Sobe Power: 8/10
This is a nice break from the artificial tastes of typical energy drinks. It’s a standard fruit punch flavor but there’s no aftertaste or any hint of additives. It’s a little on the sweet side, but at least that comes from natural sugar. Don’t rely on it for an energy spike because the additives are relatively minor and you’ll have a slight sugar crash. High marks for taste and natural ingredients.
Steaz Orange: 8/10
Steaz is going for an earthier approach to orange flavor with the addition of yerba mate. If you’ve had yerba mate you’ll know what I mean. I don’t like pure yerba mate (or some other green teas) because it tastes a little like grass. However, adding a touch of it to orange juice is a nice combination and balances the sweetness. There’s also a hint of acai, and it’s lightly carbonated. If you want something a little sweeter, Kaboom Orange doesn’t have any tea and tastes more like pure juice. Steaz is good for a change if you like yerba mate.
Emergen-C Health and Energy Water – Dragon Fruit: 7/10
Emergen-C is the strange cousin of Vitamin Water that’s quiet at the family reunions. It’s definitely more of an enhanced water than an energy drink, so if you need a powerful kick, look elsewhere. There are a few things you have to look past – it has a disconcerting pale yellow color, it smells a bit off, and it’s a little thicker than water should be. If you ignore that, it has a nice, subtle fruit flavor and 16 times the vitamins. Seriously – up to 1660% of the daily value of some vitamins like Vitamin C, hence its name. It also has “Okinawa Deep Sea Minerals,” whatever that means. (They might be the culprit for the thickness.) A bottle was pretty cheap and it’s one of the healthiest options I’ve reviewed, while still offering a little sweetness. Worth a shot.
Sobe Energy: 8/10
There’s a hint of creaminess to go with the citrus flavor. The citrus is mostly orange but you can taste some others that add a bit of depth. (The label says lemon, cherry, and elderberry.) It’s definitely on the sweet side since they added sugar to the fruit juice – 66g per bottle total. That’s usually not necessary if you’re using good juice. Otherwise, it’s good – mostly natural, smooth, and the creaminess is a great addition.
Red Bull Sugar Free: 4/10
Tastes like Rockstar Sugar Free, but a little less sweet, so it’s not like being hit in the face with a five pound bag of Smarties. That’s a good thing, and it gains a whole point for it, but this is still very run of the mill. I suppose I should have expected that with Red Bull being one of the original energy drinks. If you want to imagine the taste, just water down some sour Smarties. On the plus side, they carve a bull out of the can’s tab. (Not worth it.)
Rockstar Juiced – Guava: 6/10
So close and yet so far away. This could be really good if it weren’t so carbonated and sticky. The flavor is nice – the guava itself is soothing – but the artificial texture throws it off. It also tastes worse and worse as it warms up. I have to give this drink some credit – it’s much better than the other Juiced flavor, mango/orange/passionfruit. I’ll save that for another review, to be written when I’m depressed.
Vitamin Water 10 – Energy: 8/10
Very light and refreshing citrus flavor. The difference between Vitamin Water and Vitamin Water 10 is that the newer 10 version uses stevia as a sweetener instead of sugar. This gives it less calories, a sweeter taste, and (unfortunately) a little bit of sweet aftertaste. High marks for taste and health benefit, but I have to take away a couple points because of the slight aftertaste and because I wish the citrus were a bit more pronounced.