We Tested Out 6 Recess CBD Sparkling Waters (& We're Still Thinking About the Pomegranate Hibiscus)

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recess cbd sparkling water review list

Value: 17/20
Functionality: 18/20
Quality: 19/20
Aesthetics: 20/20
Taste: 18/20

Total: 92/100

If you combat the 3 o'clock slump with a cup of coffee only to find yourself jittery and anxious for the rest of the workday, you’re not alone. The java might give you the energy boost you need to make it to closing time, but it definitely won’t help you start unwinding. Presenting the best of both worlds: Recess, a line of refreshing CBD sparkling waters.

Recess refers to its beverages as “an antidote to modern times” that aims to help you achieve focus, relaxation, creativity and balance. All six flavors are infused with hemp extract and adaptogens to keep you mellow and relaxed while still being alert and clear-headed. Hemp and adaptogens aid the body in maintaining equilibrium and managing stress.

Hemp, a member of the cannabis family, is supposed to calm the mind and center the body via our endocannabinoid system. The drinks also contain American ginseng, which can improve memory and focus, mood-brightening L-theanine (aka a sleep-improving amino acid found in tea plants) and balancing lemon balm. Recess is flavored with fruit and herbs, which keeps them low in calories and sugar. Each 12-ounce can has 15 to 30 calories, 4 to 6 grams of carbs and 3 to 6 grams of sugar.

You may be able to find Recess at a health or grocery store near you (this locator can help), but you can also order online. Buy single-flavor eight-packs for $39.99 (that’s about $5 a pop) or a six-pack sampler for $29.99. You can also score discount 12-packs for $49.99 if you make your purchase a subscription.

recess cbd sparkling waters coconut lime

1. Coconut Lime

This tropical pick stars a coconut-lime tea infusion made with coconut chips, lime zest, coconut water and pear juice concentrate. Crack the can and you’ll be swept up in the sweet, tart aroma of key lime pie. It’s crisp and refreshing with a bright, citrusy nose, fresh coconut flavor and a vanilla-like finish. The lime comes through pretty strong, despite it being sparkling water, which tends to be more diluted in flavor than other drinks. It sort of tastes like a lime candle would smell, if that makes sense. Its murky color and citrus notes would lend themselves well to homemade lemonade or margaritas.

Taste: 17/20

recess cbd sparkling waters peach ginger

2. Peach Ginger

The peach aroma comes through slightly with a crisp, bubbly backbone (think of a flute of cava or prosecco with peach slices in it, or peach rings infused with Champagne). It’s a light, straw-tinted orange in color, as it’s made with filtered water and a peach-ginger tea infusion that boasts hibiscus, ginger, apple, rosehips, chicory root and peaches. It also has peach and apple purées, peach nectar and peach juice concentrate. The ginger isn’t spicy at all, but rather adds a hint of zest to an otherwise juicy, fruity sparkling water. We’re thinking a splash of ginger beer, lime juice and vodka would turn this bev into a mean Moscow mule.

Taste: 18/20

recess cbd sparkling waters blood orange

3. Blood Orange

Those of you who love classic seltzer flavors like lemon and lime need to give this hazy alternative a try. It’s made with an orange tea infusion containing orange zest, orange oil and orange, pear, blood orange and lemon juice concentrates. It smells super juicy and is equal parts citrusy and sweet, like Snapple Orangeade. The bitterness of the blood orange tastes similar to grapefruit juice without being too overwhelming.

Taste: 17/20

recess cbd sparkling waters pomegranate hibiscus

4. Pomegranate Hibiscus

Watch out: One whiff and you’ll get smacked with the wondrous fruity scent of pomegranate juice. This flavor is an herbal tea infusion made with cane sugar, dried hibiscus, ginger, lemongrass and pomegranate and lemon juice concentrates. It’s similar to a cloudy cider in color and smells sweet, kind of like apple juice. We always expect pink when it comes to hibiscus, but that doesn’t take away from this drink’s deliciousness. In fact, it just might be our favorite of the bunch. Both the pomegranate and hibiscus notes come through so beautifully; it’s fruit-forward and juicy at the front, then finishes with the dry tartness hibiscus is famous for.

Taste: 19/20

recess cbd sparkling waters black cherry

5. Black Cherry

Soda lovers looking for a low-sugar swap, this one’s for you. First off, it smells *exactly* how you want black cherry anything to smell, just like a Cherry Coke. We’re guessing that’s thanks to the two-ingredient tea infusion being made with nothing but water and dried cherries. It’s also spiked with cherry juice concentrate and tart cherry powder, which creates the ideal balance of sweet and sour. This flavor is super fruity but has the tiniest hint of earthiness that’s almost metallic at the finish. We’ll chalk that up to cherry’s borderline medicinal flavors.

Taste: 19/20

recess cbd sparkling waters blackberry chai

6. Blackberry Chai

Red wine lovers and iced chai fans, assemble. This chai tea infusion made with rose petals and blackberry juice concentrate is spicy, fruity and straight-up delicious. Allspice, anise and cinnamon come through on the nose. Take a sip and be blown over by spice-forward flavor and a red berry backbone, kind of like Syrah. Pour this one into a glass: It’s got the prettiest mauve hue. We will say this flavor (and the others) could be more effervescent, but the bubbles offer a subtle tingling sensation that brings the chai spices to life in the best way.

Taste: 18/20

The PureWow100 is a scale our editors use to vet new products and services, so you know what's worth the spend—and what's total hype. Learn more about our process here.

taryn pire

Food Editor

Taryn Pire is PureWow’s food editor and has been writing about all things delicious since 2016. She’s developed recipes, reviewed restaurants and investigated food trends at...