Review: Earth & Star
Covers Products: Black, Cacao, Matcha, Turmeric
Earth & Star is a line of RTD functional beverages that are enhanced with mushrooms. Created by the same duo that founded BluePrint -- one of the pioneers of the cold-pressed juice category -- this brand aims to take on a similar challenge of helping to mainstream a category (in this case mushroom drinks) that’s on the bleeding edge.
The product line presently has four 7.5 oz varieties, including Cacao, Turmeric, Matcha and Black. While each SKU has its own unique formulation and flavor, they do share a common set of functional ingredients including lion’s mane, reishi, cordyceps, and chaga mushrooms.
Let’s dig into the formulation for each, starting with Black. This variety, which contains cold brew coffee, is the lone flavor that has zero calories and is unsweetened. It also contains 120mg of caffeine from the coffee. This product is definitely a coffee beverage first and foremost followed by an earthy note from the added mushrooms.
Moving on to Cacao, which is our favorite flavor of the lineup, you’ll find a pleasant tasting blend of oat milk, mushrooms, cacao and pink sea salt that has been sweetened with coconut palm sugar. This product is rich and creamy with a hefty note of chocolate -- it basically drinks like chocolate flavored oat milk. This SKU has 130 calories and 9 grams of sugar (including 3g added sugar).
The final two SKUs, Matcha and Turmeric (150 and 140 calories, respectively), share another commonality in that they are both sweetened with monk fruit. Fortunately, this isn’t very noticeable on the palate. Otherwise, both of these products are mild in body with a light grassy note of matcha tea in the Matcha SKU and a ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, and black pepper notes in Turmeric. Both are enjoyable, although we found the Matcha flavor to be preferable.
On the packaging front, Earth & Star has a somewhat whimsical design that starts with an abstract background pattern that features large “E” and “S” shapes. Each can has its own unique color palette that loosely corresponds to the flavor of the SKU, e.g. orange and gold for Turmeric and green and white for Matcha.
As for the label, the Earth & Star logo, which is a circle followed by a shape that looks like an asterisk, is the lone graphical element. The rest of the label copy is reminiscent of the approach taken at BluePrint and features a list of hero ingredients followed by the name of the SKU.
The approach that they’ve taken with this design feels in line with other products coming to market today-- it definitely looks the part of a modern functional beverage.
However, we do feel that some additional label copy would be helpful. Specifically, we think there needs to be some sort of statement or tagline that helps the consumer better understand what the product is. In its present form, the consumer has to piece things together for themselves by looking at the ingredients.
Overall, Earth & Star has done a nice job of creating a product that delivers functional mushrooms in an enjoyable way; all four products are quite good. However, we feel that there’s a bit of refinement needed in the product’s messaging and that this could help the product be a bit more intuitive.