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Energy Drinks: Starbucks Doubleshot vs. Java Monster

Posted in Reviews on September 13, 2009 by Cobalt

Okay, so, I know what you’re all thinking. Energy drinks? Really? Truth of the matter is, I couldn’t think of a single thing to review, but I couldn’t let Onyx keep having all the fun. So, yes, this review is about energy drinks.

That being said, what about ’em? Well, considering I don’t really care for the “regular” energy drinks, I’ll be rambling a bit about a twist on the energy drink formula: coffee/energy drink hybrids, specifically Starbucks Doubleshots (not to be confused with the doubleshot, which is nothing more than two shots’ worth of espresso) and Java Monster.

First and foremost, let’s take a look at energy contents.

Starbucks Doubleshots take a more conservative blend of ingredients, listing its energy contents per can as 2 grams of Maltodextrin, 1.8 grams of Taurine, 450 milligrams of L-Carnitine, 180 milligrams of Inositol, 325 milligrams of Panax ginseng, and 90 milligrams of Guarana. That’s 4845 milligrams of assorted energy ingredients in every 15 fluid ounce can. Not too bad.

Compare that with Monster Java’s energy ingredients. Now, mind you, they’re not as forthcoming with information – I couldn’t for the life of me figure out whether their listings counted as per-serving, or per-can. Either way, they have 3,700 milligrams of assorted ingredients (they don’t list the volumes of each ingredient, only what ingredients are included in the energy blend) in whatever it is.

But how do these blends compare, as far as their actual effects go? The honest answer is, I couldn’t tell you. I feel more or less the same after having a Java Monster and a Starbucks Doubleshot (though the former did manage to keep me awake for a few hours longer during an all-nighter I pulled one weekend). In that regard, it remains totally up to the consumer’s preference which is more “effective.”

So, if they do basically the same thing… What’s the point of comparing them?


Which brings me to my next comparison. How do they taste? Having compared two equivalent flavors of each brand (mocha and vanilla, to be more precise), I’ve formed my opinion.

Doubleshots are the clear winners of the taste test. Both the mocha and the vanilla flavors are quite good, somewhat similar in texture and flavor to their frappuchino counterparts, despite the flavor being thrown just out of the ballpark by the energy contents. For what it’s worth, mocha actually reminds me a bit of the artificially flavored cotton candy you can find in gum and other confections.

Java Monster, on the other hand, still manages to retain a thin, bitter-yet-sugary taste. This was the main issue I had with the “plain” flavor of Monster, which I swore tasted something akin to lightly carbonated, artificially flavored green apple soda. You can actually still get a hint of this flavor in the Java Monster, which is the primary reason that I don’t care for the taste. Ironically, “Moca Loca” (mocha) Java Monster tastes better to me than “Mean Bean” (vanilla), which is precisely the opposite of my preference for Doubleshots. Go figure.

So which drink is ultimately better? I really do have to go with Starbucks Doubleshots on this one. They taste better, and frankly, the difference between the two drinks’ ability to get you through another class or two is negligible.