Tag Archives: drink review

BAI ANTIOXIDANT INFUSION: KULA WATERMELON

BaiKula

Nobody knows what ‘Bai Antioxidant Infusion’ means; least of all its makers.

Unfortunately, this hasn’t stopped them.

This drink is absolutely disgusting. Working off the strange mouth-drying sensation that Oasis fruit beverages do so well despite their liquid form, Bai Antioxidant Infusion takes the reigns and rides that horse off a cliff.

Watermelons are nice. Most teas are nice. This is nice hung, drawn and bottled, and all for well over £2. I can’t begin to work out how they could’ve fucked up a theoretically simple beverage so absolutely.

Naturally, I can only write about my experiences with the kula (again, meaning unknown) watermelon model. The other fruit flavours in the range may well be delicious. But just because the possibility of a thing exists, doesn’t make it in any way likely.

To make matters considerably worse, the label features a completely nonsensical story about Robin Hood in the most afterthought piece of narrative branding the world has ever had inflicted upon it – see below.

IMG_20170505_082750475_HDR

That’s right, the marketing team behind Bai Antioxidant are advocating for its product to be made illegal. Edgy. Banter. Both. Or Something.

Given that is a company that is shifting enough units to justify a Super Bowl commercial starring Justin Timberlake and Christopher Walken, I can safely say I understand the world less than ever.

If this is what antioxidants are all about, then I’m throwing my hat in with the oxidants.

TASTE/ EXPERIENCE: 1/10

TASTE/ EXPERIENCE + MARKETING: -5/10

GRANDE STARBUCKS AMERICANO COFFEE WITH A DASH OF MILK AND SUGAR IN A TAKE AWAY CUP

starbucks

Guest blog by Mansour Chow

Okay. Let’s get this part over with before I can truly begin.

Yes, it was from Starbucks.

I know. I know. It’s a company that thrived through an unethical and aggressive clustering model, opening multiple stores near independent businesses so that the overall share of coffee sales for the independent businesses drops significantly causing them to stagnate, or worse, to fold because they don’t have the vast resources to ride out the storm. Naomi Klein, in No Logo, describes it as this:

The idea is to saturate an area with stores until the coffee competition is so fierce that sales drop even in individual Starbucks outlets.”

It worked because, again, according to Klein:

“…while sales were slowing at individual stores, the total sales of all the chain’s stores combined continued to rise. Put another way, Starbucks the company was expanding its market while its individual outlets were losing market share, largely to other Starbucks outlets… but the chains’ aggressive strategy of market expansion has the added bonus of simultaneously taking out competitors.”

So, yeah, I bought the coffee from Starbucks: a company that, until the practice was exposed and became too controversial, undertook lease-poaching against independent coffee stores, offering higher rents to landlords under the noses of those independent businesses, causing closures and evictions for the independent coffee shop, only for it to quickly be replaced by a Starbucks.

We’re talking about Starbucks: a company which in 2012 had ten-year sales of 3bn in the UK, but paid only £8.5m in corporation tax (and nothing from 2008-2012). This is a company with *arguably opaque accounting practices, *arguably using creative accounting to give the impression that they’ve made losses in order not to pay corporation tax. A company that currently appears (*arguably) to be using the same sort of creative accounting to give the impression that they make less profit than they actually do in order to pay very little in corporation tax.

Yes, I know. Starbucks: a company that has only just starting paying the national living wage, significantly less than what the Living Wage Foundation recommends.

Yes, Starbucks: a company whose coffee is alleged to be extra-roasted (burnt) to disguise the poor quality of the beans. Starbucks, whose coffee frequently performs poorly in taste tests.

And yet I knew all that and still had a coffee there. What does that say about me? I’ll tell you what it says about me. It says I’m a piece of shit. Okay. I admit it. I’m a god damn piece of shit. What more do you want from me?

Oh, you want to talk about the takeaway cups? Well, good. So do I. Let’s talk about the takeaway cups. 

I know they can’t really be recycled. I know that Starbucks deliberately (*arguably) gives the impression to customers that the cups can be recycled, even when only two extremely specialist recycling plants in the UK can do it.

I knew all this and yet I still had my coffee in a takeaway cup anyway, even in that knowledge.

Okay? Are you happy? I’ve already said it, but I’ll say it again. I’m a piece of shit. I’m scum. What more do you want from me? An apology? Okay, I’m sorry. I’m genuinely sorry. Are you happy now? Of course you’re not happy. Your kind will never be happy.

***

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, I can actually tell you about something far more important: the so-called warning on the cup. It reads:

Careful, the beverage you are about to enjoy is extremely hot.

Can you believe that? Let me write it again in case you don’t believe what you’ve just read.

Careful, the beverage you are about to enjoy is extremely hot.

Okay, I copied and pasted that one. So let me truly write it again (technically type it, but I think this qualifies as both nowadays, doesn’t it?).

Careful, the beverage you are about to enjoy is extremely hot.

The fucking cheek of those bastards. I mean, seriously. You know what I’m getting at, don’t you?

How they hell do they know I’m going to enjoy it?!  How dare they assume! I’ll be the bloody judge of whether I enjoy their beverage or not. I won’t have it suggested or NLPd into me. I won’t allow it, and I won’t stand for it. Capitalist pigs. 

Notice they say ‘extremely hot’. Extremely hot. Extremely hot, not just hot, but extremely hot. Fucking show-offs.

Well, if it’s extremely hot, then how the hell am I about to enjoy it? As far as I’m concerned, if it’s extremely hot then it’s too hot. And if it’s too hot then I’m not going to enjoy the fucking beverage.

