Açaí has had a wild ride in America over the last couple of decades, starting when a couple of bros on a trip to Brazil decided they could replicate the success of Brazilian Açaí bars in America.
So they ordered a shipping container full of frozen pulp and hit up every juice bar in Southern California, pitching the supposed benefits of Açaí’s antioxidants and omega fatty acids, even branding themselves as “Saving and Managing the Amazon” until it was pointed out that the White Savior schtick wasn’t resonating with their target audience.
They changed their acronym to mean “Sustainable Management of the Brazilian Amazon,” as if the world’s greatest superorganism needs some kind of goddamn middle manager to extract more profit.
Anyway, within a couple of years, Açaí was christened a “superberry.” It was pushed by Oprah and Dr. Phil, launched a thousand sketchy supplement fortunes, was briefly labeled as the number one scam in America by the FTC, and eventually became too expensive for the local Amazonians who had subsisted on it for hundreds of years.
Tale as old as time, really. The miracles of management.
Fun Fact: Açaí, roughly translated, means “fruit that cries.” According to legend, Açaí sprang into being during a famine, and Chief Itaqui ordered all newborns to be put to death, including his own daughter’s infant. His daughter died of grief beneath a tree, which grew long strings of tiny drupes that ended the famine. Those drupes are now known as Açaí.
So it seems that wherever Açaí goes, it leaves sadness in its wake.
And nowhere is this more true than with AHA’s Raspberry + Açaí, which rises from the ashes of AHA’s Apple + Ginger like a tropical phoenix.
Coca-Cola, the parent corporation of AHA, decided to discontinue Apple + Ginger, which apparently died of grief beneath a raspberry bush that then sprouted Açaí and rolled into Walmart’s otherwise dismal sparkling water selection.
Yes, a distant Walmart seemed to be the only place around us that had these new AHAs yet, so we took the trek and brought a few boxes home to the bubbleverse. Consummate professionalism, we like to call it.
Let’s trek on in to this can.
The nose on these is pure AHA Neon Cartoon Candyfruit, a tart, intense Açaí that smells like the real deal only cranked up to 11.
The raspberry rushes in on the first sip, a sour, lifelike raspberry held in the neon glow of the Açaí. For as intense as it is on the nose, the Açaí pulls back to let the Raspberry be the star of the show. There’s a certain sweetness around the periphery, but the main flavor sensation here is tart, astringent raspberry.
It’s really good! It manages to be simultaneously cartoon candyfruit and real Raspberry + Açaí, both experiences swirling around your mouth in a crisp but juicy purple-red hallucination.
If you make your way through the can slowly enough, you even get some of the wider raspberry notes, not so tight and sharp, but mellow and soft, ripening into oblivion.
While Açaí flavor can be a catchall for bullshit that’s over-hyped and not worth the price, this Açaí at least tastes legit, giving the overall experience a satisfying tart-to-sweet ratio from start to finish.
It’s like drinking a $15 Açaí bowl that you found on the shelf at Walmart, left there by a yoga mom while she stepped away to hunt for more bargains on exotic superfoods/commodified indigeneity in the next aisle.
This is one of AHA’s better offerings, we think, and one of the better raspberry sparkling waters out there. Maybe nothing can quite touch the raspberry perfection that is Boylan’s Raspberry Seltzer, but definitely throw out your Cran-Razz LaCroix and Raspberry bubly and stock up on AHA instead.
A note on our rating: we kind of five star love this, but we have to deduct a star because Apple + Ginger had to die for AHA to release this one. Not cool. We’ll be crying drupe tears of sadness over our fallen Apple + Ginger while we drink these.
Carbonated Water, Natural Flavors
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