We have been Hiball devotees for over a decade, and our abiding
addiction soul-entwining persists to this day.
But while we’ve been lashed to their mast, enraptured by the siren song, a whole ocean of sparkling energy water has tsunamied into the bubbleverse.
We were skeptical, convinced that these were imposters, lesser entities, nay, remoras, suckerfish parasites trying to feed off the scraps of our Great White, the Hiball.
But then we realized we were probably being dramatic and judgmental.
So we’re pushing off from the island of the lotus eaters, embarking on an odyssey through the caffeine-dark sea. We’ve already voyaged through AHA’s Citrus & Green Tea, Nixie’s Peach Black Tea, and now, a true sparkling energy water glimmers on the horizon: Chirp.
Chirp surfaced in April of 2020, and we were doubly excited to try it: first because it’s a new island in the Caffeiniterranian Sea, but most importantly because it contains the Queen Molecule of Chill: l-theanine.
L-theanine is an amino acid that provides “relaxation without sedation,” and which, when you combine it with caffeine, can steer past the jittery Scylla & the crash of Charybdis, guiding you into the cool slipstream of Total Focus.
On the first crack of the can, we’re greeted by a lush, juicy, ruby red nose. The single-fruited Cyclops herding grapefruits alone on his island raises his eye and waves hello.
We actually had to double-check the label to make sure we hadn’t accidentally sailed off the map into the Juiceiverse. But no, we’re still on the familiar terra firma of “natural flavors” here.
Maybe it’s the accentuated bitterness of the grapefruit flavor that evokes that sensation, maybe it’s because there’s a certain subtle viscosity here: it has a little thicker mouthfeel, possibly due to the amount of dissolved solids from the caffeine and l-theanine.
Either way, this is a grapefruit as faithful as Penelope, fending off the suitors. No thin wisps from the underworld whispering to us, but instead a full-bodied Calypso languishing in her Citrus Paradisi, inviting us to stay forever.
But we’ve got to return to the bitterness for a moment. It’s not all coming from the grapefruit flavor, we don’t think. Because this has 50mg of caffeine, plus the l-theanine, we’re guessing that the dissolved supplementation adds its own crystalline acerbity, beyond anything coming from the citrus.
It’s not overwhelming, it’s certainly not going to turn our men into pigs or anything, but it’s definitely present in a way that might prevent this from mounting the grapefruit Olympus.
And as we sip, it’s reminiscent of something we couldn’t put our finger on for a moment until the lightning bolt struck: it reminds us of White Claw’s Ruby Grapefruit flavor. We’re not sure exactly what flavor note these both share, but they do make a useful pair: one to catch the favorable winds of morning, the other to drop an alcoholic anchor at sunset.
Anyway, in the end, we will decide to sail home, to the Hiball awaiting us at the end of our long voyage. It’s hard to beat that clean, crisp 160mg of caffeine, at least when launching our ship at dawn.
But Chirp is an island worth visiting, especially in the mid-day doldrums when you need a little more than an AHA’s 30mg, plus a little grace from the goddess l-theanine.
Carbonated Water, Natural Flavors, White Tea Caffeine, L-Theanine
caffeine per can: