REVIEW: Java Monster Cafe Latte

Java Monster’s new Café Latte doesn’t taste new to me because the moment the liquid hit my taste buds, I felt it was a canned coffee energy drink I’d had before. Maybe from Monster or Starbucks? At first, I thought it tasted like Java Monster Mean Bean. But after purchasing a can, comparing it side-by-side with Café Latte, and spending the rest of the day being overly productive and jittery with 400 milligrams of caffeine pumping through my veins, it turns out they’re not the same.

I’ll let the can introduce itself, “Gingerbread, cinnamon dolce, peppermint white mocha…your mobile app would even laugh at you for ordering that! For those of us who love their coffee the classic way comes Java Monster Café Latte. Coffee forward with the right amount of cream and sugar, then supercharged with the Monster Energy blend. Coffee done the Monster way, wide open, with a take no prisoners attitude and the experience and know-how to back it up.”

Um, wouldn’t the “classic way” be black?

Anyhoo, think of Café Latte as Mean Bean without the vanilla flavoring. The coffee taste is much more noticeable than with other Java Monster varieties, but it’s still so sugary and heavy on the cream that I think those who like to mask the coffee in their drinks will be satisfied. (Raises hand) I’ll gladly add Café Latte to my rotation of canned coffee energy drinks because it’s as tasty as any of the other Java Monster varieties, not including the Java Monster 300 line, which I find less flavorful. Now that I think about it, I’m surprised this didn’t roll out when Java Monster debuted or sometime over the past 16 years since then.

But my well caffeinated brain still doesn’t remember what specific drink this tastes like. I found a Reddit post that says it tastes like the discontinued Java Monster Kona Blend. It could be it, but I feel I’ve had it sooner than the last time I had Kona Blend, which was a long time ago. So I’m guessing it’s probably one of the Starbucks Doubleshot or Tripleshot energy drinks. I could find out by buying them all and comparing them, but I don’t want to spend the rest of my day AND evening wired.

Purchased Price: $3.19
Size: 15 fl oz can
Purchased at: Times Supermarket
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) 220 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 3. grams of saturated fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 440 milligrams of sodium, 38 grams of carbohydrates, 35 grams of sugar (including 24 grams of added sugar), 8 grams of protein, and 200 milligrams of caffeine.

REVIEW: Reign Storm Energy Drink

UPDATE: Reign Storm released four new flavors in 2024, click here for our review.

Reign Storm is a new energy drink line from the Monster Energy spin-off that announces it has “clean energy.” What does that mean? Well, it doesn’t involve solar panels, wind turbines, dams, or heat extracted from geothermal reservoirs. Instead, each can gets its 200 milligrams of caffeine from plant-based sources, all of which are brought to us by the letter G — green coffee beans, green tea extract, ginseng, guarana, and guayusa.

The line is available in 12-ounce “slim” cans and has four flavors — Harvest Grape, Kiwi Blend, Peach Nectarine, and Valencia Orange. The can’s lip proudly exclaims it accelerates metabolism, provides immunity support, and increases energy. Along with the caffeine, Reign Storm has zero sugar, only ten calories per can, and no preservatives, artificial flavors, or colors. It also contains biotin, which helps support hair and skin health. It’s similar to caffeine in that both aren’t needed as much if you get a good night’s sleep.

To bring the sugar down to zero, Reign Storm has a downpour of familiar artificial sweeteners — sucralose, acesulfame potassium, and erythritol. With the first few sips of every flavor, those artificial sweeteners were highly noticeable in the aftertaste, which is a sharp contrast from the sweet, fruity, and delicious flavors that hit my tongue the moment the beverage ended up in my mouth. It was also confusing because Monster’s Ultra zero sugar line does a wonderful job hiding its artificial sweeteners, so why wasn’t that the case here?

However, after the opened cans sat in my fridge overnight, the artificial sweeteners weren’t noticeable the next day. It was like I was drinking Monster Ultra flavors. Even after opening the second set of flavors I purchased, I no longer noticed the weird aftertaste. I thought I should mention all this because I hope someone experienced the same thing so that I can prove I’m not going crazy.

