In the summer of 2009 I ordered a packet of dried, compressed miracle fruit tablets off the internet, which at the time seemed even riskier than ordering bulk caffeine. But the alternative was to get fresh berries, which starts at around $50 for maybe a few dozen – the smallest amount offered – and typically shipped only overnight, frozen, for a small country’s gross national fortune. Now, three years later, the frontier of buying miracle fruit is still weird. The first website on Google’s list is sold out of every item except the compressed tablets, which they are selling at double the price. The next website on the list has tried to change the name of the berries to Dulci Berries, which to me reads as Dulse Berries, which does not sound good, and their website is totally incomprehensible and repeatedly mentions having been seen on the Rachel Ray show. By all accounts, a shifty source. From there it gets worse.
I bring this up because I was contacted last month by mberry, a maker of the tablet-style miracle fruit offering, and coincidentally the exact same brand I’d purchased three years ago. I wondered if they had searched my website and seen that I had in fact, tried them before, and if so, why were they offering to me to try it again? No matter, I’ll take it, and with the request I always send product offers: PLEASE SEND ENOUGH FOR THE WHOLE CLASS. I do not like reviewing products without being able to offer some as a giveaway, a request that went ignored by mberry. They sent one packet. So I called Krista and Jess and asked them to come over.
mberry is by all accounts the least crazy of the miracle berry offerings online, though even they are selling the individual fresh berries for $2 a fruit (okay, no biggie) but about $4 per fruit for shipping, minimum five fruits. So in other words, five berries ends up costing you $32, $22 of which is shipping. I bring this up because my complaint about the tablets now is moreso than the last time I reviewed them: the effect of the tablets lasts maybe 10 minutes. Or the half-life of it, at least. Various descriptions claim the effect lasts upwards of two hours, and what they mean by this is that you may have some lingering effects for two hours. But the window in which raw, fresh lemons taste like MAGICAL FAIRIE LEMONS is as I said, maybe 10 minutes. Which frankly, is not long enough. If you want to try a whole buffet table of things you must frantically eat, like a starving person, and linger over nothing.
I can’t find if it is okay to just keep eating the tablets, and continue eating limes and goat cheese, but I can’t imagine it could hurt you. Still, we didn’t. We sat back, mouths raw from acid and tummies complaining, and looked upon our mess.
- There is another brand called Frooties (on their own website they occasionally misspell their own product “Footies”) that sells both a standard tablet and an “XL” size.
- Also, there is a Chinese-label tablet for sale, which if you can overlook the different graphic design, looks almost exactly like mberry. So, probably the same manufacturer, but who cares since they cost the same.
- Someone gave the tablets a single star and complained venomously that it made everything they ate “sickeningly sweet”. I imagine it is frustrating to really love sour foods and then accidentally eat a miracle berry tablet before your dinner of sliced lemons.
- Almost each brand claims that it also makes bitter flavors sweet, but not a single person I know who has tried the tablets agrees with this. Bitter remains bitter. Only sour becomes sweet.
- MVP for most surprising flavor transformation: Sriracha. It is still spicy, but becomes complex and raisiny. While all of us were Sriracha fans to begin with, it was that flavor that made us saddest to leave behind – it was better after miracle fruit.
- mberry’s package now says “NEW!” in the corner, which it did not three years ago.
June 30th, 2012 | Food Rant