Tuesday, January 31, 2012


When I first came across this water several months ago, I did not think much of it. It was sitting on the shelf with several other brands of mineral/spring water, and I picked it up for a moment or two. I thought that it was interesting enough, and the bottle certainly caught my eye, but I set it back down believing it to be just another bottled water product that cost a little bit more than I wanted to spend at the time. It wasn't until about a month later that I learned that the eye-catching bottle was actually clear. So impressed by the novelty of it all, I rushed out to the store to pick up a bottle, but was unfortunately unable to find one until just recently.

BLK (capitalized for ease of recognition in the following paragraphs) is an all-natural spring water enriched with fulvic acid. As you can see in the image above, the water is indeed black. While this is definitely odd or unsettling at first, I can assure you that there is no reason to be alarmed. The color of the water comes directly from the fulvic acid, which is a naturally occurring mixture of mineral components. Fulvic acid is found in nature as a liquid colloid, thus resulting in the opaque color. If this has piqued your curiosity on the subject, visit the following Wikipedia pages for more information on colloids and the Tyndall effect that renders many of them opaque to the eye. It's very interesting stuff.

Anyway, for those who are still not convinced that black water can be natural, just keep in mind that I bought this product at Earth Fare, an organic grocery store with very strict rules about what level of artificiality is allowed in the products that pass across company shelves. Additionally, according to the Wikipedia page for humic acid, attempts have been made to synthesize fulvic acid, but none have been successful. So, the long and short of it is that BLK basically has no choice but to use all natural ingredients. Fulvic acid has some health benefits as a dietary supplement, as well. The highly ionic nature of the compounds found in humic acids promote the absorption of other nutrients and minerals in the body, and are helpful in increasing the overall efficiency of other important dietary elements.

As far as the taste goes, there really isn't much of any. Which is actually good in the case of a product that markets itself as water. As far as I could tell, BLK tastes just like regular water, although there was a hint of plastic in the taste, but no more than any other bottled spring water. There is a very, very faint granularity to the water (presumably from the added mineral complex), but it is not noticeable enough to be an actual concern. Basically, drinking BLK is just like drinking any other water.

Now, I must admit that BLK is a bit of a novelty. If fulvic acid were clear, BLK would definitely not have much going for it other than the nutritional benefits of fulvic acid, and even those are a bit superfluous. From what I've found out about the science behind fulvic acid, the total nutritional benefits are somewhat slight, particularly when taken in small, irregular quantities. But frankly, it doesn't really matter. Sometimes it is okay for a beverage to rely largely on novelty appeal, and I feel like this is one of those times. The sheer peculiarity of drinking black water is enough to make me want to buy BLK, especially since it really isn't that much more expensive than any other bottled water. And the marketing campaign is absolutely fantastic. It was a lot of fun to slowly uncover the "enjoy the dark side" slogan as I drank through the beverage, and the bottle definitely does look good sitting on the shelf among its less exciting competitors. BLK may be a novelty, but I think that it is a fantastic novelty. If nothing else, it's a great conversation starter.

Verdict: Recommended

Purchased: Earth Fare [Rock Hill, SC]
Size: 16.9 fl. oz. [500mL]
Price: $1.99  

Friday, January 27, 2012

Gevalia Kaffe

I am very excited about today's post, as it marks the first coffee review ever on Drinkable Review. I typically don't drink very much coffee (particularly in large quantities) because it tends to give me indigestion, but I do love the stuff, and I often find myself wishing that I could drink more than ten ounces of it at a time. Kraft Foods recently sent me this sample of the newly released Gevalia, and I think that it is a wonderful place to start off a line of occasional coffee reviews.

Now, it is important to note here that "newly released" only applies to the U.S. retail market. Previously, Gevalia was only available online to customers in the states, but Kraft Foods has recently begun selling this Swedish favorite in retail stores across the U.S. That is not, however, to suggest that Gevalia is a "new" product, as the company actually has a fair bit of history behind it. Gevalia was founded as a Swedish trading company by Victor Theodore Engwall in 1853. Engwall's high quality coffee imports eventually secured the company a position as an official coffee purveyor of the Swedish Royal Court, and business has been booming ever since. To this day, over 150 years since the company was founded, Gevalia is still the highest selling coffee in Sweden.

