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Energy Drink Review: Monster X-presso: “HAMMER”

August 31, 2010

Monster X-Presso: HAMMER

Okay, yes, I promised a Dragon Age DLC review today, but firstly, the DLC is so appalling that trying to wade through it is a lot like actual work, second, the DLC authorization/downloading stuff is as buggy as all hell, and third, it’s my damn blog and I can do what I like. I will, however, be reviewing an energy drink instead.

Monster is a fairly popular energy drink over in the states, but here it’s only really just started to appear. I’m not sure if we have got a reformulated version of the drink (or just a renamed version), but the “normal” Monster drink we get here has the dubious honour of tasting uncannily like dust – somehow it even manages to match the texture of it too. Think of it as being kind of like a liquid version of what you try not to inhale when you’re emptying a vacuum cleaner, only caffeinated. I generally avoid it, but today, I saw something exciting. A new Monster flavour – indeed, a new Monster concept.

Enter the preposterously named Monster X-presso: HAMMER (I believe the actual flavour is called “HAMMER“, while the drink itself is “monster x-presso”), the first “coffee” “flavoured” energy drink beverage to hit the shelves down under. Now, coffee in cans is nothing new to us here, we do, after all, live quite close to Japan, and those crazy chaps seem to have created an export economy based on cars, hello kitty, tentacle rape and coffee-inspired drinks. I think that coffee in a can should intrinsically be setting off some alarm bells with any sane person – especially given that they tend to contain milk and sugar, and, last I checked, milk wasn’t shelf stable. A quick examination of the can confirms that HAMMER also contains skim milk “concentrate” and cream (why not just use normal milk “concentrate”?), so, at the very least, I’m assuming it’s been heat-treated to buggery (or maybe irradiated) to give it a whopping 2 year unrefrigerated shelf life. This fact may start to explain the taste.

Hammer, home of the FOAM ZONE

But let’s rewind just a bit – I have (in moments of desperation) actually drank some of those suspicious cans of coffee from my local mysterious asian grocery store (you know the ones). They tend to be weirdly unlike what you wish they were, but some of them are passably drinkable. However, none of them released a noticeable fizz when being cracked open, unlike THE HAMMER. Actually, I was so shocked by it that I re-inspected the can, discovering an intriguing label (or is it, more accurately, a map?) as I did so. Well, don’t be fooled – despite the promises, my foam zone was a paltry centimetre high (maybe my Hammer was underpressurized), and there was no “creamy espresso”. In fact, what there was barely deserves to be called a “drink”.

Many energy drinks have an interesting taste – kind of like what you might imagine our space-faring descendants would be forced to drink in the deep darkness between stars to stop them from growing extra limbs or turning into gelatinous cubes, but this was different. This was, quite simply, a bit rubbish. It wasn’t even the kind of rubbish taste that you hope for; the kind where you can throw the glass down in disgust and cry out for a truffle to clear your palette. No, instead, it was okay – by far the biggest problem came from the sweetness level, which had been dialed up to 11.

In terms of nutritional content, it’s pretty lacking. It’s partly artificially sweetened, so, ml for ml it has about 50% less sugar than juice, it has about the same amount of caffeine as a regular cup of coffee (without the pesky taste), and it has a whole gram of taurine (which, I have no doubt, will pretty much pass straight through you).

Looks like alarmingly weak coffee (or perhaps milky tea). Has a strange, short-lived head or “foam zone” as I have been told. 3/10
Like a milky, rubbish coffee prepared with ten-thousand year old coffee grounds by an Englishman. Only they have decided to make it impossibly, sickeningly sweet. 2/10
Canned coffee. Which is to say, weird. 3/10
Pretty much the same as a cup of coffee. Only it tastes infinitely worse. 3/10

I’m glad that the family of coffee-based energy drinks has appeared in Australia, but I do wish the first showing was a bit stronger. The drink tastes alright, but is far, far too sweet, and way too weak with the coffee flavour. Roll on the next version!

From → Food Reviews, Reviews

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