October 31, 2010

Topaz Review of JAVA MONSTER: Mean Bean

In this review I will refer to JAVA MONSTER Mean Bean, as simply, "Mean Bean."
Mean Bean really packs a punch. With the taurine, and guarana seed extract from regular Monsters, and strong coffee combined, you wake up almost instantly after sipping one.

The taste of coffee is drowned in the heavy cream and sucralose, and the only real coffee flavor comes from the nutty aftertaste. Even then it's not exceptional coffee, although it does do what it was intended to do. It leaves a mingling flavor long after you drink it, and is best covered up with a mint or two. This is definitely not the beverage for you if you like your coffee with anything other than loads of cream and sugar. You can't taste any sort of energy-drink flavor here, even though it is Monster brand. That's good, considering an energy-drink/coffee flavor hybrid would be pretty nasty tasting.

The good thing is that Mean Bean has absolutely no carbonation, although it comes in the same type of can that regular Monsters do. Mean Bean is really creamy, and is smooth going down the esophagus. That feeling that there is a film of cream on your tongue does linger though, and can become bothersome. All in all, pretty good, not impressive.

The first thing you notice about the can is that it sports the good old Monster logo. But wait... Something isn't right here! It looks as if the "Monster" clawed his way into some nicely upholstered wood! Naughty! Odd that the wood has a pattern on the top, almost like a rug. It looks nice, although a bit gimmicky. It helps to separate itself from the normal flavors of Monster though, so people don't mistakenly buy a coffee drink when they meant to buy something else. The font is very cool looking, with harsh, sharp edges. The letters have a very dark red middle, with a black border. This looks really cool in person, as they seem to "pop" away from the can. The Monster slash also seems to be indented. As for marketing, the guys behind this are geniuses. There is some propaganda on the back, stating how Mean Bean has a "Take no prisoners attitude" whatever that means. The way the can looks, with the wood feel, draws in the customer who is in desperate need of a pick-me-up. Bravo.

I was definitely roused from my drowsiness by the time I had my second sip of Mean Bean. The combination of both taurine, and guarana seed extract, mixed with coffee seems almost like overkill. I assure you that it is. I'm not looking forward to the crash that is looming in the future. It works people, it works well. I don't recommend drinking this while driving though, for what I hope are obvious reasons.

I had a good time with Mean Bean, and it certainly did what it is intended to do. It woke me up, made me more alert, etc. I wasn't partial to its taste, nor was I fond of the texture. Although, if you're going to buy one of these drinks, it won't be for the flavor. You'll be hard pressed to find a stronger energy drink on the market.

October 23, 2010

Topaz Review of Squirt

At a passing glance, Squirt seems like just another citrus drink along the lines of Sprite and Sierra Mist. Such assumptions would prove  false however, as Squirt is a unique grapefruit drink, with no real comparison. Here it is, the review for the winner of the "You Decide" Poll Number Three, Squirt.=

When you first sip Squirt, you get a powerful sensation that excites the tongue. You feel it before you taste it. It feels like it has something of a numbing affect, but it doesn't last long whatsoever. When you taste it a millisecond later, the grapefruit is very profound. The grapefruit flavor is very well made, and it replicates a real grapefruit nicely. Not too much so that it tastes like pure grapefruit juice however. Very balanced. However, I know a lot of people who don't like the flavor, so I suppose your opinion depends on whether or not you like grapefruit.


As I stated previously, Squirt packs a punch when you first experience it, making it something that can offer a unique experience. Other than that, Squirt has nothing more to offer than your standard 24 oz. Soda.


The art on Squirt clearly states that it is a grapefruit beverage, with a half of the fruit behind the title. "Squirt" is written in large, round letters smack dab in the middle of the logo, with information about the drink (caffeine free, etc.) circling the slice. The origin of Squirt's name comes from reports that it tends to squirt into one's mouth, like a freshly squeezed grapefruit. Clever.

I was very pleased with the uniqueness that Squirt had to offer, drifting from the norm, and setting upon us a beverage like no other. If you want to try a grapefruit soft drink, look no further than Squirt. If you don't like grapefruit, however, I would stay away from it, as it has a very strong grapefruit flavor. All in all a quality product that is unique in flavor, and unmatched in texture.


October 08, 2010

Topaz Review of Catus Cooler

Topaz Review of Cactus Cooler

a full view of the bottle

Let me start by saying that today was the first time I've ever had a Cactus Cooler. I had no idea that it was made by the Dr. Pepper/7-Up Inc. and was happy to find that it has a very exciting flavor that is different from the norm. Being a less-popular beverage, I'm surprised that I don't hear about it more. Even the Wikipedia article for it is extremely short. One of my philosophies for life is always try the obscure, give new things a chance. That is what I did today. As I write this review, I am drinking my first ever Cactus Cooler. Let's get started.

