Here at BevReview.com, we’re proud to feature this guest review by natural beverage enthusiast George Tsakiridis. We think you’ll enjoy his take on this selection of fruit juices!
In the world of fruit drinks, Zola has taken on the task of promoting health, ecological friendliness, and taste. They offer three flavors of superfruit drinks – Acai Original Juice, Acai with Blueberry Juice, and Acai with Pineapple Juice. Before discussing the actual juices, it will be helpful to look at the Acai fruit, the base fruit for the drinks.
Acai is a fruit that is found from the acai palm and is known to have many health benefits. It is grown near the Amazon River and is reported to help with digestion, heart health, and immunity. It is rich in antioxidants; in fact the official Zola website states that it has 500% the antioxidants found in blueberries.
Zola as a company emphasizes their support for the Brazilian community. They have created “Project Zola,” which works to give back to the people of the Brazilian Amazon who help to make their drinks possible. I would encourage anyone interested in the ecological and communal aspects of the company to look at their website. For some the environmental care is a definite benefit, but for those looking for a healthy, tasty drink, keep reading.
Now, on to the good part, the drinks themselves, starting with Acai Original Juice. This drink was much better than I expected. I am not a big follower of acai flavored drinks, though here at BevReview.com we have previously reviewed an acai-flavored energy drink, Full Throttle Mother… but that’s about it. Like many Americans, I tend to avoid things that I may not be familiar with when it comes to buying drinks. I was very pleasantly surprised. The drink has a fresh taste and is quite clean. It is a bit different than some of the “standard” fruit flavors, like orange or apple, but it is definitely enjoyable. It is not for everyone, but it is good. One real benefit of the taste is that it clears your mouth fairly quickly, and doesn’t leave you with a strong aftertaste.
The Original flavor also has a clear, liquid quality without much solid texture to it, which surprised me as I was expecting it to be a much thicker drink. The smell when I opened the bottle was fresh, but understated. The taste was clean and fruity, leaving an almost plum-like aftertaste, which I assume was the acai. I can definitely see this as a fresh, energy-giving drink.
Visually the look of the juice is opaque and purple – very purple. You can almost see small particles from the fruit, but as I stated before, it was not very viscous in nature – in other words it was more runny than thick. The packaging is aesthetically pleasing and does give that “rainforest” sort of feel. The drink comes a twelve-ounce bottle, and it is very easy to hold and carry.
Moving on to the Acai with Blueberry Juice flavor, the aesthetics are basically the same, as well as the tactile qualities. When it comes to smell and taste, it is a whole new ballgame. When you open the cap, you can smell the blueberries. And the taste can be described as “tasty blueberry satisfaction.” If you like blueberries, I think you’ll like this flavor. It still has the acai base, but the blueberries come through strong.
In regard to the third flavor, Acai with Pineapple Juice, again, the tactile and aesthetic qualities are basically the same as the original, but with regard to the taste and smell, it is a whole new experience. Pineapple aroma comes through in the smell, and it tastes like pineapple on an acai base. Where this drink really has a big advantage is that I feel it builds on the taste of actual pineapple juice. There is an understated pineapple taste compared to regular pineapple juice, but it is less acidic. Where regular pineapple juice can be tart or sharp, acai with pineapple juice cuts some of that acidity. If you like the taste of pineapple, you will like this drink, assuming you can tolerate the flavor of acai.
In the nutritional department all three flavors contain 93% juice, and are certified organic, as well as kosher certified. Each flavor also contains 24 mg of natural caffeine from guarana, and as stated on the label, “Each bottle provides 1200mg Omega 3, 6, and 9 Fatty Acids.” As with many natural products, if you look at the vitamin and nutritional information on the label, you may be underwhelmed. The numbers aren’t overly high, but that is because these products are using natural ingredients and are not fortified with vitamins to make their nutritional numbers look better.
Personally, I enjoyed all three drinks, but I preferred the addition of Blueberry or Pineapple to Original. Upon a second tasting, I think Blueberry is my favorite, but all three are quite drinkable to the fruit juice connoisseur. I do not normally drink acai, yet I found them to be enjoyable, so don’t let inexperience with this fruit scare you away. On the other hand, none of the drinks were earth shattering, and for the $2.99 suggested retail price, I would drink them more for the health benefits than the taste. The price is in line, or even less than what you might pay for an Odwalla or Naked Juice drink, but you are getting 12 oz with Zola versus the 15.2-16 oz you get with the other two.
Because Zola’s drinks are certified organic this helps to explain the higher price, but being organic is still a big positive for some consumers. It should be noted that, as stated on the label, the juice is from concentrate. Zola does seem to be going after a slightly different market than these other two mainstays, but I see them in a similar area of the health food, juice drink market. All in all, I think Zola has produced three solid drinks that are enjoyable to those who liked mixed fruit drinks with a natural bent.