As I said above, I am not a huge coffee drinker. But this is purely a technical issue; a mere limitation of my unfortunate biological intolerance of the substance. I can handle coffee in small amounts, and I still like to partake whenever I can, regardless of the frequently undesirable effects on my stomach after the fact. It is one of those things that is just too good not to drink. And if there has ever been a prime example of the beverage that incites my reasonability to throw caution to the wind, it is Gevalia. This may honestly be the best coffee that I have ever had. It has a prominent, aromatic, and full-bodied flavor, with a balanced and pleasing mouthtaste and a smooth finish. The aftertaste remains present on the palate for some time after drinking (as is expected with most coffees), but it is not overbearing in the slightest, and I actually found the lingering aroma to be quite enjoyable.  

Gevalia's traditional roast sits in a perfect middle ground of my personal coffee tastes. It is strong and flavorful without being overly bitter or offensive to the palate, and manages to retain a calm and consistent taste throughout the experience. This is a coffee that has clearly withstood the tests of time, and has reached a level of maturity that many modern beverages have yet to touch. I generally try to avoid personifying the beverages that I drink, but Gevalia just feels like one of those drinks that knows who/what it is and is comfortable with its identity. This attitude really shows through in the taste, making this one of the most well-balanced and tasty coffees that I have had in the past several years. I highly recommend Gevalia Kaffe to those looking for a great new coffee to try, as well as those who may be new to coffee and are looking for a good entry point to an often overwhelming market. Definitely check this one out.

Verdict: Highly recommended

Sample sent courtesy of Kraft Foods.

For more information about Gevalia, visit www.gevalia.com
Or follow Gevalia on Facebook or Twitter

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Phenom Natural Coconut Water

By this point, I have had several coconut waters, and none of them have been very good. I came across this one while perusing the shelves of my local Big Lots (I actually managed to get that stubborn price sticker off of the front this time) and despite my previous bad encounters with coconut water, I decided to give it a try.

I was hoping that the blueberry apple flavoring would help make the coconut milk a bit more palatable. Unfortunately, the flavorings were not enough to overpower the odd saltiness of the coconut water. The flavors were certainly there, and I actually liked the blueberry taste a good bit, but the strangeness of the coconut water still prevailed. It's salty and savory in a way that a beverage shouldn't be, and the added electrolytes don't help with the taste very much. Like other coconut waters, it is very hydrating, as the salts and electrolytes help your body to absorb more of the actual water, but I don't know that the taste is worth it.

I wish that I could feel differently about coconut water. Coconut water drinks have been an increasingly popular trend in the beverage industry as of late, and I really would like to understand what all the fuss is about. Nothing would please me more than to have my mind changed about the stuff. Unfortunately, Phenom Natural Coconut water is not the drink to rescue my opinion of the beverage.

Verdict: Not recommended

Purchased: Big Lots [Greenwood, SC]
Size: 16.9 fl. oz. [500mL]
Price: $0.75 [Reduced]

Friday, January 20, 2012


I am just going to go ahead and start this review by saying that there is not a whole lot to say about RAAW. However, I do not say this as a bad thing. In fact, I feel that this is the entire intention of RAAW's all natural approach. To me, this is how a drink that touts itself as raw and all-natural should taste.

RAAW: Raspberry Lemongrass is literally nothing more than the juice of 2 and 1/2 cups of raspberries and 1 and 1/2 ounces of lemongrass, along with a few extra natural flavorings from fruit and vegetable juice. It is seriously just juice, as it says on the label. It tastes pretty much exactly like one would expect: raspberries mixed with lemon grass. And it is very good. However, it is also very strong, and anything much more than the 12 fl. oz. serving size would have likely been too much. Even by the end of the bottle pictured above, I was sort of reaching the end of my flavor tolerance rope. The strength of the taste is also likely to deter those who are not accustomed to (or simply do not enjoy) the flavor of raw, unsweetened juices, but if you enjoy the very natural taste of unadulterated fruits and vegetables, then RAAW is definitely one to try out.

Verdict: Recommended

Purchased: Whole Foods Market [Greenville, SC]
Size: 12 fl. oz. [355mL]
Price: Somewhere around $2.00 [I don't remember, exactly]

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Adagio Teas: Irish Breakfast

As soon as I saw this tea sitting on the shelf, I knew that I was going to be purchasing it. This is easily one of the most enticing tea containers that I have ever come across. The fact that I love Irish Breakfast tea certainly didn't hurt, but the swooping design of the graphic and the minimalism of the color palette was so eye-catching and different (for a tea container) that I had to pick it up. The container is made of a sturdy, matte-finished metal (feels like aluminum), and is covered by a domed, UV-blocking lid with a double-hinged clasp design that makes the container very easy to open and close while still maintaining an air-tight seal. The design of the container is absolutely superb, and the fact that such a sturdy piece of beverage engineering costs less than ten dollars makes the purchase a no-brainer.

