Makers of caffeine-laced energy drinks claim the chemicals in their beverages can do things such as boost energy, increase cognitive abilities and improve moods. Taster's Choice wanted to see what all the buzz was about, so we asked one of the primary target groups for the energy drink industry — college students. Five students enrolled in the Writing About Food course at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg sampled eight brands of energy drinks for us. All of the judges were over 18, as some of the drinks contained warnings saying they were not recommended for consumers younger than 18. Our judges weren't concerned about the caffeine or caffeine substitutes in the drinks, but we wanted to know how the drinks tasted. While a couple weren't bad, most of these drinks were a hard sell to our student panelists.
Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent