-liter storage tank going so that you’re never left thirsty.

The Mitte mineralizing water filter is in its final stages of production. Until then, sign up for their mailing list to get first notice of the product’s official launch. You can also keep your appetite whetted (see what we did there?) by following Mitte’s journey on Instagram and on their blog.

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