Metromint: What were they thinking?


Some friends gave me a bottle of spearmint Metromint as a gift. And as it turns out, it was a mean-spirited gift.

Let's look at that bottle. It calls itself "pure, simple mintwater®". What the heck is pure mintwater? Do you go to the local mintwater stream and collect it? Oh, wait, sorry. That should be mintwater®.

With some trepidation, I took a sip. Yuck-o. It's like drinking chewing gum. Why would anybody want this?

But wait, there's more. On the side of the bottle, there's a picture of a thermometer, and the mercury reads −6°, or "extra cool." Whatever that means. The bottle never explains.

On their benefits page, if you click through to "rehydrate", it says that "the good stuff in Metromint gets where it's going quicker, and goes to work faster." Huh? What's the scientific basis for this claim? Quicker than what? And the biggest mystery of them all: What part of Metromint is the "good stuff"? I haven't found it yet.

Whatever. My point is that this stuff is awful. And I'm not the only person who thinks so.

Comments (30)
  1. Cody says:

    I’m sure the marketdroids would say the "good stuff" part is the part where they make money off of (to quote Six-String) "nasty-… toilet water".

  2. MarkW says:

    Maybe with the additives, it freezes at -6° C? It’s half a kilogram of water, so that would be 1.6 moles of "good stuff" dissolved in the water. Which is quite a bit – call it at minimum 50 grams; 10% by weight.

  3. TravisO says:

    I’ve actually had the displeasure of buying this and drinking it.  You’ve been to kind on it, calling it drinking gum isn’t strong enough.

    I’d equate it to drinking a mint mouthwash, it darn near burns.  Or like drinking liquid Altoids(tm).

    Either way, perhaps they’ve never heard the phrase "hint o mint".  The amount of mint they put in 1 bottle would be enough to do 100 bottles.

  4. Gabe says:

    Based on my reading, Metromint doesn’t contain anything special to rehydrate you. It just implies that since it tastes so good, you’ll drink more, and thus rehydrate faster. The "good stuff" appears to just be water.

  5. Spire says:

    Hey, maybe the "−6°" is analogous to wind-chill factor: The mintwater® tastes six degrees cooler than regular water at the same actual temperature.

    (Six degrees on what scale, though? Kevin Bacon?)

  6. Eric Lippert says:

    Advertisers long ago realized that people like to hear multi-valued predicates with most of the values missing. People just subconsciously fill them in.

    My personal favourite is "Diet Dr. Pepper tastes more like regular Dr. Pepper".  "takes more like" is a four valued predicate, but there are only two values! It should be "Diet Dr. Pepper tastes more like regular Dr. Pepper than milk tastes like gasoline", or whatever.  

    Without the additional values the predicate becomes untestable and therefore not really a claim.

  7. Chad says:

    If you watch most television ads (especially beauty/hygiene/health-related products) with the same critical eye it seems they all make these weird empty claims. "x% better", "x% more" better than what, more than what?

  8. Chad says:

    EricLippert slipped that much better articulated comment in as I was posting mine…

  9. My favourite remains the good old orphan asterisk.

    You know – the package has something like "Lower Glycemic Index!*" on it. But, search as you might, you will never find anywhere on, in or under the package the second asterisk. So the question of what this particular product’s glycemic index is lower than will, forever, remain unanswered.

  10. David Walker says:

    Ha!  The Kevin Bacon scale!  I like that.

    Gets where it’s going faster… than mud.

  11. J says:

    But Brawndo’s got what plant’s crave.  It’s got electrolytes.

  12. Peruvian anonymous coward says:

    Ever been to Perú? Has anybody drunk Inka-Cola? It tastes like bubble gum (not mint, mind you) and is bright yellow; by bright yellow I mean non-natural-yellow, more like corn than like lemonade.

  13. Philo says:

    Tsk. Anyone who’s ever tried Orbitz:

    http://lanceandeskimo.com/chefelf/bev_orbitz.shtml (courtesy of the same site)

    wouldn’t think twice about drinking toothpaste.

  14. anonymous says:

    And I had some friends complaining when I presented them Aloe Vera juice. Obviously they never saw a real Aloe Vera plant and only knew the smell from hygienic products, which is why they didn’t like it. So long…

  15. Dean Harding says:

    Aloe Vera juice is delicious!

    I’m not sure I quite like the idea of "tangy Lemonmint and citrusy Orangemint" (is "citrusy" a real word?)

  16. nobodyman says:

    I saw this in our fridge the other day and couldn’t help but take a sip.    "Bah!  What is this [expletive deleted]!?"  I asked my wife.

