Late last night, my wife thrust into my hands a bottle of something called “Quick Energy”, with instructions that I should drink it in the morning, and a minor warning that it might be absolutely disgusting. Well, as a man who is still trying to track down a way of importing Four Loko, I guess I have no grounds to decline this.

Quick Energy Bottle

The reverse of the bottle informs me that it contains about as much caffeine as “a cup of premium coffee”, which as the actual value is 175mg, I am taking to mean “a bucket of filter coffee, premium or otherwise”. It also informs me that “phenylketonurics” may be a word, so if nothing else this vile swill has expanded my vocabulary.

Bottle (Back Left) Bottle (Back Right)

A “niacin flush” is also apparently a thing, which the internet confirms for me. The bottle describes it as “a warm feeling and skin redness”, while some websites describe it as “annoying, sometimes downright painful”, but hey, it’s getting towards the time of day when I’d happily settle for being lobster-red and in pain for the cause of getting some caffeine inside me. On which note it suggests I “limit caffeinated products to avoid… occasional rapid heart rate”, which seems like it’s defeating the point, really.

Taurine is its third most major ingredient, which is a little disconcerting, and though it contains “natural colour” I’m not sure I dare pour this thing into a glass to see what it actually looks like.

Oh, yeah, and it’s eight months out of date.

Expires, er... Never Mind.

But hey, it’s not like anything on that list of ingredients actually goes off.

I can’t quite promise a review “by the numbers”, so we’ll go for “by the time” instead:

  • T-10 minutes: The presence of this stuff is definitely unnerving. I’m sure it’s no worse than drinking a cup of strong coffee, but somehow the medicine-like qualities give it a worrying edge.

  • T-5 minutes: Hands are shaking now. No, I’m not that nervous. I suspect low blood-sugar and blood-caffeine levels are to blame here. At least one of those is about to be rectified.

  • T-1 minute: Well, here goes… something. Possibly my brain, possibly my digestive system.

  • T-10 seconds: Can’t open the bloody bottle. Launch on hold.

  • T0: Well, that’s… orangey.

  • T+2 seconds: Well, that’s… foul.

  • T+5 seconds: It’s like someone took an orange, ground Pro Plus into it and scraped it along my tongue until a human rights group showed up quoting the Geneva Convention.

  • T+2 minutes: I probably should have downed it. This sipping business is taking way too long.

  • T+7 minutes: Spacing out now. My brain feels like it’s floating about two inches above the top of my skull.

  • T+20 minutes: Spacing out has stopped, and I’m back to standard operating parameters. I guess “a bucket of coffee” is actually pretty routine for me. No niacin flush either – the internet suggests it should have happened by now if it was going to happen at all.

  • T+1 hour: Just carrying on as normal.

All things considered, “Quick Energy” was kind of disappointing. I was half expecting to have my brain hot-wired on an insane cocktail of caffeine, taurine and vitamins, but in reality it just does what it implies on the label: provides a pretty normal caffeine-induced energy boost. I can’t really find fault with that, only with my hyped-up expectations.

Verdict: Good for people that don’t like coffee, I guess?