Elevation Energy Wild Strawberry Drink Mix with Caffeine (Aldi)

An opened box of Elevation Energy Wild Strawberry Drink Mix with Caffeine, from Aldi
A useful mix of "wild" strawberry flavor and caffeine.

Because I hate the blandness of water so much, I’m a sucker for drink mixes. And because I like getting kicks of energy - mainly because I have to be at work at 6 a.m. - I also enjoy caffeine. In the olden days, I used to have to use two separate products to get what I needed, but now thanks to advancements in technology, I can use one powder to get both! Ain’t technology grand?

Even though I know I’m not writing a peer-reviewed scientific journal, I’m going to mention that I am out of “full size” (16.9 oz.) bottles of water and instead have to use a smaller 8 oz. bottle for the sake of this review. This means I am cutting the amount of powder down by half, to my best estimates. This might cause the flavor to be a little bit weaker or stronger than usual (depending on in what direction I err), but this will give me the basic gist, either way.

The smell definitely hints at something “wild”, with a strawberry smell that reminds me of what a strawberry cleaning product would smell like, if there were such things. To be clear, there's no actual "chemical" smell anywhere to be found, just an over-the-top, exaggerated strawberry scent that is actually fairly inviting. I guess it's so strong because these are "wild" strawberries, after all!

Speaking of which, why is lemon the default scent for virtually all cleaning products? Do all the required chemicals for any given disinfectant, or surface cleaner, just naturally smell close to lemon, so they just run with it? Why aren’t there more non-lemon cleaning agents? There’s lemon, and orange, and that’s about it; I’m asking because a cleaning product that smelled like strawberry would actually be kind of inviting. Or apple. That lemon smell is so entrenched in people’s nostrils I think everyone just assumes you’re covering something up when you use it, and it's so harsh it doesn't smell "nice". Come on guys, it's 2021...I think technology would allow us to experiment with different fruit scents for household cleaners by now.

Random digression aside, I’m actually kind of surprised at the flavor here: as the scent alluded to, it's a pretty aggressive, loud strawberry taste that's clearly artificial, but I liked it. I thought the “wild” connotation before the fruit name was going to be an empty descriptor - like girls who always tell people just how “wild” and “crazy” they are, only to end up acting exactly like every other girl - but it really does come through in the flavor. It’s almost candylike in its intensity, but thankfully dials back the sweetness so that it's not too overbearing. But hey, you can’t expect a liquid in powder form to be completely accurate.

As I’ve mentioned many times before, I’m very sensitive to caffeine, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this legitimately gave me a noticeable boost. It didn’t feel as intense as some of the more strongly caffeinated beverages give me (this contains approximately 120 mg per packet), but it certainly helped me to focus a little bit (on writing this review, naturally). However, one apparent downside is that, like the grape version we previously reviewed, this one also left me with the feeling of “cottonmouth”, which kind of feels counterproductive to the fact I’m drinking water. And as someone that needs more water in their life, feeling more dehydrated after drinking a bottle than I was beforehand definitely isn't a good feeling.

So, is this every bit as hydrating as regular water? It certainly doesn’t feel like it if it is.

Overall: 7/10. Unlike the grape version we took a look at earlier, this one has a flavor more suited to my interests, something I appreciate. The "wild" strawberry is definitely strong on strawberry, though stops short of being too sweet; it's still more candylike than natural, but it's a good taste that most fans of the fruit will enjoy. It also left me with a noticeable energy boost, thanks to the 120mg of caffeine included in each packet. However, like the grape version, I get "cottonmouth" after drinking a bottle, which definitely doesn't make me feel properly hydrated, as water should. There are better ways to get an energy boost, but for under $2 (for ten servings), this is a nice portable option for when you're on the go.

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