We Ranked All Of C4's Energy Drinks With Nostalgic Flavors You Might Recognize

If you frequently enjoy energy drinks, you are no doubt familiar with the energy drink aisle of your local grocery store. There are seemingly endless options to choose from. Among them is C4, a brand with numerous flavor options that help its customers supercharge their daily routines. 

C4 energy drinks prominently feature a zero-sugar label. The brand uses a popular zero-calorie sweetener, sucralose (better known as Splenda), to add sweetness to its beverage lineup without extra calories. Each can comes with a designation that it is NSF Certified for Sport — meaning that it is safe and legal for professional and collegiate athletes to drink. Each can clocks in at 16 fluid ounces and contains 200 milligrams of caffeine.

The brand offers a variety of different flavors, and while I focused this review on the flavors from brand partnerships like Popsicle, Skittles, and Starburst, there are other C4 cans that are more straightforward, energy drink-type flavors. After I integrated each can into my daily routine, I ranked each of C4's flavors according to its taste and how much I enjoyed the drink as a whole. I found that many of the flavors lasted past a few sips, while several met a quick end in the drain.

Some recommendations are based on first-hand impressions of promotional materials and products provided by the manufacturer/distributor/etc.

9. Hawaiian Pineapple Popsicle

When I think of the Popsicle brand, I immediately think of that all-too-delicious summertime frozen treat that just seems to melt a little too fast. I have fond memories of runs to the ice cream truck and coolers filled with these iconic frozen pops. Essentially, the Popsicle brand has done for fruit-flavored, store-bought popsicles what Kleenex has done for facial tissue. Popsicle itself is a brand, but it's become a common noun. 

While I do enjoy a good Popsicle, the C4 Hawaiian pineapple Popsicle flavor left me wanting more flavor. It fell very flat and I felt there just wasn't enough of that tropical pineapple taste. Instead, it felt watered down, even it was quite cold when I poured it over ice.

That said, this flavor isn't as sweet as some of the other ones I tried. So, it's a better option for folks looking for something with a less cloying flavor. The lack of flavor in this drink led me to dump it out and reach for a different Popsicle-inspired C4 offering. 

8. Grape Popsicle

I chose to sample the grape flavor after the lackluster Hawaiian pineapple flavor. Interestingly enough, the grape drink is translucent, like the rest of the flavors, even though I expected a purple or even pinkish hue to distinguish it from the other beverages. Having a non-purple color just seems a little strange. This grape flavor offered much more body than the Hawaiian pineapple, proving that it isn't the Popsicle aspect that's lacking — it's the flavoring.

However, just because there's more flavor, doesn't mean it was one I'd want to enjoy a whole can of. Don't go in to this can expecting a true, fruity grape flavor. It is certainly much more of a candy grape flavor, even more than a Popsicle typically is. It has a sort of syrupy profile that leans medicinal. So though the grape was better than the Hawaiian pineapple, it still wasn't the most enjoyable C4 flavor I sampled. I certainly wouldn't be able to drink a whole can of the grape drink, even if the first few sips were rather nice.

7. Skittles

C4 has several flavors that are specific to a brand, like Popsicle and Starburst. It's odd to me, then, that Skittles flavors don't get their own flavor distinction, like lemon Skittles or strawberry Skittles. Instead, they're lumped into a homogenous "Skittles" flavor, almost as though you're getting a handful of the candy and popping them in your mouth together in a single bite. A true "taste the rainbow experience," perhaps.

I found the flavor of this C4 didn't accomplish the task of tasting like all the Skittles flavors at once. It's a fruity combination of flavors, sure, but it's not "every Skittles flavor together." That said, I'm not exactly sure what it does taste like. There's a strong red fruit sort of flavor, and there's definitely some orange in there, too. But one thing is for sure: This one is super sweet and perhaps the sweetest among the flavors I tried. Although I didn't necessarily rank these cans according to which tasted the most like its named inspiration, I can't help but note this one really didn't seem to represent the candy it claimed to.

6. Cherry Starburst

When it comes to fruity candy, I found that people generally fall into one of two camps. You have the citrus loving crew, and then you have the berry and cherry loving group. I have always fallen into the latter, so it's no surprise that of all the Starburst flavors C4 sent to my door, I was most excited about the cherry Starburst variety.

I have always been a cherry candy-loving kid, so I always grab the red Starburst from the bag first. So, it's safe to say that my expectations for this one are quite high. Oddly enough, this one fared similarly to some of the other overtly sweet flavors I sampled. Like the others, it had very little discernible flavor. This is unfortunate, because cherry often is one of the most predictable and certain flavors. I anticipated a strong cherry candy presence, but this one is just lacking in specific flavor quality. It's sweet and enjoyable, but it's not an adequate representation of the beloved cherry Starburst.

