Superfruit beverages certainly have been gaining a lot of popularity in the industry lately, particularly in the health foods market. It seems like every time that I go into a natural foods store, there are at least two new brands of superfruit-inspired drinks on the shelves. Cheribundi was one of the new options this time, so I decided to pick up a bottle of the cacao cherry variety.
Cheribundi is a somewhat difficult beverage to quantify; at least the cacao version is. The side of the label claims that each 8 oz. bottle contains 50 cherries, and it certainly tastes like it. The cherry juice is very tart, and although there is a bit of added sugar, it doesn't do much to take the edge away. I liked the tartness, and the cherry is very fresh and flavorful, but I am glad that it only comes in an 8 ounce serving, because I don't know that I could have handled much more than that. What makes this particular drink hard to quantify, however, is the cacao. It's certainly an interesting choice of flavors, and I do like cherry and chocolate, but they work together a little bit awkwardly in Cheribundi's drink.
It's not so much that the cacao and cherry don't work together; it's more that they don't mesh. The drink smells almost exclusively of cacao, so much so that you would think that you were about to drink a chocolate-based beverage. But the tartness of the cherries almost entirely drowns out the cacao in the taste. It's still there, but very much in the background. It's not that this is bad or unpleasant, but it does cause a bit of sensory discord while drinking. The smell causes you to expect a stronger chocolate taste, and when you are met only with the specifically sour taste of fresh cherry juice it just feels a little bit...strange. I think that Cheribundi may do well to add a little bit more cacao to the recipe to boost the chocolate flavor a bit, but as it stands it is still very tasty. If you enjoy all-natural cherry juice and are willing to overlook the strangeness of the conflicting sensory stimuli in the interest of a slightly more interesting experience, then this one is one to check out. Otherwise, I would say just go with the regular, unflavored variety. But it is worth a look, one way or the other.
Purchased: Whole Foods Market [Greenville, SC]
Size: 8 fl. oz. [240mL]