At Blend, colors beat beat flavors

New restaurant sells energizing teas, nutritious shakes, and iced coffee, but they are not worth the high price


Marian Tully, Guest Writer

Just down Watt Avenue towards Folsom Boulevard, a new smoothie and energy drink shop opened up last February. They sell energizing teas, nutritious shakes, and iced coffee, similar to Dutch Bros, a local favorite of Rio students. 

The strip mall, 8391 Folsom Boulevard, where the store is located is a bit sketchy but my friends and I decided not to judge a book by its cover and to give the place a shot. 

I was hopeful that Blend could become a fun hangout for students to do their homework, but as my friends and I walked into the store and there were no customers inside we immediately became concerned.  There was little seating as the room was very open and most of the space was taken up by a large bar where three baristas were working. 

The woman working the counter was friendly and welcomed us all in as she showed us a menu. Immediately my friends and I noticed that the prices were not listed for most drink options, so we had to ask, and they were very high. 

We perused the 43 different brightly colored varieties of tea noting their fun flavors and names. Some drinks were based on Disney characters or superheroes, making them more appealing to youthful audiences. For example, a Cheshire cat tea is pink and a superman tea is blue and red. 

The tea sizes seemed excessively large but we figured that if they tasted good then there were no complaints from us. 

I ordered a Firecracker tea which was supposed to have pomegranate, pineapple, and strawberry flavoring, but I chose it solely because its colors appealed to me most, and my friend ordered a child’s Unicorn tea. My 24-ounce tea cost $8 and my friends flavored water cost $5, both of which were extremely overpriced. 

By looking at the vibrant colors it seemed that the drinks would taste incredible, and therefore would be worth their price. I took a sip, and tried not to gag as the flavors were not fruity and delicious but rather starchy and overly sweet. 

My friends described the taste as a “ratchet Dutch Bros Rebel” and “too sweet.”  I felt that the flavors were too weird to describe in a way other than “bad.”

As the Firecracker tea, I ordered was technically an energy drink, it is possible that the tea itself was tasty and the bad flavors came from the half-inch of protein powder floating around at the bottom. Unfortunately, this theory was proven false by the Unicorn tea we ordered, which as a kid’s drink did not have protein powder or any type of energizing substances in it and still tasted foul. 

My friends and I all pretended to enjoy the drinks as the baristas were staring us down hoping for a positive reaction about the colorful drinks they had made. The whole moment was very uncomfortable as my friends and I felt the need to lie through our teeth, though I am sure that the baristas knew exactly what the drinks tasted like. 

Overall, the experience with Blend was odd. The drinks found there are more of energy drinks as opposed to fun, after-school beverages. 

I can see how serious athletes might benefit from their beverages, but to me, the taste was not worth the high price. Don’t let the fun colors fool you, Blend is not ideal for the average Rio student.