Serious Eats: Drinks

Comparing Juice Cleanses: Organic Avenue

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[Photo: Robyn Lee]

Shortly after we finished our BluePrint juice cleanse adventure, a friend mentioned that she really preferred the flavor of the juices from Organic Avenue. We were immediately curious—we enjoyed the BluePrint juices, but wondered if a cleanse could be a tastier experience. Organic Avenue sent out a review sample of their Deep Cleanse juices, along with a few others for us to try.

Our conclusion? The Organic Avenue juices are a bit more creative than what BluePrint offers—which sometimes worked well, and sometimes, well, bombed. It also should also be noted that Organic Avenue's juices are quite a bit less sweet than the BluePrint options. While BluePrint sometimes gave us a bit of a sugar-high, Organic Avenue's green juices and beet juice are notably vegetal; they taste healthy. But that may mean they're not for beginners.

The juices arrived in adorable squat glass bottles. The downside to this nice presentation, though, is extra weight if you're carrying the juices around, plus the possibility of breakage. If you're opposed to drinking things from plastic, though, you'll award Organic Avenue some points for this.

We really liked the Organic Avenue orange juice, which was refreshing and clean, packed with fruit flavor (not watered down at all.) Several of our tasters said it was as good as any they'd squeezed themselves, though one found it just a shade more tart than homemade. The pear juice is also quite delicious; it doesn't contain anything but pears, and it's deeply flavorful, with just the right sweetness.

We were less wild about the chocolate chip mint smoothie, which contains alkaline water, cashew, hemp seeds, dates, vanilla, cacao nibs, Irish moss, and peppermint oil. It's a grainy, slightly sweet nut milk with a clean peppermint note but a lot of earthy flavor too. ("The moss creeps up on you," said one taster.) It tastes better than it smells, and we're suckers for cocoa nibs, but we might prefer a simpler version. This smoothie is better on ice, but we'd pick Blueprint's vanilla cashew milk over this any day.

We were familiar with cayenne lemonade from Blueprint, but Organic Avenue's version, called the Master Tonic, is a different beast entirely: it's actually sour, not sweet! There's a slight hint of cayenne heat which builds after you swallow, but the major difference is that this version is really tart lemony purified alkaline water, not sugary lemonade. Some of our tasters who found the Blueprint juices too sweet preferred this more-refreshing version, though others wondered if the price tag on this stuff is a little high for what's essentially lemon water.

On to the green stuff...

Included in the cleanse is a shot of chlorophyll. It's made from alfalfa, and it's dark green (and stains your teeth dark green.) This is not the kind of stuff you'd normally drink voluntarily (it looks like food coloring mixed with plant food), but the flavor isn't awful, just grainy and intensely grassy. We couldn't finish a whole shot, though.

The cucumber juice smells a bit like a mellow spa tonic, but it's pretty potent stuff, with a slight bitterness (from the peels or seeds, perhaps.) It's vibrant-tasting (though it might be tastier with a squeeze of lemon.) The clean, cucumbery aftertaste lingers a long time. ("How many cukes are in there?" asked one taster. "A million?")

The green mylk is quite unusual—it's a bit like drinking a salad whirled in a blender with sweet almond milk. It's made from spinach, swiss chard, kale, cucumber, celery, romaine, parsley, almond, cinnamon, and collard greens. It's a little vegetal-tasting, but not harsh, and has a nice milky richness to it (which you really want first thing in the morning.) There's a hint of sweetness, which is a little strange when combined with the chard-cucumber flavor, but we appreciated that the parsley didn't dominate.

The Young LOVE is more hardcore. This deep green juice is made with spinach, cucumber, and celery, and the celery really dominates the flavor. "I feel like I'm chewing on celery strings," exclaimed one taster. Spinach adds only a delicate addition, and the celery flavor lingers (it's a tad bit bitter.) We appreciate variety in our green juice, but you really have to be a fan of celery to enjoy this one.

The Green LOVE is the most potent of them all, cucumbery and spinachy, with a slight bitter note from celery, collard greens, and parsley. A dash of lemon adds sourness, and the whole thing tastes, well, pretty intensely healthy. The flavor may startle you at first, but if you're looking for the green stuff, without any sweetness, this is the juice for you. This one grew on us as we got accustomed to the flavor.

We were expecting the beet-carrot juice (called Veggie Vibe) to be sweet and nearly fruity, like the Blueprint version, but this is a refreshing vegetable-forward juice due to the addition of celery, chard, and parsley. At the beginning of each sip, you taste the carrots and beets (which we like) but it fades to celery and dark-green parsley flavors pretty fast.

Overall, we'd say this cleanse is for those who aren't afraid to drink their veggies. (In case you're wondering, it doesn't come cheap: the 7-juice cleanse is $100 a day, though you can get $14 back for returning your used bottles.)

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