I've reviewed a few Ooba beverages before, and been pretty impressed with them in general. The hibiscus extract seems to blend nicely with the various additional flavorings they use, and the outcome is a well-balanced, not-too-sweet, vaguely tea-ish soda. Thus, when I saw Ooba Hibiscus with Kiwi at Sprouts Market the other day (along with the first Oogave I've seen sold retail!), I was excited to bring some back to the Lab.
When I got back to the Lab, I found that Ooba is good for something else as well. One of my favorite things about being married is the constant discovery of new things about my wife, the Kibbitzer-in-Chief. While her intelligence and insight are well-known to me, the emergence of hidden facets of personality is wondrous and very rewarding.
In this case, I discovered that the name "Ooba" evokes different associations in each of us. For her, it brings to mind the rabbit she had as a child named "Uba". That rabbit was named Uba because it was the offspring of a rabbit which had been badly injured, losing an ear and part of two legs. That rabbit was named "Creb", after the disfigured, crippled shaman of the Neanderthal Clan of Jean Auel's Clan of the Cave Bear.*
The nice thing about learning this was that it reinforced my dear love's amazing literary geekiness, which is an extremely endearing quality.
For me, on the other hand, I immediately heard the following in my head:
Ooba, Ooba, Doobity doo!
I've got an icky soda for you.
Ooba, Ooba, Doobity dee.
If you are wise, you'll treat it like pee.
...and now it's stuck in your head, too. Ha ha ha!
Where and when: Purchased February 2011 at Sprouts Market, San Marcos, CA
Color: Deep red, very slightly purple. Almost wine-ish.
The surface tension of the water causes it to creep very slightly up the sides of the container at the top, causing a curved surface...a "hibiscus meniscus", if you will**.
Scent: Wow, not what I expected at all. It's quite sweet and very floral, with little or none of the tartness I associate with kiwi.
Nazgul: "It doesn't smell bad, but not good, either.
I like it well enough, but it's deeper and darker than I was expecting.
Taste: The hibiscus is strong--that nice, mellow sweet-underlaid-with-tart you get from hibiscus. The kiwi part is quite faint; I taste it more as an enhancement of the natural hibiscus tartness than an additional flavor of its own, although I guess I'd need a pure hibiscus version for comparison to be sure.
It's nice. A pleasant fruitiness, with some interesting aftertaste...ah. There it is, the aftertaste suddenly shifts to a very tart note, which then (oddly) goes away again. The aftertaste is complex, a blend of tart and ever so slightly bitter, again like tea.
This is still one of the more refreshing sodas I know; this would be great on a hot day.
Ooba, Ooba, Drinkity drink
This is one you won't pour down the sink
Ooba, Ooba, Quaffity quaff
Still, I would not mix it up with Smirnoff.***
Quaff rating: 3.5. Pretty yummy.
Cough rating: 0.5. The tartness and slight bitterness are just a bit surprising.
* In the book (which is excellent), Creb and Iza are siblings, and Uba is Iza's daughter, which makes Uba Creb's niece. Thus, the relationship between the Creb and Uba in the book doesn't quite match the relationship between the K-i-C's rabbits. On the other hand, Ayla (Iza's adopted Cro-Magnon daughter) does temporarily care for an injured bunny in the book, which she calls her "Uba-bunny". Now you know.
** Yes, I know that a meniscus will appear in any container of watery liquid, at least one in which the material is even a little hydrophilic. It was just an excuse to say "hibiscus meniscus". As was this footnote.
*** Alternative ending: "Probably bad with beef stroganoff"
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