Back in October 2020, aka forever ago (it feels like it, anyways), I did a quick li’l roundup of energy drinks to fuel your body and mind. Well saddle up, kiddos, because I’m coming atcha with round 2.
If you’re a normal human person who feels like they need caffeine to function, it can seem like there are a ton of options on the market. And there are! Whether you’re buying from your local convenience store or placing a specific order online, there are a bevvy of bevvies for the choosing. So how do you know you’re getting the best buzz for your buck? Let’s discuss.
Previously, I’d tested out Red Bull, G Fuel, and Razer Respawn, so I figured this time we’d try something different. Whether you’re crushing cans or shaking it up, I wanted to test out some new brands that could help you out.
Performance-enhancing beverages can be used for a variety of reasons. You may want to up your high score, cram in some extra study time, get a boost on the field, or just try and have a great, productive day. Whatever your goals are, there are some things to consider.
Does it taste good? Does it mix well? Is there variety? Is it affordable and easy to get? What kind of energy are you getting? How does it make you feel? I’m using these parameters to try and suss out your best bet.
At $32.99 for 30 servings, Rogue Energy offers a line of powders with four different levels of caffeine. There’s the Energy line at 175mg of caffeine (which comes in Raspberry Peach, Blood Orange, Blue Raspberry, Watermelon, Cherry Limeade, Strawberry Kiwi, Pink Lemonade, Grape Popsicle, and Mango Pineapple), the zero-calorie energy milkshake line at 130mg (Caramel Vanilla Latte or Cookies ‘N Cream), the Extreme option with 300mg of caffeine (Strawberry Lemonade or Green Apple), and the Hydration line that offers a “zero-stimulant hydration beverage” that fuels your body with electrolytes and vitamins (Raspberry Peach, Fruit Punch, or Dragon Fruit Mango).
When ordering, you can get the straight tubs, or if you prefer to fuel on the go (or don’t want to make the one-flavour commitment), you can order customized variety packs of single-serving packets. Try 5 for $10.99, 16 for $29.99, or 30 for $39.99. There are roughly 16 different shaker colours to choose from, and you can also order a starter pack that comes with a shaker and 5 single-servings packages.
“It dissolves well, it tastes great, and it gives a nice, even buzz of energy and focus.”
While Rogue is a “gaming company at heart”, Rogue Energy is “specifically designed for gamers, athletes, students, entrepreneurs, people with hectic schedules, individuals with low energy, people who are health-conscious, and so much more!”. As someone who falls under a few of those categories, I can recognize and appreciate that they’re attempting to open up their marketing/reach to more than just gamers. By offering four different kinds of drink mix (the caffeine-free Hydration focus line is particularly clever), they’re providing a bit more variety than just a multitude of flavour choices.
Their formula also includes mucuna pruriens — which is something you don’t often see in energy and focus drinks. The benefits include improved mood, increased hand-eye coordination, increased focus and motivation, and even improved libido.
My thoughts: I tried the Strawberry Kiwi and Cherry Limeade flavours, and while the Strawberry Kiwi was a bold flavour, I did find that Cherry Limeade was a bit more watered-down. I mean, to be fair, this is more in line with the concept of “limeade” flavouring, so I can’t fault it for that.
It dissolves well, it tastes great, and it gives a nice, even buzz of energy and focus. I found that I was able to communicate more clearly and felt alert without the low hum of anxious energy that sometimes accompanies energy drinks. Overall, while the price point isn’t the best, the ability to control your caffeine level through the different flavor lines while still getting the bonus of the focus is a great option if you’re not too keen on the jitters.
Reign boasts 180mg of caffeine per can, which feels like a lot. If you really need the boost, it’s convenient that you can pick up a can at your nearest convenience store, and the carbonation is a nice substitute for a powdery finish. I’ll give them this, their branding ain’t too bad either. The spartan helmet logo seems a bit more polished than some of the more abrasive logo designs I’ve seen.
The flavours offer 16 options to choose from, but some I’m… a little perplexed by. I’m not sure what to expect from Jalapeno Strawberry and Carnival Candy, though White Gummy Bear sounds oddly specific and weirdly delicious. That said, the Canadian side is far more limited in their selection.