    "Oh, that’s the stuff I use to rinse off my yoga mat.  Wait,  you actually *drank* some?" she laughed.

    She assured me that it was a new bottle and I was not in fact drinking reclaimed yoga-mat water.   However, in retrospect I wonder if that would make it taste any worse.  Foul stuff indeed.  

    And no, I have no idea why my wife’s yoga-mat water needs to be refrigerated.

  17. Max says:

    Internet advertisements tend to love orphan asterisks.

    "FREE* X!  CLICK HERE!"

    And there’s no clarification until you click through.

    Of course, by now, we all know anything that is FREE* is not free at all.

  18. Dave says:

    WholeFoods had a sale on this stuff 3 months ago. 4 bottles for $3. We still have 3 bottles left. Not even the kids (age 6 and under) drink it.

  19. ::Wendy:: says:

    Maybe your friends were telling you something subtle in an herbal language where the properties of mint,  which they gave you, are:

    carminative, stimulative, stomachic, diaphoretic and antispasmodic

    Have you been behaving more spasmodically than considered normal?

    "gets where it’s going quicker, and goes to work faster." this kind of phrasing has been noticed on laxatives in the UK.  What are your friends alluding to?

  20. Dean Harding says:

    "gets where it’s going quicker, and goes to work faster." this kind

    of phrasing has been noticed on laxatives in the UK.

    HA! That’s hilarious! I can see how it would make sense for a laxative, but not for "pure mintwater"…

  21. Cheong says:

    While I know a lot people who dislikes peppermint flavored things, I found having some after running relieves my breath.

    I enjoys peppermint chocolate drinks after sport. It’s just so cooooool! :)

  22. Steve says:

    I think the same idiots who smoke menthol cigarettes would like this.

  23. S says:

    Putting the ‘metro’ prefix on any brand name instantly renders it only cool enough for extremely hip, urban trendsetters (there are a few  example photos on the website) – The sort of people who don’t drink – they make an oral statement, brandwise.

    We work in IT (or we know someone who does). Metromint(tm)(r) just isn’t aimed at us. That’s why we think it tastes like crap. We are not worthy.

  24. Mark says:

    Now the challenge is to find an even sillier  water for you to drink! I’m thinking protein water! :)

  25. Stephen Jones says:

    —"My personal favourite is "Diet Dr. Pepper tastes more like regular Dr. Pepper".  "takes more like" is a four valued predicate, but there are only two values! It should be "Diet Dr. Pepper tastes more like regular Dr. Pepper than milk tastes like gasoline", or whatever.  

    Without the additional values the predicate becomes untestable and therefore not really a claim."—-

    It’s no more illogical than "I’m feeling better" is. Nobody asks who you’re feeling better than. "Diet Dr. Pepper tastes more like the real Dr. Pepper" than it did before, just as you are feeling better now than you were before.

    Or you can parse it, "Diet Doctor Pepper tastes more (like the real Dr. Pepper does))" where ‘more’ is used as a general intensifier (the equivalent of ‘has more taste’).

    The first of these two interpretations is testable, though why tasting like the real Dr. Pepper should be considered something you’d want to let on about I don’t know.

  26. Amon Houndsbreath says:

    "I think the same idiots who smoke menthol cigarettes would like this."

    As it happens, I enjoy both.

  27. Cody says:

    I believe that the statement "Diet Dr. Pepper tastes more like regular Dr. Pepper" implies the ending "than other diet sodas taste like their regular version" since a common complaint about diet soda is that it doesn’t taste like the regular version.

  28. anon says:

    Questionable Idea -> ???? -> Profit

  29. dakirw says:

    Here’s a link for the Cooking for Engineers blob:

    http://www.cookingforengineers.com/article.php?id=206&title=Fancy+Food+Show+Winter+2007

    Apparently, you’re lucky you didn’t get the Peppermint flavor – that’s even stronger! The Orangemint flavor is the best, according to the article.

  30. Igor says:

    Err, -6°C could be the proper serving temperature :)

    When we are at it, I have Diet and Light derivatives of all products. Have you noticed how they are never cheaper than the real thing? Hint, try decaffeinated coffee (yuck), it is actually more expensive and it doesn’t have the most important ingredient.

    Anyway, all diet and light junk stuff has Aspartame which is bad for health, it is 180 times stronger than regular sugar so it is much cheaper to transport, store in a warehouse and put in a drink.

    Btw, decaffeinated coffee shouldn’t be called coffee at all — it doesn’t have coffeine. Same way you can’t label a product as chocolate if it doesn’t have at least 30% of cocoa.

    Suggestion for reading:

    http://www.mouseprint.org/

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