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Review: Koru Instant Energy Strips

Koru is a Maori word that symbolises growth, strength, and peace. It's also the name of a new energy caffinated strip, in the same vein as the Diablo Energy Strips and many other similar products.

They are little strips of what looks like rice paper, designed to disolve on the tongue. The packet claims they work by "trans-mucosal delivery action", working "sublingually" - i.e. "they dissolve on your tongue". The idea behind these is that as the caffeine is absorbed through the mucous membranes in the mouth immediately, the caffeine reaches your bloodstream much faster than anything that you swallow. It's the caffeine equivalent of smoking crack, basically.

Having tried some of these before (and being particularly unable to pass up the opportunity of buying something new and caffinated) I decided to pick up a pack and write a review.

I found them at the checkout of the Whistlestop shop in London Bridge station for the princely sum of £1.99. The packet, a foil bag roughly the size of a playing card, contains 4 of the strips purported to "awaken the mind and the body". No mention is made of the caffeine content of the strips, either on the packet or the web site.

Each strip contains: maltodextrim, hydroxypropylmethyl cellulose, water, triethyl citrate, sorbitol, flavourings (including caffeine), sweeteners (sucralose, aspartame), and titanium dioxide as a colouring. The strips lack the ususal cocktail of ingredients that you often find in new energy products (taurine, ginseng, vitamin-B, and others), so you'll have to be content with the caffeine.

The front of the pack is decorated with slightly disturbing Maori print of what looks a bit like a gorilla, called the "Koru Face Device".


Inside the pack are 4 strips individually wrapped in foil packets, and a little sticker of the Face Device. The strips are attractively wrapped, with bold lettering on the front, and again the Face Device on the back.

The strips themselves are an off-white, like thick rice paper, with white lettering spelling "Koru" printed diagonally across them.


The strips are meant to be placed on the tongue, where they quickly disolve. The pleasant mint flavour, not at all unlike Mentos, quickly gives way to the familiar bitter taste of caffeine, which is enough to give an indication of the caffeine content - very high.

Within a minute I was feeling rather refreshed and alert (with my hangover receding), and without the jitters that often accompany a large dose of caffeine. I could do without my morning coffee after just one of these, and the peak effect lasted for around an hour.

Koru Instant Energy Strips are an expensive but effective way of caffinating yourself. At £1.99 for 4 they are way cheaper than a latte, but still very pricey considering Boots sells a cheaper own-brand version with 28 strips in the pack (although without a scary Maori picture anywhere to be seen). The caffeine content, while not known, does feel very high for this kind of product, and is well worth a try.