Outside of the beverages that I drink for the review, my primary beverage of choice is usually just water. I drink a lot of water on a day-to-day basis, and I absolutely love the healthy feeling of staying well hydrated. However, while I do love water, it is not exactly the world's most exciting beverage, and I occasionally seek convenient methods of giving my water a bit of much needed flavor. Historically, these methods have usually been powder-oriented and have tended to leave me unsatisfied and wishing that I had just stuck with plain, unadulterated water.
I am glad to say that this is not the case with Kraft's newly introduced MiO liquid water enhancer. Kraft was kind enough to send me two samples of the product last week, and I have been using them rather frequently since they arrived. Let's go ahead and get it out there: I really like this product. I think that it is safe to say that my days of struggling with flavoring powders are over. Of the portable water enhancers that I have had, MiO's flavor is unsurpassed, and its convenience makes it a clear choice for those like myself who frequently travel with water.
First and foremost, MiO is an absolute breeze to use. You simply flip the lid of the small plastic container open and squeeze the desired serving of MiO into your water. The nozzle of the bottle is designed to only release liquid when pressurized, which works in conjunction with the firmness of the bottle itself to make accidental squeezes rather difficult. Also, seeing as how MiO is a concentrated liquid flavoring instead of a powder, the need for multiple packets is eliminated and one bottle of MiO can be carried around until it is exhausted. Transporting even a small collection of powder packets loose in your bag or pocket does not seem like a big deal at first, but the more that your bag is utilized and the more that things are moved around, the more that chasing those packets around the bottoms of their respective pockets turns into a hassle. In addition, MiO all but eliminates the relentless shaking usually required to activate these sorts of products. Watching the liquids mix together is an absolute joy in and of itself, but I've found that it really only takes one firm shake of the bottle (or a few good stirs, if used in an open glass) to fully mix the MiO in with the water. This is a huge improvement over having to furiously shake your beverage container to the point of muscular exhaustion and still occasionally encountering the microbial yet grainy cluster of undissolved flavoring during consumption.
From a taste perspective, I must say that MiO is fairly straightforward, but in a good way. It tastes about how I expected it to taste (that is to say, like an artificial flavoring), but it is just better than things that I've had in the past. The taste is much cleaner, and does not leave behind the typical dry or bitter aftertaste that is so common amongst these sorts of things. The mixture is also sweetened with sucralose and acesulfame potassium, both of which I much prefer to aspartame. Also, when comparing MiO's ingredients with the ingredients of competing products, I found that while the ingredients are largely artificial, MiO's list is significantly shorter. I am not one to panic about artificiality, and I've said before that sometimes artificial can be better than it's natural counterpart. In my opinion, artificial ingredients are not a negative point, but it is always nice to see a company do more with less, particularly when chemical additives are involved.
One of the things that I really like about MiO is the ease with which you can customize how strong the flavoring is. Each capsule of MiO is said to offer approximately 24 individual 8 oz. servings, with a serving size being a "squeeze." As a side note, it is understood here that a typical water bottle is 16.9 fl. oz., and two servings per bottle must be used to obtain significant flavor, bringing the capacity down to somewhere around 12 servings per capsule if used with regular water bottles. The nutritional information lists a "squeeze" as 2 mL (about 1/2 tsp), but a 2 mL squeeze is, in all honesty, hard not to exceed. This is good and bad, as it makes the capacity of each capsule a bit ambiguous, but that ambiguity also allows for the drinker to more easily determine for his or her self how flavorful each serving will be. I typically prefer my flavored waters to be a bit more on the flavorful side, so I usually add about the equivalent of 2.5 squeezes to my 16 oz. bottle. However, on days where I only want a hint of flavor, it is very easy to adjust the serving to fit my current desire. This is much harder to gauge with powders, as it is universally more difficult to track the quantity of what is being added rather than simply tracking a duration of time (in this case how long the bottle has been squeezed).
Overall, I really like Kraft's MiO. The marketing regarding the capacity of each capsule is based on what feels to me like highly ideal situations, but most calculated serving size estimates are, and ultimately it does not really matter, anyway. From what I've experienced so far in sharing with friends, most people just add some MiO to their water and let that be that, a quality that I think speaks to the personalized appeal of the product. The customizable nature of the product, in conjunction with the convenience and great taste, make MiO a very easy recommendation for those looking for a high quality "on-the-go" water enhancer.
Verdict: Highly Recommended
Purchased: Can be purchased at most commercial retailers as of March 7, 2011
Size: 1.62 fl. oz. [48mL]
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