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Smart Cups Review: First “Printed” Beverage?

James White Mar 10

A friend recently sent me a link to a video circulating on Facebook for “Smart Cups” with the title, “The World’s First Printed Beverage.” I knew I had to try this for myself, so I ordered a package and today I’m sharing how that test went.

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About Smart Cups

The official product website is smartcups.com, which was registered in May 2000, although according to the Internet Archive, it doesn’t appear that there was any significant content on that domain until around 2018. Current flavors include Berry Blast, Raspberry Lemonade, Green Tea + Lemon, Tropical Punch, Magna Cum Latte, and Pucker Up Brain Boost. Smart Cups are made in the USA.

Claims & Features

  • Flavor “printed” into the bottom of an eco-friendly cup
  • Cups made of sustainable bio-plastic
  • No sugar
  • Low calories
  • Vegan
  • Eco Friendly
  • Low carbs
  • Six flavors
  • Cups hold 9oz
  • 125mg caffeine per serving

Cost

As of this writing, you can get Smart Cups from the official website for $10 for 5, or $15 for 10, although there are additional shipping costs. I also found them on Amazon, but I only found the 10 packs there for $20, but no shipping.

My Smart Cups Review

Smart Cups are marketed as an energy drink, with the caffeinated flavor “printed” directly onto the bottom of a cup made from bio-plastic. You simply add water, and the flavor begins to fizz, not unlike an Alka Seltzer tablet. The website offers a wide variety of flavor options, but I chose tropical punch because it seemed to be the highest rated among those available on Amazon. Each cup holds about 9 ounces of liquid.

For my first test, I simply tried filtered water from my fridge. After filling the cup with water, I noticed the effervescent tablets slowly changing the color of the water. It took about 2 minutes for the flavor “tablets” to complete dissolve. The taste was a bit underwhelming, perhaps that of a low sugar Gatorade or Crystal Light. For the second round, I filled three cups: one with fridge water (again), one with carbonated water, and a third with cranberry juice. Surprisingly, the cup with cranberry juice took almost five minutes to dissolve, which was almost twice as long as the others. I felt like the juice masked the flavor, so it seemed as if I was drinking a $2 cup of caffeinated cranberry juice. My son, however, joined me for this round of taste tests and said he could taste both flavors and actually preferred the cup with juice over the others. I thought the carbonated Perrier was a better fit and helped make the drink more satisfying.

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In the end, I found that the product certainly worked exactly as promoted. With that in mind, it does seem like this will be a hard sell, on several fronts. First is the fact that it is a single-use product and the use of bio-plastic does not change that fact. Numerous users have stated the obvious, that a tablet or powder could achieve the same effect without the need for a cup. If the did use a powder or tablet, however, then there would be nothing revolutionary or high-tech about Smart Cups, nor would the name apply anymore!

smart cups closeup

The printed flavoring on the bottom of a Smart Cup.

smart cups

I’m glad I tried Smart Cups, but I don’t feel like this will catch on with a general public that is becoming increasingly concerned with plastic waste, even if it is bio-plastic.

Criticism and Reactions

After seeing the video (embedded below), I had more questions than answers. When you’re a reviewer, that’s a good thing, because you know that others will have many of the same questions that (hopefully) a good review will answer. I also read all of the 300+ comments to get a feel for what people were saying about it. There were numerous opinions posted in the comments of that video, and most of them were negative.

Most people took issue with the fact that this is a single-use product wrapped in a plastic bag. The company’s claim that cups are made from bio-plastic did not seem to calm the complaints about its environmental impact. I reached out to the company to find out if the outer packaging was also made from bio-plastic, but have not heard back from them as of this writing. The comments on my YouTube video (below) also echo many of the complaints on the original Facebook video.

Full Video Review

Here is my full video review of Smart Cups, with a little help from my son Brandon.

The Facebook Video

Below is the video that I mentioned at the beginning of this article that is circulating on Facebook.

Your Smart Cups Reviews

Have you used Smart Cups or something like it? Do you think this is a good idea, and does the use of bio-plastic make this an acceptable option?

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James White

James White in based in Las Vegas, Nevada, and has been reviewing strange gadgets since 2011. He also runs the successful "Freakin' Reviews" YouTube channel.

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