But now, let’s talk about the sweet, fruity, and delicious flavors. I found all of them to be good or great. Harvest Grape smells and tastes like a grape soda, which excites me because I love grape soda. Peach Nectarine’s flavor is similar to Monster Peachy Keen, which reminds me of peach gummy rings and a flavor I adore. Valencia Orange is a pleasant combination of sweet and tart orange flavors, although there’s a burst of sourness that might be too strong for some. However, Kiwi Blend, a combination of kiwi and green apple, was my favorite. Its name is a little deceiving because while its sourness could be mistaken for kiwi, this has primarily green apple vibes to it.

My issues with Reign Storm are that they come in 12-ounce cans and are more expensive than 16-ounce regular Reign cans. Is shrinkflation going on? Is that possible with a brand new product line?

If you’re into getting your caffeinated fix from plant-based sources that start with the letter G or want some biotin to help keep your skin and hair luxurious, Reign Storm is an excellent option and maybe the only option. However, while tasty, their size and price make me hesitant to repurchase them.

Purchased Price: $2.59 each
Size: 12 oz cans
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Kiwi Blend), 7 out of 10 (Harvest Grape), 7 out of 10 (Peach Nectarine), and 7 out of 10 (Valencia Orange)
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) 10 calories, 0 grams of fat, 270-280 milligrams of sodium, 3-5 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar (Valencia Orange and Harvest Grape have 2 grams of erythritol), 0 grams of protein, and 200 milligrams of caffeine.

REVIEW: Monster Energy Ultra Strawberry Dreams

If you’re into strawberries and Monster energy drinks, it’s an exciting time for you. The company recently launched a Kiwi Strawberry flavor for its Reserve line, and the red berry headlines this year’s Monster Energy Ultra release — Strawberry Dreams.

Every time I see or think of this beverage’s name, one of two songs play in my head — Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) by the 80s band Eurythmics and These Dreams by the 80s band Heart. And after typing the previous sentence, I’ve probably dated myself.

I picked up a few “slim” 12-ounce cans from my favorite eBay energy drink seller, but Ultra Strawberry Dreams is also available in regular 16-ounce cans.

Here’s what the can has to say about the flavor:

Some people swear that strawberries are aphrodisiacs. They say if you share a double strawberry with someone then they’ll catch feelings for you. All we know is the flavor of the heart-shaped fruit is perfect for our new zero sugar Ultra. Wonderfully sweet while slightly tart, this easy-drinking Ultra tastes like a dream. Passionately crafted with the Monster energy blend you crave, take one sip and you’ll be crazy for Ultra Strawberry Dreams.

A Valentine’s energy drink? Well, to be honest, if I got a dozen of these, I’d be thrilled. It’s practical, lasts longer than a dozen roses in a vase, has more caffeine than a box of chocolates, makes my heart beat faster than receiving a Valentine’s surprise from my special someone, and these smell better too.

Its aroma is sweet artificial strawberry, and its flavor is also easily recognizable as the, ahem, heart-shaped fruit. Since this is a zero sugar Ultra drink, it’s not as sugary as the Monster Reserve Kiwi Strawberry, but there are some similarities in their artificial flavor. While I definitely taste the red berry, there’s also a bit of tropicalness with every sip. The tartness might be messing with my taste buds, but I notice a guava-like flavor. However, there’s no mention of tropical fruits on the can or hints in the can’s strawberry-heavy graphics.

Will Monster Energy Ultra Strawberry Dreams be a recurring purchase? Periodically, yes. It’s another excellent tasting addition to the Monster Ultra line. The only thing that’ll recur repeatedly is the image of those strawberries popping out of a skull’s eye sockets in my dreams.

Purchased Price: More than one should pay on eBay
Size: 12 fl oz
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) 5 calories, 0 grams of fat, 200 milligrams of sodium, 4 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein, and 110 milligrams of caffeine.

REVIEW: Monster Energy Nitro Cosmic Peach

If you enjoy Monster’s Ultra Peachy Keen Energy Drink that came out about a year ago but wonder what it would taste like sweetened with sugar and not an artificial sweetener cocktail, Monster’s new Nitro Cosmic Peach Energy Drink will let your taste buds experience that.

