Energy Drink Evaluation

Posted December 17, 2001 at 5:55 pm 17 Comments

With a final project due in 14 hours, it was serious crunch time. Since I knew I was looking at an all-nighter, I stopped by the grocery store to pick up some caffeine sources. I was amazed at the variety of energy drinks available, and the multiplicity of strange claims they offered and ingredients they contained. “What’s the difference between Panax Ginseng and Siberian ginseng?” I wondered. “Do bee pollen and gingko biloba really sharpen my mind and revitalize my body? And what the fuck is glucaronolactone?”

Someone needed to get to the bottom of all of this, wading through the sea of unsubstantiated claims and separating fact from hype. Someone needed to demystify these strange concoctions by explaining the difference between D-Ribose, L-Carnitine, Taurine, and Inositol.

I am way too lazy to be that person. Instead, with Jen’s assistance, I conducted a comparative taste test. We sampled six different energy drinks and rated their tastes on a ten-point scale. Since I’m inclined the believe that the effects of the peculiar dietary supplements these drinks contain are largely psychosomatic, we also rated the drinks on “Design,” a category that included both the look of the can and the extent to which we were “convinced” of the drink’s effectiveness based on its pseudoscientific pronouncements.

Here are the results of our evaluation. Ratings range from 1 (terrible) to 10 (excellent).

The product: Hansen’s Energy (Original Formula)
The pitch: Catch the Wave! Hansen’s energy supplement is specially formulated with the amino acid Taurine, Panax Ginseng, Ginkgo Biloba, key B vitamins, glucose, and other ingredients, which are intended to provide a positive energy boost.

Mild lemon flavor, not overly sweet, and no aftertaste.

Uninspired writing on can caused Dan to quip, “at least it’s not a negative energy boost.”

“Catch the wave, my ass,” Jen insightfully added.

Rating: Taste 10, Design 1

The product: High Potency Energy Venom With Instant Bite
The pitch: Taurine, Maté, and energy vitamins
Contact: 1-866-22-VENOM

Sweet and lemony like Citra, but with a viciously bitter aftertaste.

Rating: Taste 7, Design 3

The product: Amp Energy Drink from Mountain Dew
The pitch: With MDX5! Turn up your energy with Amp. Only Amp has MDX5: taurine, ginseng, B-vitamins, guarana, and maltodextrin, a complex carb. All in a great tasting citrus fusion. For energy that lasts.
Contact: 1-800-433-2652

Thick, gooey consistency, like a melted Slurpee or fermented Mountain Dew syrup. Make-believe “chemical compound” named MDX5 (which presumably stands for Mountain Dew X 5 ) failed to impress us.

Rating: Taste 4, Design 8

The product: Arizona Extreme Energy Shot
The pitch: Maximum Performance Blend Energy Drink “Bottle Rocket”
Contact: 1-800-832-3775

Nasty nasty shit. Bitter honey-lemon flavor and powdery texture. “Like dissolved Alka-Seltzer,” Jen remarked.

Leaves an unpleasant goo on teeth. Gratuitous plastic top is difficult to remove and lends phallic appearance to can.

Rating: Taste 1, Design 7

The product: SoBe Adrenaline Rush
The pitch: Maximum Energy Supplement. Get it up. Keep it up. Any questions?
Contact: 1-800-588-0548

Smells strange, but has an appealing citrus taste similar to Orangina. Difficult to imagine a non-sexual interpretation of unusual slogan on can.

Rating: Taste 9, Design 2

The product: Red Bull Energy Drink
The pitch: With Taurine. Vitalizes body and mind.
Red Bull Energy Drink:
· Improves performance, especially during times of increased stress or strain.
· Increases endurance.
· Increases concentration and improves reaction speed.
· Stimulates the metabolism.

Curiously tangy cherry flavor, somewhat reminiscent of cough syrup. “I don’t like it,” Jen says immediately. Dan is somewhat more enthusiastic: “like medicine, but tastier.”

Rating: Taste 3, Design 9


If you want a drink that tastes good, go with Hansen’s Energy Drink or SoBe Adrenaline Rush. Or just drink a cup of coffee with milk and sugar and you’ll probably get the same effect.

Other Notes

Some of the cans were labeled with amusing warnings:

  • Suggested use: up to four (4) cans per day. Not recommended for children, pregnant women, or people sensitive to caffeine.
  • These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

The caption “NOT GENUINE UNLESS SIGNED” on the Energy Shot can made no sense, since the signature was machine-printed on the can right along with the caption.
When we had finished our taste comparison, I mixed all of the remaining energy drink liquid together into a mixture I called “Maximum Potency Extreme Venom High Adrenaline Red Amped Energy Bull Rush Rocket Shot with Instant Bite.” It wasn’t too bad..

