Juice is booming all over the country—we've sampled the wares of a wide range of companies, from New York's popular Blueprint and Organic Avenue to Southern California's Ritual, and San Francisco's SōW and Thrive.
Seattle has its own juice scene, including the recently-expanded Vital Juice Co., which is now available in Seattle-area Whole Foods as well as Zaarly delivery and on Amazon for ordering nationally. The cold-pressed juices are all organic, with no water added. How do they taste? We cracked the bottles to share our favorites (and those we'd probably skip next time.)
Juices We Loved
Beet juice can go down two roads: sweet and fruity or earthy and reminiscent of borscht. Vital Beet with Almond is made with carrots, oranges, almonds, water, beets, agave, and vanilla, and the pink result is pleasingly sweet. If the idea of a beet-flavored dessert appeals to you, you'll adore this stuff, with its soft vanilla flavor and slight creaminess. We've tried more than our share of ginger-beet juices—this was a very pleasant departure. (There's also a more straight ahead Vital Beet without almond, made with carrot, orange, and beet. It's all about the root vegetables, in a good way, inherently sweet but not oddly sugary, and quite nicely balanced. We highly recommend it, as long as you like beets.)
We were eager to try the ginger-pineapple situation called Vital Pineapple, and this zingy-fresh juice didn't disappoint. The combination is more tart than any of the other juices they offer—it'll make your mouth water a little. It's way fresher-tasting than, say, Dole, and the spicy ginger cuts the sweetness, burning a little at the back of your throat. This is definitely one of the tastiest juices Vital offers, and one of the tastiest packaged pineapple juices we've ever tried.
Juices We Liked
Vital Carrot has a vivid orange color and is made with carrots, apple, and ginger. The mix is spicy and quite sweet, like ginger-carrot cake in a bottle, with just a bit of unpeeled-root-veg edge to balance things out.
The basic green juice, Vital Greens, is made with cucumber, apple, kale, spinach, ginger, and lemon. It seems sweet and light at first (thanks to the cukes and apples) but gets more serious midsip, with a hit of ginger spice and the savory kale factor. There's no bitterness here, and none of the odd cilantro and parsley additions that often dominate the flavor of green juices, but it's still going to remind you of some serious greens. If you don't like ginger, this one probably won't work for you.
If you're used to drinking a standard Tetra-pak brand of coconut water, the Vital Coconut might surprise you: it's really nutty, with much richer coconut flavor and a bit of toastiness. It's hard to recommend this one from a value standpoint, though: $7 (or more on Amazon) is pretty steep for sixteen ounces of coconut water, no matter how fresh.
Not Our Thing
We opened the Vital Grapefruit immediately upon arrival. The juice is just grapefruit and mint, and the mint is an excellent addition, making the juice quite aromatic and cocktail-like, fresher-seeming than it would be otherwise. But the juice, which starts out delicately sweet, finishes on a dry, bitter note, as if the pith and peel were included in the juice.
Made with watermelon and lime, the Vital Melon ends up tasting extra-melony, with just a little acidity to round out the flavor. It's refreshing stuff, but had a slightly rubbery off-flavor at the end of each sip that kept us from finishing the bottle.
The Vital Greens with Almond includes the same fruits and veggies (and ginger) plus almonds, agave, and vanilla. It's 180 calories per bottle instead of the basic green juice's 70. We liked the idea of this one since sometimes green juice in the morning just seems so austere, and a touch of fat and protein seems like a more fortifying start to the day. This almond-enhanced juice is a little richer, but not sludgy, and still tasting of cool cucumber and apple up front. But the combination of kale and vanilla doesn't quite come together here, flavor-wise, and the result left us unconvinced.
The Vital Almond failed on a textural level: after a full minute of shaking (we could have had a Ramos Gin Fizz by now!) we couldn't get it to emulsify. It poured out lumpy and separated in an entirely unappealing way.
Have you tried the juices from Vital Juice Co.? Got any other Seattle-area juice companies to recommend?
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