The drink itself contains CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q10, a “vitamin-like substance” found throughout the body, mainly in the heart, liver, kidney and pancreas) which, as Reign explains, is “required for the proper function of many organs and biochemical reactions in the body and helps provide energy to cells”. Also found in Reign is natural caffeine, electrolytes, and BCAA (essential amino acids that comprise around 20% of your body’s muscle protein, which your body cannot produce on its own). The Inferno line (Jalapeno Strawberry, Red Dragon, True Blu, and Watermelon Warlord) also adds thermogenics to help boost your metabolism.
Reign is marketed as “total body fuel”, and their consumer base seems to be more targeted towards the fitness category; their ambassadors are all athletes or athletics-adjacent. Compared to the gamer-geared sites for other beverages, it’s kind of interesting to see the range in intensity and severity in their marketing.
My thoughts: Reign tastes rather sweet in comparison to the powdered drinks (though it does contain 0 sugar, and zero artificial flavors and colors), but that’s likely because it’s less diluted, and the carbonation easily tricks you into thinking it’s some kind of pop (or soda, whatever your local term is). It’s a bit weird for me to think of chugging something carbonated in the middle of a hard workout, but I’m not here to judge your process.
In terms of caffeine boost, I found the large can of Reign took me longer to consume and gave me a bit more of an anxious buzz (180mg of caffeine will do that to you), but I’m sure if I were expending more energy with a workout, that would taper off considerably.
Boasting a Keto-friendly, zero-calorie drink mix with organic caffeine, electrolytes, and nootropics (to “boost” brain performance), GG rings up at $35.99 per 100-serving tub. Though the amount you use for each drink is customisable, if you’re playing by the standard measurements that’s only $0.35/serving. Not bad, especially if you compare this with G Fuel’s 40 servings for the same price tag per tub.
There are 9 flavours in their 100-serving tub lineup (Acai Blueberry, Dragonfruit Punch, Blue Razz, Citrus Lemonade, Mango Meta, Misfits Melon, Pineapple Cocktail, Waifu Candy, and something called Guacamole Gamer Fart 9000 by RussianBadger, which is apparently the official energy drink of shitposting and actually tastes like strawberry-lime. So, there you go).
If you opt for the 60 serving tub ($29.99), you can choose between Dragonfruit Punch, Sour Apple, Watermelon Ice, Acai Blueberry, Strawberry Burst, and Lemon Limeade. The packaging is actually pretty rad; it’s colourful and well designed without being too ostentatious. You can even order free samples if you’d like to test it out on your own without the monetary commitment.
When it comes to the shakers available on the site, there aren’t really a ton of options available. You get one colour choice for the 24 oz (army green) and 16 oz (a robust purple), and the rest are all from their Waifu collection. Which is great if that’s your cuppa! But anyone else might find the lack of choices a downside. If you need to buy one of the branded shakers, that is. You might not? If you do, they all come with a 3-sample pack of the mix.
“In terms of its actual functionality—GG had me feeling a bit buzzy…”
When looking at the ingredients of GG, I noticed their formula includes Lutein and Astaxanthin, which both work to benefit your eye health. So, if you’re staring at a screen for hours a day, taking in that blue light… it’s definitely a great element to include in their compound, and one that I would never have thought to look for. But there it is. Overall, I found the GG formula to be the most impressive, just in terms of the properties of each of the ingredients. It has an impressive roster of electrolytes, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins, and uses Erythritol as a sweetener.
It is worth noting that — while this information was not immediately easy to track down — GG contains approximately 100mg of caffeine in a single serving. That’s roughly the equivalent of a strong cup of coffee, and when compared to Reign’s 180mg caffeine… well… it seems a bit light. But, with 60-100 servings per container, you can probably stand to make your mix a bit stronger. They do also offer a few caffeine-free options, which contain nootropics for heightened focus, but still allow for a reasonable bedtime.
My thoughts: I tested the Blue Razz, Dragonfruit Punch, Misfits Melon, and Mango Meta mixes. GG has a good, strong taste, even with just one tiny scoop. The mix dissolves well and it doesn’t taste too powdery, which is a definite bonus (nobody likes drinking chalk). With zero sugar, you don’t have that usual crash at the end of the day, and it’s a good option if you’re sugar-conscious (or diabetic). And though it does contain Sucralose, it doesn’t have that overpowering taste of artificial sweetener that sometimes comes along for the ride.
