Review: Hustle Energy by MatchaBar
Covers Products: Sparkling Lemon & Lime, Sparkling Peach
Hustle Energy by MatchaBar, which is the new branding for MatchaBar’s energy drink line, comes in two lines: Hustle Energy and Hustle Tea. Today, we’re taking a look at the former, which is launching with three sparkling flavors: Lemon & Lime, Peach and Mint.
For this review, we were able to sample Lemon & Lime and Peach. The former is sweetened with monkfruit and has 5 calories and 0 grams of sugar per 12 oz. can. Peach, which contains 29% peach juice for sweetness, has 40 calories and 5 grams of sugar per 12 oz can. Both products have 120 mg of caffeine from the matcha and added green tea extract.
The taste of both flavors is quite good. Each starts out with a base of lightly carbonated water and ceremonial grade matcha. There’s no shortage of matcha flavor in either, which is a definite plus.
Lemon & Lime, which is the zero sugar SKU, is the lighter of the two. Despite containing monkfruit, the product doesn’t have much sweetness, which is fine by us. Instead, the sweetness seems to simply take the edge off, while the lemon and lime add some brightness and the carbonation adds some depth. As far as zero sugar energy drinks go, this is a solid option.
As for Peach, the juice makes this flavor pretty fruit forward. Still, it has some nice matcha flavor and the carbonation does a good job of tying it all together. If we had to choose between the two flavors, this is the one we’d go with, thanks to the flavor and the modest 40 calories and 5 grams of sugar per can.
Flavor and formulation aside, the real story about these products is the increased emphasis on “Hustle.” In the prior branding, Hustle was very much the secondary element behind MatchaBar. In this version, the presence of the Hustle brand name is big and bold and MatchaBar becomes the secondary element in the new brand treatment “Hustle by MatchaBar.”
As for the execution of the label, they’ve rotated the logo counterclockwise so that it runs from bottom to top. From there, they’ve placed two additional rows of text beneath it -- one for “Matcha Energy” and one for the flavor name and caffeine content.
There’s a lot to like about what the brand has created, starting with the fact that this is one of those rare occasions of a redesign that feels like playing offense rather than defense, in the sense that there was nothing wrong or broken with its old branding scheme. And we do like the use of the word “hustle”; it makes a statement but is at the sametime innocuous and shouldn’t be offensive to anyone.
If there’s anything that we think is missing from its former package design, it’s room to breathe. This design is busy and we think it could be improved with both fewer elements and a layout that makes the flavor name clearer. To accomplish that, we think the flavor name could move to the colored ring at the top, which presently has the somewhat obvious suggestion of “serve cold,” then shifting the caffeine content to the bottom where “Zero Sugar” / “No Sugar Added” are presently.
Overall, we think that MatchaBar has done a very nice job with this product. Both the brand and the formulations are in a very good spot.