This is a recurring series of posts based on what we find in the marketplace that is new, different and FLAVORFUL! We love finding new treasures in grocery stores – seeing new product launches in every aisle inspires us and we hope it will do the same for you. While it’s great to see these new products, it’s also good to know if it tastes GOOD. Let’s explore.
Well, hello again!
This month we are back with a Flavorful Finds exploring new beverage products. These range from items you may try for breakfast through late afternoon refreshers and even post-workout recovery drinks. Let’s crack open some of these, shall we?
I’m starting with two kefir products. If you’ve looked at the dairy shelf the last year, you’ve probably noticed that apart from non-dairy milk options increasing, the amount of fermented dairy products available has grown significantly! Similar to sourdough (fermented bread from flour), fermented dairy is supposed to be more easily digested. All of those yummy probiotics were reason enough for me to give the below a try:
Lifeway Organic Whole Milk Ryazhenka
Rhy-whaaaat? You may ask? I thought the same thing.
Lifeway has undoubtedly the largest share of the US kefir market, but I had never seen this type before.
Apparently, this has been a popular type of cultured milk in Eastern Europe for centuries. Ryazhenka is traditionally made by pouring milk into clay pots that are baked in wood fire ovens for an entire day! This product has a darker color than the other kefirs on the market – think off white vs white.
The Ryazhenka was quite different than any type of kefir I have tried before. It’s very thick with a tart note; almost reminds me of the crema they use at Chipotle. For me, it was too thick. However, it would be delicious in a savory breakfast or muesli.
Forager Organic Cultured Probiotic Cashewgurt, plain (unsweetened)
As the Ryazhenka was unflavored, I thought it would be good to compare it to a plain non-dairy kefir. Forager has been doing a lot of innovation in this space over the past few years. From veggie chips to yogurt, this company has a plethora of plant-based offerings.
This product was a huge “WOW” for me. I was surprised at how much I liked it! Perhaps it was just comparing it to the super tart beverage before, but this was delish! I haven’t been pleased with cashew yogurt in the past, but was amazed at how smooth and palatable this drinkable version was. Especially for those who may be avoiding soy and almonds, this cashewgurt is a great option!
KITU Super Coffee, original
This ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee beverage is catered towards the keto crowd, as it has no sugar, but added protein and MCT oil. MCT oil is one of the new ‘super fats’. It’s basically coconut oil that is super refined, and has been linked to cognitive function, etc. It is one of the trademarks of the Bulletproof diet.
Having tried Bulletproof/Butter/Keto coffee before, this product did not wow me. I would even consider myself a potential target, as I make butter coffee most mornings. I’m also avoiding sugar lately. This product wasn’t great, I thought it was missing some needed dairy notes. Perhaps if I was in a huge bind for some butter coffee, this may get another go for me.
After the kefir, it made sense to venture to the lighter, refreshment area to round out the shopping trip:
O2: Oxygenated Natural Recovery in Orange Mango
This recovery beverage is clearly catered to the post-workout crowd. On the side of the can, it claims to have 2 ½X the electrolytes of sports drinks, 7X the oxygen, a lot of caffeine, and it’s naturally flavored.
I really enjoyed the flavor; orange and mango together make a great combination. This beverage also does not have much sugar; rather, it contains quite a bit of erythritol. I didn’t get too much of an after taste, and found it reminded me a lot of the orange fizzy soft drinks I loved as a kid.
After drinking this, I plan to do more research around the ‘cleansing effects of oxygen’ as I had not heard this before. Definitely worth a second look, and a second taste.
Tea Riot Ready-to-Drink in Lemon Yerba Mate
In the Hispanic-centered Flavorful Finds post, I showed some actual yerba mate that had not yet been brewed and was in its basic form. That said, yerba mate has EXPLODED in the US market and is appearing in so many beverages! This particular item is brewed tea with amino acid L-theanines, which is supposed to provide relaxation – or in this case ‘positive energy’. Added with some cold pressed juices, and you have a unique type of tea/refreshment.
I did not expect this to taste so tropical, but upon first sip, it surprised me! I really enjoyed it, because I love pineapple. Further, there was little to no bitterness from the brewed tea, which sometimes can be very strong in ready-to-drink tea beverages. YUM! Bring on the positive energy!
Rebbl Sparkling Prebiotic Tonic in Mystic Mint
Above, with the kefir products, probiotics are the claimed benefit. With this beverage, the benefits of prebiotic fibers are touted. Prebiotics feed the bacteria in the gut, where as probiotics promote more of the good bacteria themselves. It all results in one happy ecosystem (supposedly). Along with prebiotic fiber, yerba mate makes another appearance, along with peppermint, hibiscus and lemon.
This tonic packs a HUGE flavor punch – too much in my opinion. It also has a strong bitter taste, with some spice, likely from the mint. A small sip is fine, but I don’t think I could drink an entire bottle of the tonic. I guess I need to start finding some prebiotic elsewhere.
Until next time… go try some new bevs! -Mary