I found—in terms of its actual functionality—GG had me feeling a bit buzzy, but to be fair that was when I was using two scoops instead of one. With just one scoop, the taste was great (not so powerfully strong and sweet as my double-scoop days) and my productivity and focus did notice a considerable bump. Honestly GG did more for me than plain ol’ coffee ever could, and with one small scoop per serving, the 100-serving tub has been lasting me quite a while. It’s a highly cost-effective choice.
Promoted as a nootropic stack, MindFX says they have “picked the best natural nootropics to improve cerebral blood flow, neurotransmission, and overall cognitive functions”. Nootropics can be found naturally or produced in a laboratory, and MindFX’s product is all natural. This is a great benefit for those who like to know where their product comes from, or those who like to be conscious of what they consume. MindFX was “created as a healthy alternative to the highly caffeinated energy drinks and pre-workout products” that have flooded the market.
Their blend is made up of organic beet powder (to improve the amount of oxygen absorbed by your muscles during physical activity), vitamin B12 (which helps supply your cells with ATP energy, so you feel energized physically and mentally), Rhodiola Rosea (aka R.Rosea, a herb which promotes physical and mental vitality and reduces fatigue), caffeine (a humble 75mg), ginkgo biloba (to help promote blood flow, for memory and concentration), and theobromine (to relax bronchial muscles in the lungs, increasing oxygen flow to the brain).
They offer a Clean Energy line, one for ReCharge Sleep-Aid (peach tea flavored), and one called NeuroCharge. To be honest, I’m not quite sure what the difference is between the Clean Energy Pro, the Clean Energy, and the NeuroCharge lines, and their website doesn’t offer much in the way of clarification.
You can get a sample pack of single-serving packets of the Clean Energy powder in both flavors for $9.95, or a 30-count tub for $36.95 (which works out to around $1.23/serving, which is considerably higher than we’ve seen here). You can also buy a larger quantity of the individually packaged single servings for $34.95 (for a 20 pack, $1.75/serving). If you’re not into drinking your dose, you can also buy NeuroCharge capsules for $24.95 (for a bottle of 20).
They also do have some merch, including bottles designed for bike holsters. That’s pretty cool, actually, as the shaker cups aren’t always the best for on-the-go consumption.
“After a lengthy period of consuming energy drinks every single morning, I can comfortably say I have become dependent on their kick.”
My thoughts: The flavors are limited to Mixed Berry and Orange Mango, and both are perhaps… more mature than the candy-like quality of other drinks. I found the taste to be more akin to powdered iced tea, but with a hint of berry to it. Though it’s a bit chalky, overall, it’s not bad. But in comparison to the more vivacious flavor collections of the previous entries, it’s probably a taste that would be more geared towards those with more discerning palates.
The effects were definitely more in favor of cognitive performance than pure energetic boost. I didn’t feel buzzy and generally felt more aware than just alert. As per my morning routine, I paired my drink with my morning workout, so I think that the lower caffeine level would probably have me struggling a bit more if it weren’t for that extra activity.
It would certainly be a great mid-day boost at work — and the easily transportable single-serving packets support this) — and it supports the ability to actually fall asleep if you do choose to partake in an afternoon drink. Plus, the addition of a product designed specifically to help you sleep is nice to see. For a bit of balance, you see.
I found MindFX’s formula generally made me feel more clear-headed, but this round I’m going to have to hand it to GamerSupps GG. The smaller serving size has really helped to stretch out the lifespan of my tub—it’s definitely the most cost-effective—and it’s got just enough caffeine to get me going in the morning without giving me the jitters. If I really want to go hard, I can always add in that saucy second scoop. Also, after trying 4 different flavors, my experience has been consistently delicious.
I will note this: after a lengthy period of consuming energy drinks every single morning, I can comfortably say I have become dependent on their kick. Coffee won’t cut it. I… might have ruined myself for the sake of science. You’re welcome.
Anyways, consume responsibly.