I felt really jittery and weird at the end. Too much glucoronolactone, I suppose.


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  1. NOTT BAADD!!! lol…it was super cool and interresting…lol..but I don’t really agree with u about the taste of Redbull i think it taste great..!!l;ol…l8tter

    Comment by Chelsea — March 19, 2006 #

  2. LOL Love your evaluation man, I agree with you but hey SoBeArush smells like nail polish to me… My favorite for now would be XL Energy one, tried it yet?


    Comment by Nikita — August 13, 2006 #

  3. Nice review. But hey, to have a suggestion on improving your review that would appeal more, try doing a taste test of all the top 10 ranked in sales for energy drinks. You can look them all up on Just type in energy drinks for the search, and use those sources to improve a better variety for the brands that do have a signigicant impact on the energy drink market to your taste test reviews.

    Comment by Leo — September 14, 2006 #

  4. Hi,

    I initially make a point of congratulating you for your so interesting site. Then, i would like to import an energy drink in Morocco. I seek a drink more sweetened than Red bull, nearer to Shark energy drink and which is at a price raisonable for our market. In this moment, I am in contact with many drinks manufacturer in the Netherlands, in Spain and Thailand. In Thailand, one proposed a drink to me “Golden falcon” with a very handsome price and which would seem to be similar to Red Bull on the taste. What can you say to me on these drinks of Thailand, like this one or “commando bear” or “carabao”.

    Thank you

    Comment by REDA — September 29, 2006 #

  5. The Venom energy drink in my opinion is the best, & i HAVE TASTED THEM ALL!
    It has a kind of menthol citrus taste with no after taste. It’s kind of like chewing Clorets gum which really does the job of keeping your breath fresh all day long.
    The Venom drink is not only an energy drink that last longer than it’s competition, but it also helps you with your sex drive and sperm potency.
    Red Bull may give you stamina with you pelvic thrusts, but venom gives you that and stamina with your erections

    Comment by Jeff — September 30, 2006 #

  6. Can you tell me who makes Venom and how I can get it in Des Moines IA

    Comment by Brandy — January 26, 2007 #

  7. Wow! Wonder what our grandfathers did when they needed to “get it up and keep it up”? pretty sure they didn’t get any help from gramma!
    I’m female……..does this work on you guys?????

    Comment by Mary — March 28, 2007 #

  8. dude you forgot monster

    Comment by me — April 2, 2007 #

  9. Yes I thrive for venom but cannot find it anywhere if somebody knows how to get it plese tell. I live in Minnesota and I looked everywhere

    Comment by Travis — May 27, 2007 #

  10. WTF? I’ve heard of two of those. what about ROCKSTAR, Full Throtle, Monster, Cocaine, and all the others. try those then publish your results. if u dont i will i freakin LIVE on these kinda drinks

    Comment by Austin — June 27, 2007 #

  11. for me xl is the best

    Comment by marwan bishara — October 14, 2007 #

  12. dude you have to try monster anbd burn those are the best

    Comment by jaske — January 2, 2008 #

  13. i definitely agree with you on the awful taste of redbull. i tried it once and i swear i’d never try it again.

    Comment by khodia — January 24, 2008 #

  14. wow!!!!!!!! you forgot to do redline with your comparsion

    Comment by stacy — May 5, 2008 #

  15. I love your site! Very interesting, congratulations.Sex Drive Energy Drink is the one!!! I’ve been drinking energy drinks for over 10 years. I’ve tried them ALL! I try every new one that comes out on the market looking for the right ingridients and taste. About 5 or 6 months ago I finally found the perfect one! Sex Drive Energy Drink; this drink has an incredible great taste with powerful natural ingridients which I care the most and it really gives you all the energy you need for the day. I RECOMEND IT to every body… Sex Drive Energy Drink is the BEST.

    Thank you.


    Comment by Martha — September 20, 2008 #

  16. wow..thats awesome that you took the time to do that. i think im going to try the ‘Maximum Potency Extreme Venom High Adrenaline Red Amped Energy Bull Rush Rocket Shot with Instant Bite’ sounds good[: but for favorite will always be VENOM[: im drinking the red one right noww.

    Comment by emily — October 19, 2008 #

  17. energy drinks r great

    although to me they are addictive!!!

    how r they so addictive tho lol

    i cnt walk into a shop without coming out with an energy drink haha

    i wudnt agree with ur evaluation of redbull tbh because it is one of the best but price is ridiculous! lol

    erm watever happened to relentless, red rooster, boost, V , and tesco, sainsburys, asda, homebrand of energy drinks…

    my favvourite energy drink has to be relentless 🙂

    top quality stuff that

    … erm i dunno if anyone else has noticed it or it mite just be more

    but energy drink make me loose weight alot

    especially diet ones

    Comment by danny — February 2, 2009 #

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