Nixie, AHA, Bubly, and a smattering of grocery store lines like Soleil have all been pumping out mellow caffeinaters for a while now.
Not blowing our adrenals out like Ugly or Hi Ball, but more dignified caffeine amounts like 30-35 mg: enough to perk you up, but minimal enough to keep you drinking them all day. (We see what you’re doing there.)
And we’re powerless to stop ourselves as we blow through case after case, sipping our way through these low-grade stimulators like a slow drip IV we can’t get into our parched systems fast enough.
And these slightly-caffeinated sparking waters have become so prevalent, we’re surprised that we haven’t seen any from the big names like LaCroix and Waterloo. But while we’ve been waiting for the commodity brand giants to enter the caffeinated chat, suddenly Good & Gather popped up all nonchalant on a Target endcap ready to play. We did not see this coming, and yet we don’t know why we didn’t.
In general, we really like Good & Gather sparkling water. And beyond that, we’re a little bit intrigued at the long-tentacled reach that the Good & Gather line increasingly wraps up the Target grocery shelves in. It’s gonna be packaging and whitelabeling our souls before it’s all said and done.
And tbh, we like Target. But that’s not to say we don’t always have a little bit of unease as we walk through the shiny aisles, everything so clean and prettily packaged at fairly affordable prices. Honestly, everything is so appealing, that as soon as we enter its hallowed grounds, something inside of us whispers that it can’t be morally okay. We’re not convinced the Devil is not a Target.
During the Bubbleverse’s time in CDMX (where the idea for the Bubbleverse was born incidentally), we had a hell of a time trying to furnish our pied-a-terre with ease. We found high end department stores, but no basic one stop shop for a bunch of shit you need in one place. America nails convenient consumerism, and we were shook to realize our dependency on it.
It’s not that there’s nowhere to go shopping in CDMX: it’s actually a ton of fun and there are so many awesome boutiques and markets. But when it comes to trash cans and laundry hampers and hangers and Scotch tape and drawer organizers: the basic things that sort of tie your space together into a functioning home, there was just nothing like a Target.
And tbh, when we’d come back to the States and go to a Target, our eyes would light up like we were Pinnochio on Pleasure Island, and we couldn’t believe how giant and shiny and cheap it all was. But then you start to feel weird and disturbed by the prices and accessibility in a new, dystopian way. This can’t be right, right?
We tried to do a little poking around the internet to see if we could find scandalous tales, like the ones that fall from the sky like manna when it comes to Nestlé, but we didn’t really see anything comparable to poisonous baby formulas when it comes to Target.
We did find some sort of Reddit-style venting page for employees. We particularly enjoyed someone calling it “Tarshit.” but we couldn’t really find anything super salacious. Just your run-of-the-mill toxic corporate escapades, the kind of generic Office Space style misery that surprises none of us anymore.
So for now, no-ethical-consumption-under-capitalism aside, we’ll sip our Good & Gathers with a semi-clean conscience, but we’re ready to have that robbed from us at any moment.
The nose on this is decidedly pear. And it paints with all the colors of the pear wind. There’s crisp pear, tart pear, fruity pear, expansive, benevolent pear.
If there’s any hibiscus detected, it’s subtle and airy, as if the pear you’re sniffing is from a tree next door to some glorious Hawaiian hibiscus farm. But honestly, the hibiscus in the nose is more of a dream than a reality, and we’re willing to accept we have an active imagination.
The Hibiscus dream becomes reality on the tongue. The hibiscus comes in both tart and aromatic, just how we like our florals.
The crisp pear we awaited is subdued as another note comes into play: the overripe pear. The flavor note that we always associate in our mind with a pear. You know that specific flavor. It’a distinct to a pear and probably why we never really choose to just chomp on a pear in real life. They’re a lot for us.
But here, the pear and the hibiscus harmonize surprisingly well, and this combo is incredibly satisfying. Hats off to that internal G&G flavor team.
And then of course there’s the 35 mg of caffeine. We’ve written love letters to our micro-caffeinated bubblers before, but we’ll say it again: they’re a great way to infuse your day with caffeine here and there. Not too much, not too little. It’s just easy to let a case slip away as you write your third treatise on sparkling waters for the day.
Target debuted another sparkling water along with this one (Blackberry Mandarin), and we hope this is just a sign of things to come. Good & Gather isn’t afraid of an outré flavor combo (Pomegranate Dragonfruit!?) so we hope they hook us up with more intriguingly flavored caffeine-laced sparklers soon.
We’ll get to a Blackberry Mandarin review someday (once Ugly lets up on their relentless Ltd Drops), but for now if we have to recommend one of these, it would be this one. It’s a more harmonious mating and a more polished representation of their flavor sorcery.
In the meantime, keep your ear to the ground about Target’s dark underbelly. It’s too glorious to be morally sound.
Carbonated Water, Natural Flavors, Caffeine (from green coffee extract)
caffeine in Good & Gather Pear Hibiscus
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