Posted May 14, 2013 by Big Red Boots in straight up energy drink

Runa Clean Energy

Runa energy drink has done something I have not heard of in my near thousand energy drink sampling hobby – a brand new caffeinated substance – made from a completely different plant than Yerba Mate, Tea, Coffee or Guarana.  Yes – an entirely new caffeinated plant – and one that can make a damn fine energy drink when mixed with the right combination of berries and sugars!

Runa is brewed with Amazonian guayusa tea (“gwhy-you-sa”). It turns out that guayusa has just about as much as caffeine as a cup of coffee. It has just a few ingredients, and a whole lot of natural happiness. Of course, there is a downside to the discovery of a new caffeinated product – just look at what happened to all those indigenous people who started producing guarana. In a short time it got so bad that the local population could not even afford to purchase any of what they were harvesting and exporting. Now, Guayusa is grown almost exclusively in the upper Amazonian region of Ecuador – and sustaining and growing the economy for the local folk there is one of their big selling points.

For me the biggest selling point is that it looks cool, tastes great, and is pretty powerful too.

For a drink with so much originality, it is a real shame they did not really do something unique with the package.  Instead, this is a bare aluminum, and not a terribly well printed one either.  The original is on a bare aluminum can, with a little leaf pattern.  Same is true with the berry, except there is a little dot matrixed gradient coming off the leaf pattern.   Maybe this would be impressive if the printing quality was a bit higher, but the fuzziness of the text on the berry version and the and the plainness of the original  can really fails to impress.

They did cover the basics well enough, listing the caffeine content in big bold letters, as well as the rest of the minimal ingredients list.  They double faced the can and have the contact info, but the lid of the can was not really put on so it faces the consumer, the pull tab is colored, but not particularly cool or collectable, and the small can size is just not as popular as the larger sized drinks out there.  Even other organic, natural and health based energy drinks like Steaz, Guayaki and Guru are going for the larger size cans.   The market for natural energy drinks is definitely a big one – and coming out with a very plain small size can is not helping them any.

Taste:  Original:2   Berry:9

Runa Original got a bunch of mixed feelings from the crowd at my house.   My daughter’s  trumpet tutor thought it tasted JUST like the smell of old garbage bags packed with mildewed leaves.  I thought it had the distinct flavor of that wet grass juice that comes dribbling off your lawnmower or weed whacker.  Either way, We were not big fans – AT ALL.  My wife liked it however – and said it reminded her of the tea she was told to drink lots of by the midwife when she was pregnant.  It has that earthy chalky plant flavor that I only find delicious when served to me lightly flavored in big glasses with lemon and sugar – like green tea.   But this is no green tea – it was something that tastes really not good – unless you happen to have fond memories of natural childbirth I guess.

Now that was not the case with their berry flavor – which it quite the bomb.  For as bad as the original flavor was, I thought his would go from tasting like ass to berry flavored ass, but that was not even the case.  Instead, Berry Runa tastes arrestingly good – something that is full flavored and earthy, but the sweet berry notes really calmed down that horrid chalky flavor to the point that this was a real pleasure to drink – and was dissapointed only in that it does not come ina bigger size so I could enjoy it more. While a regular Runa is about as appealing as a chewing on my yard shavings, the I would suck down two or three berry Runa in a sitting if I could.

Runa is very cool for listing their full 120mg of caffeine right on the can, and you will feel it too.  This just goes to prove that you don’t need all that taurine, inositol, Vitamin B silliness to feel the energy – Runa is just 4 or 5 ingredients, and does the job quite nicely without adding all that stuff.

Runa is just carbonated water, guayusa, natural flavors, and citric acid.  The original is sweetened with a natural sweeteners – and tastes a whole lot like fresh ground stevia – giving it a chalky plant flavor. The berry one has sugar in it – but just enough to make the drink super-tasty and not over-sweet.  I love the fact that they left out all that craziness and just went for a simple blend in a simple drink.  But besides all that it works like a charm too.

The caffeine in here is only 120mg, a little more than a small cup of coffee.  No matter though, because you can consume all 120mg in about 10 seconds, and then the rush comes on it one nice powerful wave.  The best way to drink Runa is to daisy chain two of them – slam one, and then in about 2 hours drink the other, and you can get a good 5-6 hour buzz of energy pumping through you, while not adding on the calories and preservatives.

I like Runa a whole lot – and the berry flavor gets very high marks for flavor too.  I hope this will help people catch onto guayusa, and maybe make a nice little cottage industry, like how Guayaki has done with their Yerba Mate drinks.

Just stay away from the original flavor, unless you have font birthing memories that is…

Big Red Boots