When I was little, my parents used to water my soda down. Yes, they were those people. So it should be no surprise that my parents were also on the energy drinks are the devil campaign (don’t worry, I turned out fine).
Recently, I got to try MATI, an energy drink that even my parents could get on board with. It is naturally sweetened with no added sugars, preservatives, or artificial ingredients. It’s calorie count is low, and it is 30% fruit juice (primarily concentrate), and is naturally carbonated and caffeinated with guayusa tea.
Guayusa is a caffeinated tree leaf that isn’t actually related to black or green tea. When brewed, it has almost as much caffeine as coffee. To test this, I convinced my husband and three friends to replaced their daily coffee with a can of MATI for a few days. They were all surprised to find that they were just as energized with MATI as they would’ve been with a cup of coffee (say what?!). But they weren’t quite willing to replace a hot cup of comfort for a cold can of carbonation in the morning. That said, they all thought MATI would be a great afternoon pick me up (I personally prefer ice cream).
I tried all of the original MATI flavors – Citrus, Cherry and Tropical. I also sampled the new flavors – Passionfruit, Blueberry Pomegranate and Peach Mango both in the can, and with a vigorous pour in a cup. I would highly recommend drinking these out of the can, just as the as the creators probably intended.
Below is my review of each of the flavors, ranked high to low.
Look: 4.50| Smell: 4.00| Taste: 4.00| Feel: 3.00 | Overall: 4.50
Look: Nice red tint
Smell: Fruit cocktail and cherry
Taste: Herby, no taste of bitterness, strong burgundy cherry flavor
Feel: Fizzy, and held the carbonation after poured
Overall: The taste really delivered on the smell, and was very refreshing. This was surprisingly, my favorite. I thought the cherry would be too medicinal, aka Robitussin®, but it wasn’t.
Passion Fruit: 3.30/5.00
Look: 3.00 | Smell: 3.50 | Taste: 3.00 | Feel: 3.00 | Overall: 4.00
Look: Gold, clear
Smells: Passion fruit and apple juice concentrate
Taste: Acidic, fairly bitter, minor notes of passion fruit
Feel: Crisp carbonation
Overall: Smelled far more passion fruity than it actually tasted. I had to knock it a bit for the fact that it was a smidge bitter, but it did have some nice acidity and carbonation that made it very drinkable.
Blueberry Pomegranate: 3.20/5.00
Look: 5.00 | Smell: 1.00 | Taste: 3.00 | Feel: 3.00 | Overall: 4.00
Look: Beautiful vibrant red
Smell: Smells vaguely of canned beets
Taste: Strong flavors of tea, fairly bitter, tart, blueberry skins
Feel: Crisp carbonation
Overall: I liked that the tea shown through this one more than some of the others. It did smell kind of funky, but it was a really beautiful pour with nice notes of tartness and tea.
Look: 1.00 | Smell: 2.00 | Taste: 3.50 | Feel: 3.50 | Overall: 3.50
Look: Gold, cloudy
Smell: Reminded me of Orange Crush, yes, the soda
Taste: Tart, very acidic
Feel: Very fizzy, mouth of metallic lingering bitterness
Overall: I’m not going to lie; this is one of those drinks that was meant to be drank out of the can because when poured, it is definitely not one of the prettiest – think murky lake water. The flavor was hard to find because all I could taste was acid. I’m not sure how it changed my experience, but this one seemed a lot more enjoyable when I was drinking it out of a can.
Look: 3.00| Smell: 4.00 | Taste: 1.00 | Feel: 2.00 | Overall: 3.00
Look: Gold, mostly clear
Smell: Pineapple mango juice
Taste: Very little flavor that corresponds to the smell
Feel: Light body, very fizzy, mouth of metallic lingering bitterness
Overall: My beef with the Tropical was that it smelled so promising, but it was hard to find a corresponding flavor in the actual drink. It was just a bit of let down. All in all, it had similar issues to Citrus, but it did look better.
Peach Mango: 2.60/5.00
Look: 3.00 | Smell: 3.50 | Taste: 1.50 | Feel: 2.00 | Overall: 3.00
Look: Gold, mostly clear
Smell: Mango and canned peaches
Taste: Tea and slightly medicinal
Feel: Fizzy, some metallic bitterness
Overall: Similarly to Tropical, Peach Mango had an enticing smell, but it didn’t deliver on the taste. I did like that the tea seemed to shine through this one a little more, but it was a tad medicinal.
If I were on a hunt for an all-natural energy drink, MATI would definitely be my jam. You can find where it’s being sold on the MATI website. Not sure which one to try first? I would definitely check out the Cherry. Happy healthy drinking!
Note: From time to time we’re invited out to try a restaurant or to taste new menu items or products. This meal/product is usually comped, as this one was. We’re under no obligation to write a positive review or any review at all when we’re invited out to try a place. Every review you see on our site will be an honest review of the place or product whether or not the restaurant or producer provided us with the meal or product at their cost.
Christine Nguyen is a structural engineer working in downtown Raleigh. She is an alumna of NC State University and Virginia Tech where she was a member of the Food Science Club. Christine is an avid traveler, and a lover of good food and company. You can follow her on Instagram @atinywin.