An energy drink addict’s guide to Kickstart flavors


Matthew Centner, Chief Editor

If you know anything about me, what you probably know is that I am a Kickstart fiend.

I have been drinking them religiously ever since I started high school when I first saw the Black Cherry flavor in the school vending machines. Are they good for my health? Maybe not, and in my freshman year, I even wrote an article about how unwise it was to have a vending machine chock-full of these in the halls of our schools. It didn’t get published, though, and even if it had, it wouldn’t have stopped me from continuing to drink them. As a notorious sleepyhead, Kickstarts are useful for keeping me awake during the day. 

In late March of 2023, Kickstart added a new flavor to their collection: Strawberry Start-up. I had no idea that they had been releasing this drink and wasn’t aware it even existed until I stumbled upon one during a late-night run to the gas station. My expectations hadn’t been high, but I was very pleasantly surprised by how much this new flavor exceeded them. In this article, I, a Kickstart expert, will give my opinion on not only the new flavor, but also on all the other flavors they currently sell. 


#1 – Fruit Punch 

Rating: ★★★☆☆

This flavor is pretty straight-forward: it tastes exactly like the fruit punch I grew up with, but in the form of a soda rather than juice. It’s not particularly different or exciting, which is why I rated this flavor three stars. The Fruit Punch flavor is made of 5% juice and contains caffeine, as well as vitamins B and C. 


#2 – Orange Citrus

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

The Orange Citrus flavor sucks. That’s a pretty blunt statement, but it’s true. I would only drink this flavor if there were no other flavors available, and even then, I would only drink it if my favorite flavors were nowhere to be found in stores or online… or I would just buy something else entirely. I have always felt like this flavor tastes too much like chemicals for my liking; it’s like battery acid in a can, a complete assault on your tastebuds. If you enjoy citrusy flavors, you might get a hint of orange with this flavor’s terrible aftertaste. 

Like the Fruit Punch flavor, the Orange Citrus flavor has a juice content of 5% and contains the same caffeine and vitamin content.


#3 – Strawberry Start-Up 

Rating: ★★★★★

Strawberry Start-Up is the newest addition to Kickstart’s permanent flavor collection—which is a good thing, because I got very upset when I believed that this flavor was limited edition. This drink is strawberry lemon flavored, and it does not disappoint. It tastes just like how I would imagine the season of summer to taste: sweet, fruity, and tasty. According to the Strawberry Start-Up label, this newest flavor contains 5% juice, 90 mg/16 fl oz caffeine, and vitamin C1.


#4 – Pineapple Orange Mango 

Rating: ★★★★★

As much as I love the Strawberry Start-Up flavor, the Pineapple Orange Mango will always be my favorite. It had been my second favorite while the Mango Lime flavor was around, but ever since that flavor was booted from the Kickstart line in 2021, the Pineapple Orange Mango flavor has definitely grown on me. With every sip you take, you get a good mix of all three fruits it is advertised to taste like, as well as a hint of coconut. It tastes tropical— and like serotonin—and is good for any season. Unlike other Kickstart flavors, this flavor has a juice content of 10% and contains coconut water. 


#5 – Black Cherry 

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Like the Fruit Punch flavor, the Black Cherry flavor is very straight-forward. It was the first flavor I had ever tried and is my third-favorite flavor overall. However, it is best cold; drinking it warm causes it to taste sort of like carbonated cough syrup. The Black Cherry flavor contains caffeine, electrolytes, and 5% juice content.


#6 – Grape 

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Seeing as I abhor artificial grape flavoring, I am inherently biased by giving this flavor one star. If you are a fan of grape flavoring that doesn’t taste anything like grape but like the color purple instead, then by all means, go ahead and try it. Just because I am not a fan doesn’t mean that you can’t be, either. Just like the Black Cherry flavor, Grape Kickstart also contains electrolytes.


Kickstart is definitely my favorite energy drink line, but like any other company, it has its hit-or-miss flavors. Don’t let my personal opinions dissuade you from trying certain flavors, though – unless the flavor you’re hesitant about is Orange Citrus. In that case, only try it if you like the taste of acidic garbage.