Friday, August 26, 2011

Activate: Energy

As many of you likely know by now, I am a pretty big fan of flavored waters. I really like trying different takes on the infusion and/or flavoring process, and Activate immediately caught my attention on a recent trip through the grocery store. The double cap, square bottle design, and the transitioning color gradient on the label all gave the bottle a very eye-catching and effective shelf presence and, naturally, I decided to pick one up and see what it was all about.

After reading the back of the bottle to determine the function of the double-capped design, I realized that the second, upper cap is actually not a cap at all, but rather contains the vitamins and flavoring for the beverage. Activate has an interesting approach to flavored water in that the flavoring is kept separate from the water until the consumer is ready to drink the beverage. To release the flavoring, the user simply twists the upper cap clockwise until the seal inside the cap is broken and the flavoring powder is released into the water. After this is done, the bottom cap is unscrewed to open the beverage. 

Now, this was interesting enough for me to buy it on the spot, and the taste of the beverage is actually pretty good. The lemon-lime has a light, refreshing flavor, and although the aftertaste is a bit lingering, the flavor was very good overall. The real question on my mind, however, while purchasing the drink, was whether or not the separation of the flavoring and water made a noticeable difference. 

Unfortunately, the answer is "not really." The ingredients did seem to taste a little bit fresher, but only a little bit, and it did not really seem to have much effect on the overall taste of the drink in the long run. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the cap release mechanism, while it is interesting and different, actually hurt the drink a bit, as I had some issues with the mechanism retaining some of the flavored water during shaking and then dripping out onto my desk after taking the cap back off. This does not seem like the biggest problem in the world, but when one's desk is covered in important paper documents, a cap that leaks neon green liquid all over the place can be a serious issue. This could have been solved by not furiously shaking the beverage in between sips, but the fairly solid flavoring had a bad habit of partially settling out at the bottom of the drink, and I was left with no choice but to shake the drink periodically and simply be careful about where I pointed the cap afterwards. 

Aside from some design flaws, Activate: Energy is an interesting beverage with a fairly good overall flavor. However, the flavor was not all that different from the other drinks of its type, and some of the aforementioned design flaws actually kept me from having a smooth and enjoyable experience. The cap design is definitely different, and I would say that it is at least worth one try to say that you've experienced it, but I don't think that I would recommend this as a regular beverage. 

Verdict: Worth a try

Purchased: Earth Fare [Columbia, SC]
Size: 16 fl. oz.
Price: $1.99

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