It has a great flavor similar to Ultra Peachy Keen in that it tastes like peach gummy rings. But now that I’ve tried both, I wouldn’t swap the 50 grams of sugar this has with the zero sugar of the older energy drink. (There’s some Sucralose in this, but it’s far down the ingredient list.)

When I reviewed Ultra Peachy Keen, one of the things I noted was how some folks might find it to be too sweet. If that’s you, this Nitro Cosmic Peach will make your teeth ache and your mouth question if it’s snowing sugar and you’re sticking out your tongue to catch some. But you won’t be alone. I find this a bit too sweet, making it harder to consume than the zero sugar one.

According to Monster Energy, adding nitrogen (hence its name) creates a smooth and creamy texture (and a foam head if you pour it into a glass). The nitrogen is mixed into the beverage and not dispersed from an infuser after opening the can, like with Nitro Pepsi or Starbucks’ canned Nitro Cold Brew. Thanks to the tiny bubbles from the nitrogen, it’s definitely smooth, but I wouldn’t consider it creamy. Usually, being a smooth beverage makes it easier to drink, but this being overly sweet makes it less so.

Overall, Monster’s Nitro Cosmic Peach and its gummy rings flavor is good. But, again, I wouldn’t pick it over Ultra Peachy Keen, which has the same flavor profile and amount of caffeine without the sugar. If there wasn’t that option, it might be a different story. They don’t taste exactly alike, but I don’t find this to be better tasting.

But if you don’t care for Monster’s Ultra line, this is a peachy way to get Monster’s energy blend into your body.

Purchased Price: More than one should pay on eBay
Size: 16 fl oz can
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) 210 calories, 0 grams of fat, 400 milligrams of sodium, 55 grams of carbohydrates, 50 grams of sugar (including 50 grams of added sugar), 0 grams of protein, and 160 milligrams of caffeine.

REVIEW: Monster Reserve Kiwi Strawberry Energy Drink

Monster Energy has rolled out a new addition to its Reserve Energy Drink line — Kiwi Strawberry. It follows Watermelon, White Pineapple, and Orange Dreamsicle. Also, I almost posted this review with every “Kiwi Strawberry” reference with “Strawberry Kiwi.” Thank goodness for Find and Replace.

That would’ve been embarrassing, but I don’t think I’ve seen “kiwi strawberry” before, and Google will probably prove me wrong. Yup, it did — lots of kiwi strawberry-flavored beverages. But what I’m not wrong about is how delightful tasting this Monster Reserve Kiwi Strawberry Energy Drink is.

If you’re unfamiliar with Monster’s Reserve lineup, they’re fruity takes on the original Monster Energy Drink. You could think of it as how Mtn Dew describes its flavors. You know, a Dew with a blast of (insert fruit name here) or a Dew charged with (insert fruit name here). This is Monster Energy with a jolt of kiwi strawberry.

I’ve only had the Orange Dreamsicle flavor, and the issue I had with it was its artificial sweetener-enhanced aftertaste that reminded me of orange medicine tablets. With this one, there were no such issues. Its syrupy strawberry aroma is inviting, and its flavor is also red-berry-heavy. As I consumed it, I thought it tasted similar to another energy drink or soda, but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. As for the kiwi part, I’m unsure if the tanginess I’m noticing is from the strawberry or kiwi flavoring. I also, and this might only be my taste buds, occasionally get a slight cotton candy vibe from this that’s probably from the strawberry.

Monster’s Reserve Kiwi Strawberry Energy Drink is the best tasting flavor I’ve had from this Reserve line. Granted, I’ve only had two of the four. But if you enjoy kiwi strawberry or strawberry kiwi beverages and need a kick of caffeine, this is a tasty option.

Purchased Price: More than one should pay on eBay
Size: 16 fl oz can
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) 120 calories, 0 grams of fat, 250 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 28 grams of sugar (including 28 grams of added sugar), 0 grams of protein, and 160 milligrams of caffeine.