Every so often, I stumble across a drink that is so demanding of my attention that I have no choice but to purchase it, regardless of price or taste appeal. Mamma Chia was one of those drinks, as it's not particularly common that I find drinks that are filled to the brim with tiny seeds. When I noticed it sitting on the shelf among the other organic drinks at a nearby Whole Foods Market, I found it to be quite odd that the seeds were just sitting perfectly suspended in the liquid, rather than sinking to the bottom. At first, I thought that maybe it was due to the sheer number of seeds in the drink, but upon closer inspection I realized that there was actually a good deal of space between each seed; too much space for that to be the answer.
So, I picked the drink up off of the shelf to take a closer look. I had expected the seeds to swirl around in the beverage upon picking it up, much like ink dispersing through disrupted water. However, rather than floating around freely in the fluid, the seeds simply lurched around with the liquid and promptly stopped in place when I stopped moving the bottle. The liquid didn't seem especially viscous, and my second hypothesis was that the seeds were extremely non-dense and that the effect of Pascal's Law (which states that any point in a confined incompressible fluid is subjected to equal forces in every direction due to the pressure of the surrounding fluid) was enough to overcome both gravity and buoyancy and hold the seeds in place. But I was still not entirely correct.
After doing a bit of research, I learned that chia seeds, when mixed with water, react to create a somewhat gelatinous substance. The resulting liquid is more dense than water, but still flows freely like a more conventional beverage, thus explaining the tendency of the seeds to remain fixed in place. This satisfied my curiosity about the strange behavior of the seeds, but I'm afraid that it caused problems when it came time to actually taste the drink.
I am sincerely at a loss for what to think about this drink. To start with the positive, the blackberry hibiscus juice was very good. Exceptionally good, in fact. The flavor is very light and natural and hits just the perfect amount of sweetness. Honestly, this may be one of the best juices that I have recently. However, the chia seeds give the drink one of the strangest consistencies that I have ever experienced. There are a lot of seeds in each Mamma Chia. So many seeds, in fact, that it is hard to tell that there is actually any liquid in there at all. Each seed has a sort of gelatinous "husk" around it that causes the seeds to slide around and bounce off of each other in your mouth, and each sip of the drink is reminiscent of the sensation caused by sucking squished up jello off of a spoon. The seeds themselves don't really taste like anything, but the sensation is just too weird and distracting for me.
Like I said above, I really like the juice used in Mamma Chia. But the seeds - while they are an interesting concept - just get in my way of enjoying the beverage as a whole. Chia seeds do have several health benefits such as high protein, fiber, and essential mineral content, but the consistency is really just too odd for me to tolerate. However, if you don't think that the gelatinous nature of the seeds will not bother you, or you think that the health benefits are worth the added texture, then this is definitely one to try out. The experience itself is worth having at least once, anyway.
Verdict: Worth a try
Purchased: Whole Foods Market [Greenville, SC]
Size: 10 fl. oz. [296mL]
Price: Unfortunately, I forgot to write the price down. It was somewhere between 2 and 3 dollars, I believe.