I remember the last time I drank an energy drink – vividly.

The year was 2012 and I was working front of house at a trendy restaurant where the wait for a table was usually over two hours. I gulped back a can of the “blue” edition of a well-known brand. It made my heart tremble and my eyeballs roll back. (I’ve since learned I’m caffeine sensitive, can you tell?)

These days, I don’t even drink coffee, sticking to matcha and Earl Grey teas. But I do miss that energy hit when I need it.

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When I heard that Kiwi drinks company Almighty was launching caffeinated water (a first in New Zealand and Australia), I was intrigued. And slightly cynical. “Haven’t we reached peak bougie water?” I thought. And also, brightly, “How do you put caffeine into water?”

Almighty got its start making organic fruit and veggie juices in 2015, before moving into subtly flavoured sparkling waters. The three new flavours of “active” (i.e. caffeinated) sparkling water are just the next evolution of this.

“The product [base] is very similar to our existing naturally flavoured sparkling water,” Almighty founder Ben Lenart tells Broadsheet. “The natural caffeine is derived from green [unroasted] coffee beans.”

The caffeine is extracted from the coffee beans using the same process that’s used to make decaf coffee beans, then combined with sparkling water. Each can contains about the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee – 80 milligrams – and is sugar-free with no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. And the caffeine doesn’t affect the flavour profile at all.

The first time I tried the blackcurrant flavour Almighty Active (the other two flavours are pineapple and apple, both made from real fruit), I was half expecting a similar reaction to my last fateful foray into coffee and energy drinks.

I cracked the can, slightly dreading the forthcoming experience and drank it slowly, waiting to feel something before proceeding with each timid sip. After reaching the bottom, I’m delighted to report I experienced none of the same heart palpitations or shaky effects.

I just felt nicely alert – and that was it. I didn’t have a crash after drinking it, or the crystalised surge of raw energy I associate with coffee and things like Diet Coke. I was still able to power through my afternoon to-do list, which is a novelty since I usually feel tired after lunch. Plus, the fact that it just tastes like mildly flavoured sparkling water meant I felt the smugness of the well-hydrated.

Now we’re heading into summer in Australia and New Zealand, I can see this appealing to those who would normally gravitate towards iced coffee or even fizzy drinks but want an added pep and less sugar.

Almighty launched Active after a team trip to the US, where they found that caffeinated waters were popular, with companies such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi getting on board and making their own versions. But the trend hadn’t reached this side of the world yet.

“A lot of the confidence [for us] came from the fact that two of the biggest beverage brands in the world have developed brands in this category,” Lenart says. “And they're really investing in [them]. We’re just absolutely stoked to be the first in New Zealand and Australia to launch products in this category.

“We were really excited about being innovative, but cautious about having something that required too much education or was too niche. We really like the proposition of caffeinated sparkling water because it’s so simple and so accessible – so many people know and understand caffeine, what it is and what it does.”

Ultimately, says Lenart, Active will appeal to people who like to have a balanced, “healthy-ish” approach to life. “A lot of people are time poor and the convenience of a can [is that it] can be taken to the office, to the playground, to the gym,” he says.

I’d be happy to be seen carrying a can of Almighty Active with me around the place – especially with its retro sports label-inspired packaging. And if it gives my energy levels a jitter-free lift? Even better.

Almighty products are stocked at more than 1100 stores and supermarkets across New Zealand and Australia.

While the author experienced no unwelcome effects, the label on the can cautions against consumption by children, pregnant or lactating women, or people sensitive to caffeine.