I get a headache sometimes when I look at the ingredient list of specialty drinks. It doesn’t matter if they are for more energy, recovery, or more focus; half the time I don’t recognize the majority of the items noted. Of course, the makers claim these mystical things will do wonders for you once you drink them. With a few rare exceptions, I’ve been disappointed. Thus, when my editor presented me with the new beverage Just Chill, I was understandably skeptical.

To my surprise, though, the ingredient list wasn’t a never ending stream of unfamiliar chemicals. These guys actually used real stuff, like fruit and vegetable juice. It was an unconventional approach, and thus, was interesting. The basic concept of Just Chill is a little unusual, too. Unlike an energy drink, this stuff isn’t supposed to pump you up. The makers say it’s to improve your focus and reduce your stress level. It’s more in line with beverages like Slow Cow and, to some extent, 5 Hour Energy.

Of course, ingredients and concept are just words. How the thing actually tastes and preforms are what’s truly important. Just Chill is a lighter beverage. It’s got carbonation, but it’s a more subtle amount than most sodas or energy drinks. The flavors reminded me of mango and papayas, and the aftertaste has a palpable note of real fruit texture to it. Mid-palate, the flavors are a little reserved, but for only 50 calories and 12 grams of sugar, they’re not bad. It’s smooth, clean, and certainly not a chore to drink.

In terms of performance, I can’t honestly say that I felt a sudden decrease in my stress nor a phenomenal increase in my focus. However, the aspect of Just Chill that I really enjoyed was that it didn’t have the heavy, slightly buzzed feeling that comes on with most energy drinks. Instead, I had a little pick-me-up, which allowed me to finish what I was already doing without a second energy drink or a trip to the restroom.

So, if you’re looking for magic, I’m sorry. Just Chill is only a beverage. But if you don’t like the effects of all the caffeine in energy drinks, and you want a real drink, not just a shot (like 5 Hour Energy), I would absolutely suggest you try Just Chill for yourself. At best, it takes the edge off and centers you a bit. At worst, it’s a rather pleasant, light beverage that won’t give you an unwanted caffeine high or cause multiple bathroom trips like the jumbo sized energy drinks. So while Just Chill won’t take you from stress ball to zen master, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy it more than the currant beverage that helps get you through the day.


By Michael Perkins