If you're a fan of the two hottest talk show hosts as I am, you will no doubt have heard about the acai berry. Oprah and Rachel Ray have both raved bout this new superfood, and as I tend to do, I immediately went out to try it out for myself. Well, I bought my first box of juice, tried it right then and there, and was immediately taken aback. I screwed up my face about as much as if someone had played the 'lemon instead of an orange' trick on me.
"But how can that be" I thought to myself. My talkshow heros wouldn't lead me astray? So I decided that my first taste of acai berry must have been a fluke - I picked the worst tasting acai berry available in my town. Although, it at $2.39 / 8oz I had the unfounded belief that my acai berry juice should have been delicious.
As you have gathered, after that first try, I decided that a taste test was in order, and I promptly lined up 3 unsuspecting household members. If Oprah and Rachel Ray love acai, there must be some redeeming taste on top of the health benefits, so I figured I just got unlucky with my first choice.
So back to the store (as well as 3 others) to see what else they had in stock, and I came home with 5 different options (including the dreaded first variety), all containing slightly different concentrations of acai berry and various other juices. The following is a summary of the 5 varieties, and a summary of my testers reports.
1. Nova Acai made in Brazil. Cost: $2.39 for 250ml/8.4oz. The ingredients listed are purified water, naturally organic acai puree, organic evaporated cane juice, citric acid. Nutritionally 120 calories per container, 3.6g of fat 1.3 of which are saturated (6% of your rec. daily intake) and 39% of rec. daily intake of Vitamin C.
2. O.N.E Amazon Acai made in Brazil. Cost: $3.99 or $2.99 depending on the store for 330ml/11oz. Contains: 100% natural acai, 100% natural acerola, organic evaporated cane juice, citric acid, guarana extract, xantham gum, and lecithine de soya. Nutritionally 157 calories per container, 3g of fat 1 of which are saturated (5% of your rec. daily intake) and 167% of rec. daily intake of Vitamin C.
3. mySmoothie Superfruit Acai made in Sweden. Cost: $2.79 for 250ml/8.4oz. Contains: apple juice, crushed banana, 11% acai berry, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. Nutritionally 150 calories per container, 2.25g of fat .03 of which are saturated (less than 1 % of your rec. daily intake) and 39% of rec. daily intake of Vitamin C.
4. Happy Planet extreme purple made in Canada. Cost: $2.99 for 325ml/11 oz. Contains: pure apple juice, banana puree, peach puree, acai berry puree, blackberry puree, orange bioflavanoids, green tea powder extract, ascorbic acid and beta carotene. Nutritionally 130 calories per container, 0g of fat .0 of which are saturated (less than 1 % of your rec. daily intake) and 150% of rec. daily intake of Vitamin C.
5. Arthur?s Acai plus made in Canada. Cost: $3.29 for 325ml/11oz. Contains: berry puree blend (acai, blueberry, blackberry, boysenberry, cherry) apple juice, banana puree, pear juice, lemon juice. Nutritionally 230 calories per container, 4.5g of fat, 1g of which are saturated (5 % of your rec. daily intake) and 40% of rec. daily intake of Vitamin C.
And what did my tasters think of the 5 choices? Well, in fact we were all a bit surprised at how similarly we judged each product. In the end, everyone on the panel agreed that 3 juices came out ahead, while 2 juices were just abysmal. Disappointingly, it was the two Brazil juices that fared the worst - all judges agreed that they were far to bitter to consume on a regular basis, even if it was in the name of health. However, it should be noted that after the testing, one of the 'bad' juices was diluted with orange juice, and it was then back in the running as a 'tasty health juice'.
The other three juices were unanimously agreed to be tasty and very drinkable. Happy Planet Extreme Purple was the favorite, with a good taste, smell and texture. mySmoothi Superfruit Acai was the favorite of one lone judge. A unanimous silver medal was awarded to Arthurs's Acai.
So what to make of these results? The Brazilian juices tested simply can't be drunk without being mixed with another juice and frankly, who needs saturated fat in their juice! Arthur's Acai plus has an excellent flavor but gets a thumbs down for also having saturated fat. I would have to say that Happy Planet extreme purple is the winner of this tasting session with mySmoothie superfruit acai coming in a respectable 2nd place.