Tehuacán Brillante is a brand that’s a little hard for us to get a good read on. Their website is pretty thin on content, opting instead to hammer their tagline A Natural Chill ad nauseum.
Here’s what we do know:
At 18,491 feet, the dormant volcano Citlaltépetl, or Pico de Orizaba, towers above the Tehuacán Valley in central Mexico, the highest volcanic peak in North America, and home to the largest glacier in Mexico. (Si, Mexico tiene glaciers!)
This combination of glacial majesty and volcanic minerality has made Citlaltépetl the epicenter of Mexican mineral water for untold aeons, Topo Chico’s bubbling springs in Nuevo Leon not withstanding. Peñafiel, probably the most ubiquitous mineral water in Mexico, started drawing its water from Citlaltépetl in 1928.
Tehuacán Brillante, also sourced from Citlaltépetl, was founded in 1983 and launched in the US in 2019, probably attempting to ride the coattails of Topo Chico’s rapid expansion across El Norte after being acquired by Coca Cola.
Which is great! The more Mexican Mineral Water in the Bubbleverse the merrier, and so we say adelante, Tehuacán.
The label also informs us that the springs of Tehuacán is “The Place of Gods”, and we’ll see what kind of natural chill that is, since based on the legend and lore of Mexican gods, we haven’t noticed a ton of chill.
Moctezuma’s Mineral Water Tour of 1520
It seems like every brand of mineral water in Mexico has a legend of Moctezuma bathing in or drinking from their crystalline springs, either to heal an illness or prepare to fight Cortez.
We’re not archeologists here at the Bubbleverse, so we can’t vouch for the veracity of these stories, but we do like to imagine Moctezuma as a sparkling water aficionado, holding the still-beating heart of a human sacrifice in one hand and pounding a Topo Chico with the other.
Either way, however it actually went down, these sacred springs are now commodified and purchasable on Amazon, an all-too-familiar tale since the arrival of Cortez.
But the gods’ loss is our gain, so let’s crack open this bottle of Tehuacán and see if we can find our natural chill.
We bought the lime flavor first (we’ll be updating this review as we try all the other flavors, which include grapefruit and tamarind (!), as well as an unflavored original.)
The nose on this one is extremely lime-forward, and it’s unabashedly a Key Lime.
As you guzzle the nectar of the gods, the Key Lime continues into your mouth. It’s bright and bold. This is a wild Lime. This is not the subtle, contemplative citrus of its mineral brethren Topo Chico Twist of Lime. Instead, this veers much closer to LaCroix’s Key Lime or Waterloo’s Lemon-Lime. Bright, salvaje, a Lime painted in bold, cartoonish colors.
But before you go thinking that this is a full on Mexican dessert, suddenly the technicolor lime is mercifully tempered by a welcome mineral saltiness.
The intensity of the lime is probably necessary to cut through the natural minerality of this water. The mouthfeel is thick. The salinity is salty. You truly are drinking the love child of a glacier and a volcano. It’s as if a lime wave crested into your mouth leaving nothing but a salty residue on the shores of your tongue.
We weren’t able to track down a water analysis for Tehuacán, although we did reach out to them to ask if it was available, so stay tuned on that. But in the meantime, we can look at Penafiel’s mineral content to get what’s probably a pretty similar (seeing as how they come from the same mountain) picture of what’s in here.
Peñafiel’s water is actually the most mineral-heavy out of all the major mineral waters, clocking in at 880 ppm total dissolved solids! Compare that with Topo Chico’s 630 ppm, or even San Pelligrino’s 860 ppm.
It’s also got almost three times the Sodium and twice as much Chloride as Topo Chico, making this one of the saltiest (probably the saltiest) mineral water on the market.
And you can tell: this is a thick, crystalline, slightly-salty water.
Tehuacán states that their water is “infused with effervescence,” meaning it’s artificially carbonated. Topo Chico is also artificially carbonated, to some extent at least, although they claim that the springs have natural carbonation as well. It’s unclear if there’s any natural carbonation happening with Tehuacán at the source, but probably not.
Which does make some sense to us. As we noted in our Perrier Lime deep dive, while there is natural carbonation at their source, the water has to get upended at the factory to remove impurities, and then it gets put back together (and re-carbonated) before it makes it to you, the discerning sparkling water guzzler. It’s possible the same factors are at play here.
Tehuacán’s bubbles are tight and soft, but really crisp and refreshing, balancing the minerality really well. They’re not as aggressive as Topo Chico’s, which we’re sure is due to the high concentration of Natural Chill in here.
So does this give the Natural Chill we were promised?
Well as far as we know there’s no CBD in here, and we’re sort of miffed that there’s something about the inscrutability of what’s actually in the water, but if we take it all at face value and don’t think to hard on it, we are indeed pretty content, dare we say chill, about what’s going on with this Tehuacán Brillante.
We’ll be repeat customers.
Natural Mineral Spring Water from Tehuacán, Natural Lime Flavor, Carbon Dioxide