And I haven't even mentioned the tea yet. As I said above, I love Irish Breakfast tea, and this one is an excellent example of the category. The tea is a combination of black teas from Ceylon and Assam that has a rich and full-bodied flavor with just the right amount of bite. The aftertaste does tend to linger (as with most black tea blends), but the remaining flavor is pleasantly mellow and the tea is so good in the first place that it's really just hard to mind. If you like black tea at all, or you've had bad experiences with darker teas in the past and would like to experience a proper black tea blend, this one comes with my highest recommendation.

Also, since I'm not sure when I'll be getting back to reviewing another Adagio tea, I'm going to go ahead and plug their website [http://www.adagio.com] in this review. Adagio has one of the widest selections of loose-leaf tea that I have ever seen from a single distributor, and their site definitely deserves a look. 

Verdict: Highly Recommended

Purchased: Earth Fare [Columbia, SC]
Size: 4 oz. [112g]
Price: $6.99

Fentimans Rose Lemonade

I have been keeping an eye out for Fentiman’s Rose Lemonade ever since it was released last year, and I am happy to finally be able to talk about it on Drinkable Review. Fentiman’s products are notoriously difficult to find in my area (although that is becoming less and less true as time goes on), and while that means that I usually have to wait for a while before I eventually stumble across the newer products, it also means that finding each one of those drinks is like discovering a rare treasure. And the rose lemonade was definitely worth the wait.
Let’s just go ahead and put it out there: I really like this one. I love rose flavored beverages, and Fentimans has really made a good one here. First off, the lemonade itself is very good, with just the right amount of carbonation and a very natural and sour lemon taste. The rose extract is also very well balanced, as the drink contains just enough to be present and effective in the drink without taking over (something that rose tends to do very easily). The aromatic taste of the rose combines very well with the tartness of the lemon, and Fentimans' natural and botanical brewing process (along with the slight hint of fermentation in the background) really lends itself well to the flavor of the drink.

If you're not a big fan of really sour, natural lemonades, then this one may not be for you, and the rose flavoring may not be for everybody. I, however, think that this is an excellent product, and I give it a high recommendation for those with a more venturous beverage attitude.

Verdict: Highly recommended

Purhcased: Total Wine and More [Columbia, SC]
Size: 9.3 fl. oz. [275mL]
Price: $6.99 [4-pack] 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Just a quick update

First and foremost, I would like to apologize for missing yesterday's review. Our internet went down the night before last, and our ISP didn't get it back up until late yesterday evening, by which point it was really just to late to post the review.

I had intended to write the review this afternoon and post it today. Unfortunately, I will be attending a memorial service this evening for a friend of mine who was killed in a car accident a few weeks ago, and I am going to need a bit more time than I had initially thought to prepare myself for that.

Again, I apologize for missing yesterday's post, and I thank you all in advance for your understanding during these trying times. I will be posting two reviews this coming Tuesday, so be sure to check back next week for my take on two wonderful new beverages.

- Hayden

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Magic Hat Howl Black Lager

I went through a bit of a dark beer phase this past year. For several months, I was tasting dark, stout beers almost exclusively. I have since moved on into more of a bitter, pale ale phase, but that certainly did not stop me from thoroughly enjoying Magic Hat's black lager.

Howl is a very tasty beer with a relatively complex flavor. Magic Hat is a bit mysterious about the ingredients that they use in the brew (the bottle makes no direct mention of any special ingredients), but the taste has a lot of nutty undertones. The beer has a strong, dark flavor, while still retaining the slight sourness of lighter lagers. One of the most interesting things about this beer is that it has a fairly profound taste of pretzels (more specifically the hard outer crust of a pretzel) in the aftertaste. I absolutely love pretzels, so this was a really interesting element of this beer for me. Overall, this is a great beer with a lot of strong, complimentary flavors, and I definitely recommend it to those drinkers who enjoy stronger, darker beers.

However, I have a difficult time giving this as a good "all around" recommendation. The only thing keeping me from highly recommending it is that I feel like anyone who does not like darker beers is really going to be put off by this one. The flavor is strong and offensive to the taste buds, which I really like, but I can see how fans of lighter beers or those who are new to the beer scene would really not like the taste of this one. That being said, I think that it's a wonderful beer. Keep an eye out for it.

