Energy drinks have often been given a bad rap. Typically chock-full of sugar and with more caffeine than a double espresso, surely they’re a no-go on all fronts, right?
Maybe not. Following the surge in interest in green, clean living over the past few years – alongside the fact that research shows Gen Z-ers are drinking 20 per cent less alcohol per capita than millennials – lots of brands have come out of the woodwork offering a natural alternative to the typical RedBull aimed at the health-conscious consumer.
And given all this, you won’t be surprised to hear that the market for natural energy drinks is thriving as the young especially look for something natural to fill the place of booze that still gives you a buzz.
Sure, drinking a natural energy drink is still probably not as curative as drinking pure celery juice – after all, even the natural variety are filled with some sort of shake-it-up stimulant (be that caffeine or ginseng) – but as far as any energy or soft drinks go, they’re a hell of a lot more healthy than the norm.
So whether you’re a coffee nut or someone who’s sworn off coffee, a fitness fanatic or are just looking for a little bit more than your usual flat white (and all those in between), we’ve got you covered with the tastiest wake-up call money can buy.
Here’s our pick of the best natural energy drinks which are all vying for your attention – move aside Monster, the time has come for a new wave of energy drinks to take front and centre.
Tenzing natural energy
If environmental impact is front and centre of your mind when choosing which products to buy, look no further, Tenzing is about to become your new best friend. The world’s first carbon-negative energy drink is its badge of honour, and it’s only right that it wears it with pride.
From offsetting 8.4 tonnes of CO2 per subscriber to responsibly sourced ingredients (including Rainforest Alliance-certified green tea) and investing five per cent of its profits in environmental projects, this is a brand which places nature at its heart.
Exalt cherry bomb
For those who are not a fan of the traditional sparkling soft-drink vibes of energy drinks but are still lunging for that morning pick-me-up, Exalt’s cherry bomb is the perfect choice.
Stuffed full of vitamins A and C and adaptogens, and with 150mg of naturally sourced caffeine (the equivalent of 1.5 cups of coffee), it contains all the energy you need in a tasty cold-pressed juice.
With a tangy black cherry and pomegranate flavour that gives way to deliciously firey chilli and ginger undertones, this is a juice full of goodness that is sure you get you out of bed in the morning.
The caffeine content comes in the form of Exalt’s natural energy complex, which comprises of maca root, kola nut, guarana seed and coffee extract. If you’re looking for a really wholesome energy drink that is free from nasties, you can’t do better than this.
Not only that, for every bottle they sell, Exalt donates to a charity fighting ocean plastic waste. It turns out taste doesn’t have to come with a compromise.
Benefit® Water - Energy
If you’re trying to steer clear of caffeine all together, head over Benefit. Their 100 per cent natural mango and coconut sparkling drink is completely caffeine free but is packed with ingredients to promote cognitive function and give you a boost when you need it most.
Each can of Benefit’s energy drink is enriched with vitamins B3, B6, B9, B12 and magnesium, which contribute to normal psychological function, vitamin B5 for mental performance and iodine.
Unlike many other sugar-laden energy drinks on the market, Benefit contains no sugar or sweeteners, is zero calories and prides itself in being the smarter and healthier choice for those needing a bit of pep in their step.
Purdey’s Rejuvenate Fruit Drink Grape and Apple
Just over 30 years ago, Purdey’s developed the first ever energising drink made with naturally sourced, plant-based ingredients. All this time later, and their mission has not changed.
Their range of three tasty sparkling drinks – refocus, rejuvenate and replenish – are boosted with a combination of fruit juice, botanicals and energising B vitamins and are each tailored to ensure you get the most out of your day.
Refocus is the perfect blend of dark fruit juices and is made with guarana, which is known to reduce fatigue and boost energy. The grape and apple flavoured Rejuvenate contains ginseng and is a delicious alternative if the Refocus is not your thing. My personal favourite is the raspberry and rose Replenish, which is made with 25 per cent fruit juice and also contains magnesium to balance electrolytes.
Füd Vitamin Energy Fruity Sparkling Water
As seen on Dragon’s Den, Füd took off with a buzz after rejecting a £50,000 cash offer from the show’s Peter Jones in favour of a crowdfunding campaign to raise double that. And boy, was it worth it.
Founded by Philip Udeh after he struggled with chronic fatigue due to stickle cell anaemia but was less than impressed by the high sugar content and artificially sweetened energy drinks on supermarket shelves, the formerly named Brain Füd brand has done wonders for the natural energy drink sector.
Each can contains the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee, but with a difference–instead of coffee, the natural caffeine is derived from the Amazonian guarana berry, which is filled with antioxidants for added goodness.
With all that crammed into one can, what’s stopping you?
Virtue Clean Energy
Virtue is the model of clean energy drinks. They have two products, each in two different flavours, and all of which are free from sugar, calories and chemicals.
The clean energy variety comes in lemon and lime or berries flavour, both of which are vegan and contain 80mg of caffeine (the same amount as a cup of coffee and other leading energy drinks) which is sourced from green coffee beans.
If that doesn’t tick your box, they also have a yerba mate range in peach and raspberry and strawberry and lime flavour. Yerba mate, an energising leaf from South America, has more antioxidants than green tea and is stuffed with vitamins, minerals and amino acids – it isn’t called the drink of the gods for nothing.
But that’s not all, each can of Virtue sold contributes to conservation in the rainforests so you can feel good while also doing good. Now that’s what I call plant power.
Nocco Blood Orange Del Sol
Yoga bunnies and fitness warriors listen up, this one’s for you. Nocco’s drinks were developed by the Swedish health and exercise enterprise No Carbs Company. As such, their sugar-free energy drinks are the perfect thing for post-workout rehydration and their extensive range of flavours means there’s sure to be one to suit every taste bud.
Looking to get that great summer vibe? Try the blood orange or limón del sol. Want to escape to tropical paradise? The Miami or Caribbean have your name on.
Or, for a drink that really gives as good as it gets, the BCAA+ (branch chain amino acids) variety comes in a tantalising apple or citrus/elderflower flavour to give you a little bit more than the average energy drink.
Good Earth good energy
Bringing a spot of Santa Cruz sunshine to your life, Good Earth is a Californian company on a mission to shake up the every day using our planet’s goodness.
Not only is the taste of their energy drinks on point, the brand also puts sustainability at their centre which, let’s be honest, is an issue on everyone’s mind.
Beyond using Rainforest Alliance-certified ingredients and giving one per cent of profits to environmental causes, Good Earth also works with the Ethical Tea partnership to create a fairer and more sustainable tea industry for workers, farmers and the environment.
The drinks themselves are natural, free from anything artificial and come in two flavours: organic guayusa (for those who don’t know, guayusa leaves grow in the Ecuadorian rainforest and have been brewed by natives for years due to their stimulative effects) orange and tangerine, and raspberry and blueberry. Both contain 15mg of vitamin C for that added bonus.
For their winning combination of superior sustainability matched with an array of interestingly flavoured and genuinely tasty products, the award for best natural energy drink has got to go to Tenzing.