Welcome to Take My Money, a column where we geek out about our favorite products.
I’m skeptical about energy drinks. A sweaty cold brew or steamy black coffee (or five) are all I need to power my day.
But then I was introduced to The Rock’s energy drink, ZOA, and I had to try it. Dwayne Johnson, the star of hit movies like Jumanji, Red Notice, Baywatch, etc. is one of the biggest names (with the biggest biceps) on planet Earth. And no one can look like that without caring about their health. So ZOA Energy Drinks must be doing something right.
The can, covered in tribal designs, sticks out like a sore thumb amongst traditional energy drinks, and yet, I still had a hard time tracking it down. After 5 stores, I finally found it—its warrior face and “zero sugar” claim staring right back at me from the cold Target drink fridge.
While I’ll never ditch my loyal coffee companion, I’m always on the hunt for more energy. If ZOA could give me that without all the extra added sugar packed into most energy drinks, I knew it was about to become the new friend I welcome to my overcaffeinated party.
I have always put energy drinks in the “too good to be true” product category. They taste great and have some health benefits, but aren’t as “nutritional” as their marketing often claims. ZOA is different. Sure, I gave ZOA a chance because The Rock put his name on it (and reputation is everything in Hollywood, right?), but I also saw a nutrition label that genuinely surprised me—and proved my naivety wrong.
At just 15 calories, 3g of carbs, and 0 grams of sugar in the entire 16oz. can, ZOA contains the ideal amount of caffeine to power through an afternoon slump—160 mg or the sweet spot between hot coffee and cold brew.
The caffeine in ZOA comes from natural sources: green tea and green, unroasted coffee beans. It’s clean energy and even as I type this review, one can down, I’m not jittery. I don’t feel like I want to crawl out of my skin, pace around my living room until this wears off, or sprint through a five-mile run. In fact, I have the clarity to focus and not daydream about some island paradise where The Rock is actually from.
This focus comes from B vitamins included in ZOA’s formula and works together with amino acids (which support muscle growth and metabolism) and camu camu (berries that offer antioxidants and immune support) to round out a powerful, but controllable, energy drink.
Work Friend and Workout Partner
My favorite thing about ZOA? You can drink it during work hours (as I am now), or right before your workout (as I did yesterday). The focus and clarity it gives me keeps my fingers flying across the keyboard while the energy and muscle support lock me into whatever exercise I’m doing. But if ZOA’s Zero Sugar Energy Drinks aren’t hardcore enough for you, the brand also makes a ZOA+ Pre-Workout Supplement in a can. The difference lies in the ingredients (with the addition of L-citrulline, Ginkgo biloba, L-carnitine L-tartrate, and betaine anhydrous), as well as a slight increase to 200mg of caffeine. While I have yet to try the ZOA+ Pre-Workout Supplement, I’ll return to tell you that tale as soon as I do.
ZOA’s flavor range is surprisingly amazing; my personal favorites are Super Berry, Lemon Lime, and the Original flavor, which tastes like a better version of Red Bull. ZOA also offers Wild Orange, Pineapple Coconut, Tropical Punch, and White Peach flavors, so you’ll never get bored. And, something not many other energy drinks can claim, ZOA only uses natural flavors with no fruit juice or artificial flavors. No after taste was great and it stayed carbonated from the initial cap snap to the last gulp. I would compare this to a Polar Seltzer when it comes to overall fizz.
Let’s talk money. ZOA offers 12-packs for $18 (12oz. cans) or $21 (16oz. cans). Each 16oz. can by this measure is around $1.75, which is what I’ve bought single cans for. There’s also a variety pack option with 6 cans for $18 on ZOA’s website. For a Starbucks Grande Cold Brew, you’ll shell out about $3.25, so ZOA is not only a cheaper option but you don’t have to leave the house to buy.
The Bottom Line
ZOA Energy Drinks proved my judgement of energy drinks wrong. I went in with a stubborn view, but was pleasantly surprised by this healthy energy drink and what it has to offer. With clean energy, great added ingredients like B vitamins and amino acids, and unique flavors, I’ve already dedicated a shelf in my fridge to ZOA. Moral of the story: don’t bet against The Rock.