In 2020, Soda Is A Sleep Aid & Water Is Caffeinated, Because Of Course

At certain points in 2020, it has felt like we are living in The Upside Down. Chaos feels routine, wrong seems to be accepted as right, and now, apparently, soda is a sleep aid and water is caffeine. What?!
If you have no idea what I'm babbling on about, please, allow me to explain. Yesterday, PepsiCo announced that it's getting into the relaxation aid game by launching a new canned drink it's calling Driftwell. The beverage, which the company is categorizing as "enhanced water" — whatever that is — contains L-theanine, which according to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, is an amino acid commonly found in tea leaves that is purported to improve sleep. Driftwell will come in 7.5-ounce mini-cans, which are launching online later this year and in stores in early 2021.
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Yesterday, CNN Business reported, "PepsiCo sees an opportunity — especially during these anxiety-inducing times — to offer stress-relief via beverage form." How ironic that the brand's answer to these nonsensical times is to offer that an utterly absurd new beverage concept! Emily Silver, vice president of innovation at PepsiCo told the outlet, "We certainly see a massive need in this functional space." To that, I feel I must point out that we already have tea, which, as stated above, contains L-theanine in its natural state. Just sayin'.
As if the news that PepsiCo, a company known first and foremost for its caffeinated cola drinks, is releasing a calming drink wasn't enough of a head-scratcher, this morning, I also came across the news that Aldi is now selling caffeinated water. Recently, Delish reported that an Aldi shopper in Palmdale, California had discovered what is called "Water Joe" at the store. At first glance, Water Joe looks like a regular one-liter bottle of water. However, a closer look at the label reveals that each bottle contains 120 milligrams of caffeine.
According to Water Joe's official website — which I want to quickly point out also features an artsy black and white photo of a white woman with dreadlocks — this caffeinated water brand was originally launched by a college student who didn't like coffee or colas. Again, it seems, this person missed the memo about the existence of tea.
News of each of these seemingly unnecessary products on their own would give most of us tea drinkers pause but seeing the headlines side by side is almost too much to process. The juxtaposition proves that in 2020, there really must be something in the water.

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