Caffiend: Encaff Energy Stix

Imagine if Pixie Stix candy were full of sugar and caffeine; that's pretty much what Encaff Energy Stix are. These little .11 ounce (three gram) pouches are packed with powder that's supposed to provide an energy boost. The idea is that instead of troubling oneself by actually drinking a beverage containing caffeine, people in a super-hurry can just pour this sweet powder directly onto their tongues, and vroom!: "Up to 6 hours of power" -- or so the package says.

It's an interesting concept, but six hours of power may be an exaggeration. On the downside, this stuff tastes terrible in large quantities -- and 3 grams is a large quantity when you're basically dissolving mounds of sour granules on your tongue. The first taste isn't bad -- the energy stix are black cherry flavored, and sweet like candy. But when I started pouring the rest of the packet onto my tongue, my taste buds started to burn. The manufacturers don't recommend adding this to water, but this serving is pretty potent for the naked tongue.

Once the packet dissolved, I waited for the big energy boost. I had an instant sugar rush, but the sustained energy from the caffeine (the exact amount of which is not listed on the packaging) crept up on me. I didn't get the six hours of sustained caffeine rush the product boasted, but I was wired awake and alert for a good three hours. Maybe if Encaff Energy Stix were cheaper, they'd be worth swapping for traditional coffee and energy drinks, but since a two-pack costs about the same as an energy drink, I'll wait for the price drop and continue to gulp Monster.