Cactus Cooler has an almost perfect harmony of both orange and pineapple, with no flavor overpowering the other. This makes a unique original flavor, that can't be replicated. I've had a plethora of beverages over the years, and nothing tastes even close to Cactus Cooler. It has a slight bitter taste, but it's a complementary bitterness, and If it was a sweet taste I don't think that it would be as good. Making original flavor is tough these days, but Cactus Cooler pulls it off, and does it well.

It seems almost Juicy, but sure enough there is a small amount of carbonation here. Not too much, but enough to make a nice tingle in your mouth that complements the flavor. A very well-balaced, thought out formula. It's almost as if the designers of the flavor wanted to make sure that the texture complemented it the most perfect way. This is one of the many reasons that I adore Dr. Pepper/7-Up Inc.

The artwork on Cactus Cooler sets the mood instantly, making sure that you know that this is one badass drink, and they're not messing around. Well, actually, It's quite inviting, and has a nice western feel to it.

As you can see here, the art sports a spunky exclamation bubble, allowing us to know what this is supposed to be. At first, I had no clue what Cactus Cooler was supposed to taste like. This little bubble helped a lot. Cactus Cooler has a very unique font for their logo, unlike any I have seen. It fits in well with the backdrop, which in turn fits in well with the color of the drink itself. A huge sunrise/sunset adorns the background, with cacti on either side. Absolute gold.

For my first time drinking it, It was surprisingly enjoyable. The flavor isn't too different to make you not want to drink it, and the texture only helps its cause. A very nice balance is proven here, and while it can have a slightly bitter aftertaste, this -again- only helps the cause. I urge you to at least try a sip of Cactus Cooler sometime, as I'm positive you will never drink anything like it.



October 02, 2010

YOU DECIDE Poll Number Three

Hello again,

I have here another YOU DECIDE poll for you guys to participate in, with the three ongoing losers from the last two polls. Snapple has been the runner-up for the last two, so I'm excited to see where this goes. Your wish is my command!


Topaz Review of Mountain Dew Throwback

figure 1

seen here on the right

Ahhh, Mountain Dew, nectar of the gods. With such a distinct flavor, and loveable marketing campaign, how can you go wrong? Mountain Dew throwback is the original formula used when it was first graced upon this earth. It holds up perfectly today, and even better than original Dew. It may not see as much advertising, but it is incredible. The bottle says 'LIMITED TIME' on it, but I doubt that, as it has been on shelves for quite some time now. The main reason to pick it up is that it uses sugar instead of corn syrup, making for better flavor. Sugar used to be cheap enough to use in soda regularly, but as the price of sugar went up and the price of corn went down, the inevitable happened. Now, our only gateway to the past is Throwback.

The only other 'Throwback' drinks to enjoy are Pepsi, and Dr. Pepper. However, Dr. Pepper is not owned by PepsiCo. and therefore is separate from the 'Throwback' franchise, but is using the same concept of using the original formula.

For side-by-side comparison of the nutritional info of regular and throwback Pepsi and Mountain Dew, click HERE

The formula from sixty-two years ago isn't much different from the present formula. The flavor has the same overall feel, with a few minor differences. First off, the flavor is more pronounced and bold, becuase there is no corn syrup to mask it. If you taste current "Mtn Dew" and Throwback side by side, you will notice that corn syrup can change how a beverage tastes. Drinking throwback is a unique experience, as if you weren't alive to taste the original formula from 62 years ago, you now have a chance. When the Pepsi Corperation decided to release throwback versions of their drinks, they had a younger generation in mind. It's working, Pepsi!

It seems like the carbonation in Throwback is pretty much the same as the current formula. Again, it does seem a lot more bold, and this is becuase of the sugar. It's unfortunate that we will never know what the original carbonation was like, as it was definitley a lot different way back when. Pepsi can't replicate it because they upgraded their equipment that carbonates the beverage, using the newer equipment for the throwback drinks. It does it's job though, and it does it well. I'm just curious what it used to be like.

As you can see at the top of this post, the Packaging back in the 50s was simple, yet appealing to the eye. The smooth edges of the words "Mountain Dew" were easy to look at, and the cartoon 'hillbilly' was a nice play on words. I'm happy that they decided to use this art, rather than the Logo that was used in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, as they did with 2009's Mountain Dew Throwback.

figure 2

This may feel more nostalgic for some, but might it might also feel a little monotonus, as it was the logo for thirty years. I have yet to see 2010's Throwback in a glass bottle, although I believe it exists. The original slogan for Mountain Dew in the 50s was "It'll tickle yore innards!" (Spelling of 'yore' intentional) Mountain Dew always had awesome marketing and bottle design, even from the very start.

Mountain Dew Throwback is a genious conception, and definitley made PepsiCo. a ton of money. For good reason too, as it is a quality product. No high-fructose corn syrup, only sugar. It makes for a bolder, and sweeter flavor that you can't beat. If you have a choice of buying either Mountain Dew Throwback or Mtn Dew, get Throwback. They really don't make it like they used to. Or wait.... I guess they do now.