21.10.15

A new ‘tree water’ trend is growing in the UK

Birch water, a drink that is harvested from wild birch trees by «tapping» the trunks during spring thaw, is

the latest drinks craze to hit the UK.

It follows in the wake of exploding demand for coconut water, which is now worth £100m in the UK alone.

Like coconut water, birch sap is packed with electrolytes, which are believed to boost hydration.

Whereas coconut water has a high sugar — and therefore calorie — content, birch water contains Xylitol, a

natural, zero-calorie sweetener, and carries just 5 calories per 100ml, four times less than coconut water.

Birch water — or sap — has been drunk for centuries in China, Russia, Ukraine and the Nordic and Baltic

countries, and was favoured by the Vikings.

It is believed to have several medicinal properties, and is used for eliminating toxins such a uric acid, which

causes gout, as well as reducing cellulite and treating liver disease, among other applications.

People want less sugar in their diet, so it’s a good alternative with the same all-natural hydration benefits.»

Birch sap can only be collected for three weeks of the year, at the beginning of spring.

«The birch water is what wakes the tree up after winter,

The water triggers blooming, and stops after the first leaf appears.»

While tapping the tree is straightforward — a small hole is made and the sap dribbles out through a tap — the

birch water must be collected daily to prevent it spoiling.

Only mature trees — more than 30 years old — can be tapped.

Tapping a tree removes around 1pc of birch sap and has not been shown to harm the tree or curtail its

growth, as long as the hole is plugged after tapping to avoid infection.

This new «superwater» is part of a growing «tree water» category, which includes maple water, now a huge

market in the US.

One of the benefits of birch water is that is can be tapped locally — the trees grow wild all over the world.

«UKRAINIAN ECOLOGICAL GROUP» plans to create a network of local farmers to reduce the transport costs,

and make the product as environmentally friendly as possible.

21.10.15