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Unidentifiable citrus flavor meets weak caffeine content.

PurAqua Energy Citrus Drink Mix Sticks (Aldi)

I think I’ve written enough reviews of drink mix sticks to forego the usual “first paragraph rambling”, so let’s not waste any time with this one.

Here we have a new entrant into Aldi’s inventory; well, I’m not sure how “new” it is, but it’s new to me. It’s a citrus drink mix packet. But not just any kind of drink mix stick: An energy boosting one! Other stores have had these for a while, but I believe this is the first time I’ve seen Aldi carry them. From my personal experience, these are typically not very good (Example A: Mio Energy Powder, which disappeared from stores despite being from a prominent “drink enhancement” company), but you know what they say about judging a book by its cover. Even if you are usually right when doing so.

Judging from the scent…yep, this is citrus. That’s about all I can say about it. No one “fruit” or specific aroma stands out: It’s just an unidentifiable glob of sour that hits the same notes as an acidic fruit. I happen to love citrus – hence the reason I chose this variety – but even I’m wondering what the flavor is going to bring. 

True to expectations, it’s just a cloud of sour and tangy, offset by a bit of sweet that creeps in. It’s a flavor “profile” rather than an actual flavor. The sour builds up in the back of the throat, causing that sticky spit to accumulate (does that qualify as mucous?) That’s not a drawback; it’s just a descriptive observation as that tends to happen with sour things. There’s nothing that really leaves any kind of lasting mark.

Thankfully, the beverage avoids hitting notes of “cleaning product”, which is a relatively common occurrence for “citrus flavored” drink mixes. There’s nothing too exaggerated here. But by the same token, there’s nothing really all that memorable. It’s a flavor that I can’t see appealing to many, but at the same time, I can’t really see it offending many, either. It’s just a straight line. And as Chris Cornell once said, “Put a bend in the road, I’m growing tired of straight lines.” I wouldn’t be surprised if he wrote that after trying this.

One of the biggest positives is the price: A 10-pack of sticks is $1.89. This is about a dime cheaper than similar offerings from Walmart. With prices rising quickly, this is one of the more affordable energy drink mixes that I’ve seen.

However, there is a medium-to-large setback: Caffeine content. Despite being billed as an “energy” beverage, each packet contains about 60mg of the energy enhancer. This is a paltry amount that won’t do much for most users. Even Walmart’s version – which is only a dime more – doubles that quantity. I will say I got some noticeable effects – most notably a slight headache but also a little extra kick – but I’m also pretty sensitive to caffeine. I can’t see most “regular” users looking for a boost finding one here.

In the end, this is an average tasting drink with below-average potential for effectiveness. And that’s not something I can recommend, regardless of price.  

Overall: 5/10. The $1.89 retail price for 10 drink sticks is one of the cheapest out of current private label brands. However, it’s marred by an incoherent flavor that does manage to hit the citrus flavor profile, but not in an identifiable way that’s very good. It’s just a mess of citrus, favoring the tangy side, with a side of sweet to finish it all off. The measly caffeine content – a scant 60mg per packet – won’t really do much for a lot of users accustomed to coffee. In the end, the value is offset by a lack of taste and performance, which is something I can’t recommend. Regardless of price.

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