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A Boost of Energy.

I’m a man of habits. When we lived in Oslo, I had myself an energy drink every Friday evening, often visiting stores and 7-Elevens to find ones I’d not tried before. Now, things are a bit different. Pouring down an energy drink on a Friday evening is no longer an option, since I need all the sleep I can get. I won’t risk that whatever is in the beverage actually kicks in. So instead, I’ve started nursing my addiction at work, were I need a little energy boost from time to time. I’ve even managed to infect a co-worker with the energy drink bug. At one point the pile of empty cans on our desks grew a little too fast and we had to agree only to have one every Monday, Wednesday and Friday: Monday to get over the depression of a new work week, Wednesday because we were half way through the week and on Friday because, well, it was Friday!

A can of energy drink three times a week might not sound too healthy, but the alternative is to drink lots of coffee to stay sharp, and I doubt that too much coffee is particularly healthy either. Hell, you can even die from drinking too much water. And if a can of energy drink can replace a couple of cups of coffee, I really don’t see it doing any harm, at least not any additional harm. Besides, there are regulations dictating how much caffeine the manufacturer can mix into their secret recipes. In Norway, the magic number is 32 milligrams of caffeine per 500 milliliters. A cup (about 200 milliliters) of instant coffee, by comparison, usually contains between 65 and 90 milligrams of caffeine. Quite a lot more, in other words. The typical energy drink also contains loads of other ingredients, like unholy amounts of sugar and extracts from various mysterious herbs found deep inside of the Brazilian rainforest. The point I’m trying to get across here is that everything is unhealthy if you consume too much of it.

Since I’m now on parental leave I can no longer take part in the energy drink orgies at work – I doubt that they are still in effect anyway, since I was the enabler – so instead I’m planning to go back to my original a-can-once-a-week-routine (except not in the evening). For me, having that can is not about clenching my thirst, or getting the boost of energy the can promises. It’s about relaxing and actually enjoying a great beverage. Some people have a glass of wine to kick back and relax. I’ve got my energy drink. It’s about time people realize that energy drinks aren’t only for mixing with alcohol at frat parties or for South Korean StarCraft players who need to keep their APM at peak level through the wee hours of the night. Energy drinks are right up there with the finest wine and the most obscure microbrewery beer.

So now I’m going to do something about just that. You guessed it: It’s review time!

To convince the world about the hidden beauty of energy drinks, I’m planning to go in-depth. And of course an in-depth review has to contain a lot of unnecessary details:

  • The hard facts: Who made beverage and what’s in the container? Perhaps we want to avoid some manufacturers? Maybe you are allergic to something? Fact boxes are beautiful, I want to fill them to the brim with everything you need to know to have a clear continence and stay alive.
  • Container design: First impressions are important, and the container – usually a can – is the first thing you see. Does the container make the drink look delicious? Does it make me want to rip it open or throw it straight in the trash? Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?
  • The first smell: The container is open. The first smell hits my nose. Does it smell natural? Refreshing? Synthetic? Do I want to taste it after the smell?
  • First sip from the can: Ah, that first, delicious sip. Did the smell betray me, or does the sip actually match the smell? How does the mouth feel? What about the aftertaste? If the drink is available both in a can and a glass bottle, is there any different in the taste? Some of my friends swear that Coca-Cola taste better from a glass bottle than a metallic can.
  • Taste from a glass: The beverage will probably taste more from a glass, since the nose will pick up more of the smell. Since smell is very important for taste – and many people prefer to drink their beverages from a glass instead of a can or another container, I of course need to test this as well. This is important consumer advice!
  • Visuals: How does the beverage look? Looks are important, no matter what your mother says. And does it look like it tastes?
  • After 5 minutes: How does everything feel after 5 minutes? Has the secret ingredients kicked in? I’m a slow drinker, so 5 minutes is probably 5 sips. Has my mouth gone numb? Can I still feel my tongue? And face?
  • After 10 minutes: Does the beverage start too loose the oomph? Is it still carbonated? Am I feeling more refreshed? Is there any effect at all?
  • The can is empty: How long did it take? Is the can really empty, or did I grow tired of everything? Am I writing an angry letter to the manufacturer, demanding my money back or else? Or do I feel satisfied and refreshed?

As you can see, there are a lot of very important questions that need to be answered. And I’ve got a plan. Will I ever follow up? We’ll see, I rarely do. I am, as we all know, the King of Half Assia.

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