If you’ve ever dreamed of sipping from a mountain spring while safely ensconced in your cramped New York City apartment, do we have the machine for you! It’s called the All-in-One Drinks System. Designed by the London-based studio Future Facility for the Swiss company Lang, it filters and mineralizes water in the touch of a button, and it can brew tea, too.
No doubt, the machine is a bit mind-bending to behold. You fill an opaque pot with water, place it into a slot, hit a button, and presto, a clear, purified vase of water fills from the bottom up. From the bottom up! Part of me wants this machine just so I can hit that button again and again, blowing my children’s minds like a domestic David Blaine.
All its three major functions—filtering, mineralization, and flavoring—each require their own replaceable packs. It should be noted that you can make a lot of water out of the company’s proprietary charcoal reverse osmosis filters, which are rated to last up to two years. The refillable mineral packs you’ll need are good for 66 gallons of water. Then on top of that, there are flavor packs, like lemon and teas, that you can load preload into the machine, then swap between with an on-screen UI like a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine. Those flavors are good for a couple hundred cups apiece.
Perhaps the water itself really is delicious. Reverse osmosis filtering, which starts at a few hundred bucks for an under-the-sink model, is an industry standard to remove all sorts of contaminants and additives from water. Minerals actually do add distinct and pleasant flavors to water, too. Minerals are why that mountain stream water is so good in the first place!
If you’re a bottled-water devotee, the unit could save countless piles of plastic bottles in the long run. But . . . does it really? It’s easy to forget that, with some major exceptions, potable water pouring into your home is a miracle of modern infrastructure. Modern piping is only about 200 years old, and our not-so-distant ancestors would no doubt witness turning on the tap with as much wonder as turning on a light—or perhaps more. It’s easy to forget the effort that goes into purifying and delivering this water, or that your local water facility is adding minerals to your water for flavor already, or that some bottled waters have excessive mineral content for some health conditions.
Perhaps the All-in-One Drinks System does have a customer, whoever that person is, who is still downing endless bottles of Fiji in their living room ( . . . so, everyone in L.A. I guess?). But it really does appear to be a very high-end SodaStream or Juicero for most of us, requiring all sorts of flavoring packs that might not be as wasteful as a Keurig but are proprietary all the same. However, my bigger issue with the device is that it’s not just some premium water product. By its very nature, it calls into question the safety and quality of drinking water. Its very premise is to imply that your H20 is subpar, even when safe. And I don’t know. If you’re really that put off by the flavor of your city’s water, there’s always another option to spending $555 on a single-purpose water purifier and flavorer: a good old analog bag of tea, a leaf of mint, or a slice of lemon.