Caffiend: Abu Abed Energy Drink

Things are not as they appear with the Abu Abed Energy Drink. Looking at the can, which is covered in Arabic writing, gives the impression that this drink is perhaps a Middle Eastern import (we picked ours up at Lee Lee's supermarket in Mesa, which sells food and drinks from various parts of the world). But the drink is actually made by the "Abu Abed Beverage Co." in Lake Forest, CA. And in case you're wondering who Abu Abed is, he's a popular Lebanese cartoon character known throughout the Arabic world for his fumbling and failures.

But is the Abu Abed energy drink a failure? Let's break it down.

Abu Abed Energy Drink (Orange Flavor)

Looks like: A colorful aluminum can covered in Arabic writing. The jovial image of Abu Abed winking at us from under his Fez indicates this drink should be fun to consume and buzz off.

Smells like: Baby aspirin.

Tastes like: Carbonated Tang, or orange soda that's gone slightly flat. The fruity citrus flavor is similar to that of the popular NOS and 180 energy drinks.

Caffeine and other contents: An 8.5 ounce can contains 80 mg of caffeine, the same amount as an 8 ounce can of Red Bull. There's also 266 mg of Taurine, which is only 16 mg less than the amount of Taurine in a Red Bull.  As usual, there's a bunch of B vitamins in the blend, too (160% of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin B2, 90% RDA of B6 and B12, and 110% RDA of Niacin), which is the standard energy drink recipe. But the drink also contains the dreaded Tartrazine, a.k.a. Yellow No. 5, a synthetic dye also used heavily in Mountain Dew. Rumors abounded a few years ago that the dye caused problems with male potency. Those claims have never been substantiated by the FDA, but the dye does cause more allergic reactions than any other azo dye used in food and drink.

Caffeine kick:
Decent. The buzz is about as strong as what you'd get from drinking a Red Bull, but not as sustained. Two cans might do the trick better than one, but then you might as well just buy a 16 ounce energy drink.

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea