Purchased at: Grocery Outlet (Lacey)
Price: $2.00/4 pack
Marisa’s Take: You are special. Yes you, dear reader. Mr. Rogers said it. Oprah says it. And now a canned sparkling fruit beverage is saying it. Me Sparkling Beverages, made by “Juice Creations Company”, are another addition to the exploding “healthy soda” trend and they want to make you feel good about it. The following is the statement plastered on every can:
“You are many different things rolled into a one-of-a-kind individual. You can be energetic, reflective, outgoing, moody, surprising, and unashamed. You don’t fit a category – you are unique. Now there is a beverage as natural and refreshing as you. Welcome to the new me.”
Apparently you do fit a category (well, flavors) because Me features only four of them: “Uninhibited” (Pink Grapefruit) “Vivacious” (Tangerine Pineapple), “Unavailable” (Dragonfruit Blackberry) Curious (Blueberry Lime). With alluring names like that and only 70 calories a can, we figured we had to try all four. Plus the employee at Grocery Outlet let me mix and match the four pack of flavors so I got them all for two bucks.
Ben’s Take: Batched micro-reviews are pretty much the best reviews when you’re short on time and energy. They let me just blurt out the first thing that comes to mind and move on to the next one. I don’t know if you guys care much for ‘em but they’re definitely an easy way to clear out our product box and simplify my photo work flow when we’re both buried in real life.
Uninhibited: Ben: If my inhibitions had a flavor I would expect them to taste kind of salt and disappointment. Sort of like this grapefruit flavor. I normally love grapefruit flavored beverages, even ones that aren’t hypersweet like Fresca (Oh how I love the Fresca) so I was pretty excited when Marisa cracked this one open and the aroma of grapefruit filled the room. As soon as my lips hit the glass, my excitement was dashed by the less than fresh and tart tasting beverage. There was definitely grapefruit in there but I rather like my well preserved grapefruit flavoring. Then again, I like Fresca which tastes nothing like grapefruit.
Marisa: This is like if you went to a friend’s house when you were younger and their well-intentioned mother tried to serve you a healthier, homemade version of the always popular citrus flavored soda (Squirt, Crush, Fresca) made with grapefruit juice, sugar and club soda. It tastes more like actual juice than grapefruit flavoring. I’m kind of uneasy talking about friend’s moms and usually the word uninhibited in the same paragraph though.
Vivacious: Ben: Lively might be a good description for this beverage if it tasted like anything that has ever lived. While this is a tasty beverage, it tastes nothing like pineapples or tangerines. It’s not a chemically flavor, but more of a generic “fruit” flavor. I’m pretty sure there’s no fruit called generic growing anywhere on this earth.
Marisa: Vivavious definitely doesn’t recall the acidic fake orange flavor of sodas like Crush or Fanta, but reminds me me a lot of Clementine Izze or a pulpless Oragina. I couldn’t detect any pineapple flavor at all. It’d be a great mixer (alcohol always makes me vivacious).
Unavailable : Ben: Apparently the blackberries were unavailable for our taste test. Even if they had left their schedule open and shown up they would have been completely overpowered by the dragon fruit. It just takes any subtlety the drink would have had and . Even if the blackberries hadn’t overbooked their schedule and had time to show up for this taste test they would have been completely overpowered by the dragon fruit. How dragonfruit flavoring could something like a blackberry is beyond me but the flavorographers at ME found a way to make turn a fruit that is generally mild into a sickly sweet powerhouse of sweetness. Perhaps this flavoring should have been called uninhibited.
Marisa: According to Me (the brand, not me myself), “unavailable” means “The unavailable individual has a strong personality, confident in their position and inner strength. They are a bit intimidating, perceived to be unapproachable, yet they offer a great deal of beauty and insight.” Sounds like a total bitch to me. Coincidentally this was one of my least favorite flavors. Dragonfruit has been really overdone in recent years (much like other “exotic” fruits like pomegranate, acai, etc.) and it doesn’t work very well as a soda. I would have just preferred the blackberry alone.
Curious: Ben: Blueberry flavored beverages are usually pretty awesome but blueberry and lime seemed like an odd pairing. Curiously enough the pairing tasted more like blueberries and mint instead of blueberries and limes. Initially the flavoring is quite good, the blueberries are well rounded and the mint/lime flavoring tastes not terrible. When you swallow the drink however, the mint taste sticks around and coats your mouth, while the blueberry flavoring seems like it starts to break down and makes a less than pleasant aroma that you just can’t seem to wash away. Drinking more “Curious” just makes the aftertaste more and more overpowering, and it starts to bleed into everything else you taste. It’s sorta like herpes in that it just wont go away no matter how much acyclovir you take. At least you don’t end up with horrible looking zosters all over your mouth. Just the horrible flavor. I just know one day when I least expect it this flavor is going to come back and haunt me.
Marisa: This was with Unavailable for bottom two flavors for me. The odd pairing of blueberry lime just didn’t do it – plus there wasn’t much fizz either. Blueberry really doesn’t translate well into drink form; I’ll stick with them in muffins and pancakes, thank you very much.
Suicide: Ben: A suicide is what you get when you mix a little of every beverage at the soda fountain of a fast food restaurant. They’re generally made by children as a DOUBLEDOGDARE and usually end up being not particularly good (especially when the iced tea knocks out the carbonation). Well, at the end of our test I doubledogdared Marisa to try all of the flavors mixed together in one of our sampler cups, mostly because I have the maturity level of a ten year old. When she refused to drink the concoction I decided to give it a go because God hates a coward, sonny.
It was surprisingly good and I would actually call it “tasty” if that aftertaste of Curious would get the heck out of my mouth. Though it was generically fruity it was quite good and it seemed to have the appropriate sweetness. Had that mint/lime flavor been left out of the Curious this would have been a genuinely good drink. It just falls short of earning the title “good beverage,” just like the rest of ME’s product line.