In theory, you shouldn't need a water filter at all if you live in New York City. We've got some damn fine water, as far as municipal water goes. But it's still a nice feeling to know it's extra pure. Up until a month ago, I had a large Brita water filter. I dutifully changed the plastic filters on time, even though it made me feel wasteful, turning in the used ones at Whole Foods. But the whole thing started to get gross. I scrubbed it down, using every non-toxic cleaner in my arsenal to combat the mold. Still, whenever I poured myself water, after peering through the glass at mysterious, floating impurities, I would chuck it. Say it with me: ew. I was offered the chance to try Kishu just in time. Kishu is a branch of activated charcoal kiln-fired from branches of sustainably harvested oak trees. It absorbs toxins in tap water, like lead, mercury, cadmium, copper and chlorine, and imparts calcium, potassium, magnesium, and phosphates. That's important, since our tap water can pick up lead as it enters old pipes in the city and makes it way to your tap. While the latest New York City Drinking Water report indicated that there is no mercury or cadmium in the water, there is small amounts of copper, and chlorine is added to the water to sterilize it. What I'm trying to say, is that Kishu is a valuable thing to add to your water. Each stick last four months, then can be composted, reused as deodorizer your refrigerator, or broken up and mixed with the soil in the garden. So far I've had my stick in my pitcher for a couple weeks, and I'm happy with the result. The water tastes fresh, and there are no little black things floating around in my water, as often happens with a Brita pitcher. It's easier than a Brita--you just drop it in there. I feel good that I'm not buying any plastic to filter my water. Plus, it has a minimalistic, Japanese, sophisticated look to it. You can buy at Amazon.