And how the hell do they know it’s extremely hot? How do they know when I’ll choose to drink it? What if I wait for it to go cold? Then their fucking smug warning on their cup is a complete lie.

But it was a fucking lie anyway.

It’s all a lie. We have been raised in a consumerist society of blinkered and distorted vision. It creates idiots like me who buy coffee from unethical companies in cups that I know are bad for the environment. It confuses us into thinking we can’t make a difference. It throws doubt into our brains so we feel any actions to cause less harm, minimise risk or even do good are a drop in the ocean.

It’s the same system that tells us everyone can be a winner, but it’s all a fucking lie. I mean, look at me. Tell me honestly, do you really think someone like me can ever be a winner? Come on, just tell the truth. You couldn’t even say that with a smidgeon of conviction. Just be honest with me. I can take it. Exactly, I am a disgusting piece of shit and my existence is beyond worthless.

As for the coffee, I don’t think it’s as bad as snobs say.

Overall rating: 5/10

*Please don’t sue. I’m skint enough as it is

LEVI ROOTS JAMAICAN SUNSET

LeviRoots-680x365

Let’s make this absolutely clear; I have never witnessed an absolute, literal Jamaican sunset. But I do know what a moderately pleasant carbonated beverage tastes like, and this, readers, is that.

Levi advises me to “put some music in my glass”. I drank it out of the plastic bottle it came in, and this was the crucial factor, I can only presume, in a lack of music in my general area.

Watermelon and guava is the flavour, with the italics really pushing me into the purchase.

It is decent – nothing more, nothing less. Pleasantly fruity, and provides sufficient sugars for after a particularly gruelling game of 5-a-side football.

In the scheme of Caribbean-influenced newsagent beverages, it is conceptually more manageable than Rio Tropical, marketing’s ‘healthy Lilt’ which has been covered previously on this blog. However, it ranks nowhere near the stratospheric limbo bar set by Sun Exotic Sparkling Pineapple and Coconut.

I can only speculate that a Jamaican sunset of the traditional kind might rate significantly higher, but this one scores 6/10.

TETLEY TEA: A CRITIQUE

Tetley

Someone had to put down the words that are to follow. I am just sad that it had to be a Yorkshireman.

Tetley, established 1837, has lost its way in the year AD 2015. It’s the ‘range’, see.

Let’s spell it out: Green, ‘Super Green’ whatever the fuck that is (in four different fruity aromas), the ‘Blend Collection’ (including a treacherous ‘Blend of Both’ using both Original and Green teas), Redbush, Earl Grey, Peppermint, Camomile. Is that better, Tetley? I do not think so.

Tetley is not supposed to have a ‘range’. Black tea, to drink with lashings of milk to taste, that’s it. That’s your ‘range’. It has been a struggle to even accept that Tetley is offering several tea options – but now I accept that acceptance is the only way to get this seminal future warning from history into being.

This is not to say that I haven’t betrayed my Yorkshire roots to develop a heavy interest in tea alternatives, some of which may easily be termed “poncy”. I have. There have been times when I have strayed far from my home county’s vicious, righteous tea philosophies – perhaps towards a ‘winter-themed’ Chai in a cafe near Watford, for example. But I am a weak, bendable human, subject to environmental influences. You, Tetley are more than that: A bastion of hot beverage conservatism that must be preserved at all cost.

The availability of poncy teas of all kinds does not bother me at all. I just wouldn’t buy such teas from Tetley. OK, I did one time try its mint tea when it was on offer and I was unobservant of anything beyond the reduced label. For the record, it’s no fucking good; insipid at best. My weakness does not make your weakness any better, Tetley.

What would your founding fathers Joseph and Edward think of you now, Tetley? You and your ‘range’? Would they be wowed by your diversification in the face of commercial challengers? No. Would they fuck. They’d rather see Tetley die on its pure, pure sword and go back to selling salt from a pack horse than besmirch itself in this game.

Let’s compromise, Tetley: I can turn a blind eye to a ‘range’ of three, but only the following three: original, decaf, extra strong. Do not forsake the children.

I will now walk away from my keyboard, tutting.

CHOCOLATE MILKSHAKE

File:Chocolate Milkshake - Playa Potrero Road Trip.jpg

Is chocolate milkshake ever really that good?

This is a question many of the great thinkers of our time haven’t pondered.  Perhaps they should have. Or, perhaps the pondering should have been more nuanced: is chocolate milkshake ever really as good as we sense it ought to be?

Anyway, one of the great thinkers I may not be, but I’m here to ponder it right now. And the answer is no. To both.

Yes, chocolate milkshake is religiously disappointing, and to add potentially an extra layer of disappointment to the experience, I have got quite into drinking Alpro soya milkshake. Having previously drank it by accident I found that it in fact is no more disappointing than other no-soya store brands, so therefore feels strangely like its better.

It also feels like it should be healthier, but I haven’t been arsed to do the research to establish whether that’s the case. Let’s go with yes, it definitely is healthier.

I want to make this much clear: chocolate milkshake is in no way abhorrent. All the same, no matter how sweet any given example is, it just seems heavy and somehow sort of savoury. It solidly hits about a 70:30 chore-to-pleasure ratio.

It’s be fair to concede that there is a lot of uncertainty in this blog. But there again there is barely any certainty in any of these blogs. Welcome to the real world, motherfuckers. Life ain’t all joy filtered through milky beverages; better get real. Really, really real. Drink strawberry milkshake.

CHOCOLATE MILKSHAKE: 5/10

ALPRO SOYA CHOCOLATE MILKSHAKE: 6/10