With the popularity of açaí growing daily, many start up companies and large national brands are tying to capitalize off this growing category.
We are not here to tell you these other companies are bad, but rather point out the difference so you can make an educated choice when choosing your where to grab an açaí bowl.
SOHO Juice Co. has won numerous awards since we opened our doors in 2014. Most recently, we won the 2020 Best of the Bay award for Best Açaí Bowls in the entire Tampa Bay Area.
First thing you should ask yourself is "Why am I eating açaí?"
Do I want to eat something healthy?
Do I want to eat something sweet?
Do I not care, I just heard açaí was popular and I want to try it?
Once you can answer the above questions, then you can decide what kind of acai you should seek out.
Served at many popular chains because its cheap, shelf stable and doesn’t need to be frozen. Powder is created when they dry out the açaí berry and grind it down leaving a powder like substance that can be used to flavor smoothies, bowls or liquids. Anything that isn’t served in its original raw form is inferior and will lose many of its nutrients when it goes through the drying out process. Powders should be used to color and flavor items not be the star ingredient.
Many ice cream shops are adding açaí flavored soft serve mixes to their lineup up offerings hoping the unsuspecting person will think its “healthy” because it has açaí in it. Honestly, it’s açaí flavored ice cream. Might as well get the cookies and cream or s’mores because it’s got the same nutritional value as ice cream but just açaí flavored.
This is the most popular offering you will find out there but also the most deceptive. Its easy to scoop and gets directly shipped from large companies like Sambazon right to the restaurant so it’s easy to manage. This açaí is typically very low quality with very little nutritional value and is laden with sugar. One serving, a 2/3rd cup scoop has nearly 20 grams of sugar in it. Don’t get us wrong, this product will taste good but don’t choose this option because you want to eat something “healthy”. Choose it because you want to have a cheat meal and are in the mood for sorbet or something sweet and sugary. You are better off going to the grocery store and buying a pint of sambazon acai sherbet for your freezer if this product interest you.
Açaí pulp is typically found in the frozen fruit aisle sold as a 4 pack of 3.5 ounce rectangle frozen packs (sambazon is the most popular to the consumer). This is the purest most beneficial form of açaí but as you are learning not all acai is created equal. There is different levels of açaí pulp available to the consumer all of which contain different amounts of açaí pulp. Açaí fino is lowest grade which contains at least 8% açaí pulp, açaí medio is the medium grade which contains at least 11% pulp and açaí especial is the highest grade and contains at least 14% grade a açaí pulp. The more açaí pulp the more superfood benefits you will get from consuming it. Most company’s don’t offer acai especial because it is the most expensive açaí out there but at Soho we only offer grade a açaí especial because we only want to serve you the best.
What kind of açaí do you use?
Powder, soft serve, sherbet or açaí pulp.
What grade is your açaí?
A (especial) B (medio) or C (fino)
What percentage of pulp does your açaí have?
14%, 11%, 8%
What else is in your açaí blend?
We use organic strawberries, banana and homemade almond butter and almond milk.
Trust us, if you are at a place that serves good açaí, they will be able to answer these questions... if they can’t, you aren’t getting a good product. Grade A Organic açaí is expensive so you bet a company that is selling it is going to make it known they are serving it and training their staff to talk about.
Ask questions. You’ll be surprised to find out what you are eating.
We look forward to serving you.