Verdict: Recommended

Purchased: Gift from a friend [received in a sample pack]
Size: 12 fl. oz. [355 mL]
Price: Approximately $9.00 [six pack] 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Argo Tea: Mojitea

Argo Tea’s Mojitea is a very interesting beverage. The ingredients list only consists of five simple and all-natural ingredients, and yet there is a lot going on here with the flavor, thus reflecting the slogan at the bottom of the bottle: "tea + ingredients with purpose." This is essentially just a simple mint tea with lime juice and cane sugar, but the resulting flavor is surprisingly complex. The mint and lime tastes are both strong and prominent, and yet neither one overpowers the other. Instead, they combine to create a new, singular flavor that has the aromatic bitterness of mint, the sourness of lime, and the mellow aftertaste of lighter teas. Overall, the flavor is a bit hard to describe on its own merit, but if you are familiar with the mint-lime combination of most mojito flavored things, you can probably imagine this one fairly well.

I also really, really like Argo Tea's container. The bottle is made of light but sturdy glass, and is tapered in the middle to feel great in the hand. The label is printed on a sheet of plastic around the bottle, allowing it to be completely ripped off, and the bottle sports an orifice wide enough for ice cubes. The lid is also made of a relatively sturdy plastic that is designed to screw on either perfectly or not at all. It's clear that Argo Tea has designed their bottle with direct consumer reuse in mind, which is something that I always respect in a company. I know I'll be using mine for homemade juices in the future. And on top of all that, the drink is still relatively inexpensive. I can't yet speak for the other flavors, but so far I can safely say that Argo Tea products are definitely recommended.

Verdict: Highly Recommended

Purchased: Whole Foods [Greenville, SC]
Size: 13.5 fl. oz. [400mL]
Price: $2.99 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

MiO Energy

Kraft recently sent me a promotional sample pack of their new MiO Energy flavor line. As many of you likely remember, I reviewed MiO when it was first being introduced about nine months ago, and I really liked it. But to be honest, I was a little bit nervous going into MiO Energy. I've never been a fan of the taste of most energy boosting beverages, and I have been disappointed in the past by companies attempting to branch out into the energy drink market. However, I am happy to report that MiO Energy maintains the ease of use and great taste of the original, and I think that both the black cherry and green thunder varieties are great additions to the MiO brand.

It should be said, however, that the secret to MiO maintaining the elements that made the original product so good is the fact that MiO Energy isn't really all that different from the original. In fact, it is essentially just two new flavors of MiO with caffeine added into the mix. But this is by no means a bad thing. The size of each bottle has been scaled down to approximately 12 (8 oz.) servings per bottle, and each serving contains about 60mg of caffeine; about the same as a typical cup of coffee. I have always been somewhat impervious to the effects of caffeine, especially in smaller quantities, so I can't really attest to the "energy-giving" capabilities of MiO Energy, but the 60mg of caffeine should be enough to give most drinkers a quick pick-me-up. Both flavors do contain trace amounts of other energy enhancers such as taurine and guarana extract, but not enough to really affect the flavor in any way (so no worries there). Both flavors are still sweetened with sucralose and acesulfame potassium, but the typical "diet" taste is subdued and is not nearly as intrusive as it is in so many other artificially sweetened beverages.

Both flavors are quite tasty, although I am partial to the black cherry. The black cherry is pretty straightforward, and has a sweet, cherry taste without being overbearing or cough syrupy. The green thunder, on the other hand, has a more generic, acidic energy drink taste. Normally, I would consider this to be a bad thing, but this time I don't. Although it does have that energy drink taste (some refer to it simply as "citrus punch"), it is not nearly as acidic as the usual energy drink, and has a much less abrasive and more mild flavor. I actually like the taste a good bit, and any doubts I initially had about the flavor were based purely on precedent.

Overall, MiO Energy is a very worthy addition to the already impressive line of MiO products. My only real complaint is that the "squirt nozzle" on the MiO bottles is still a bit hard to control, and I often find myself accidentally adding a bit more flavoring than I necessarily meant to add. Other than that, I find very little about MiO Energy to dislike. This is definitely one to try out. Especially the black cherry.

Verdict: Recommended

Samples provided by Kraft Foods, Inc.

Be sure to check out MiO on facebook and Twitter. And be sure to check out "Thunder" Dave Steinman's hilarious (but probably NSFW) promo video for MiO Energy.