5. Strawberry Starburst

Strawberry is my next favorite flavor of Starburst — behind cherry, of course. Once all the red Starbursts are gone, the pink Starbursts are the ones I reach for next. So, I hoped that this drink would also fare well. I was happy to know that I was right.

I sampled the strawberry drink before the cherry one. As a result, I didn't necessarily have the cherry option to compare it to. When I took my first sip, I found the strawberry Starburst C4 to be on the sweet side. It wasn't over-the-top sweet, so I still very much enjoyed it, but it definitely was sweeter than I was expecting. I also thought that the strawberry Starburst beverage didn't taste like the fruit candy it claimed to be. Instead, it has a vague berry feel with a strawberry essence — but it isn't explicitly a strawberry Starburst flavor. Although the candy itself doesn't truly taste like the fruit it's supposed to either, this beverage didn't taste like the fruit or the candy. But, the flavor it did have was nice.

4. Orange Starburst

Orange soda was one of my first loves in the world of bubbly beverages. To this day, I can only think of one thing when I see orange sodas: Kel Kimble (star of "Kenan and Kel") and his absolute, unrelenting love for that bubbly orange beverage. Like Kel, I always lean more toward fruity sodas — and that's probably part of the reason I've come to enjoy energy drinks with interesting and fruity flavors so much.

Although I'll always be a berry candy girlie at heart, I found the orange Starburst flavor C4 definitely presents a strong, tasty orange front worthy of note. It's an orange soda with a bit of enhancement. It has less fizz and a juicier feel than most of the orange sodas I've enjoyed over the years. Though all of these flavors are sweetened with sucralose (Splenda), it's not the first flavor I'm getting from this one, which is a nice change. This orange Starburst C4 is definitely on the forefront of my favorites.

3. Lemon Starburst

If you had told me that the lemon Starburst C4 flavor would be among my favorites, I would have assumed that you had me confused with someone else. After all, lemon is my least favorite candy flavor. It's my husband's favorite, though, so I got his help comparing the lemon flavor of this drink with the actual lemon candy. But honestly, I didn't even need his assistance, considering how tasty this flavor was.

He was immediately impressed as I was by this flavor — which is saying something coming from a guy who really doesn't like or drink energy drinks. I thought this C4 flavor tasted like a more robust, lemony Sprite. There is some of that characteristic energy drink flavor, but it is actually covered quite thoroughly with the lemon that comes through. That said, the resemblance to an actual lemon Starburst was pretty minimal. The lemon was there, but it was too small and not hearty enough to push this drink to the top of my ranking. 

2. Fruit Juicy Red Hawaiian Punch

Hawaiian Punch is a relatively new and tasty addition to the line of C4 brand collabs. It captures that same Hawaiian Punch flavor so many of us remember from our younger years, while also elevating it with caffeine and an energy boost.

Though Hawaiian Punch can come in different flavors varieties, this one takes on the Fruit Juicy Red flavor. It's one of the most immediately recognizable flavors of Hawaiian Punch and probably makes the most sense to have as an energy drink. It captures the red, fruity bits while also hanging on to some of the more citrus flavors, like orange. The can itself is also different in that it features a depiction of a surfboard over a wave, which really drives home the whole Hawaiian Punch part. It's not my absolute favorite of the flavors, but it gets close. The fact that it didn't capture the top spot is no fault of its own, as there was just one more I liked even more.

1. Cherry Popsicle

The cherry Popsicle flavor succeeded in all the areas where the cherry Starburst flavor failed to deliver. If you are a cherry candy-loving fan, skip the cherry Starburst option and go right for the cherry Popsicle C4 instead.

This version of the cherry flavor was certainly my favorite of all the C4 cans I sampled. Not to mention, it stacks up quite nicely compared to the other Popsicle choices. The grape offers more syrupy flavoring, but the cherry was a better balance between flavoring and sweetness. It reminds me of a cherry slushie you'd order at a movie theater. I found the flavor to be quite similar to Alani Nu's Cherry Slush, which I have enjoyed in the past. If you like that one, you'll definitely enjoy C4's take. Plus, this cherry Popsicle offering will appeal to those who enjoy that classic cherry flavor, even if it, like so many other cherry-flavored items, tastes nothing like the actual cherry fruit.


I typically enjoy one energy drink a day after putting my son down for his afternoon nap. So, over the course of several days, I tried each of these energy drinks over my favorite crunchy ice and in my dedicated energy drink tumbler — which is insulated to help keep my drink super cold so that I can enjoy it over the course of the day. If I liked the drink enough to make it through the first few sips, I kept it. Otherwise, I tossed it and tried a different flavor.

From there, I ranked each drink on how much I enjoyed the flavor overall. I looked for something sweet, but not sickly sweet, as well as a flavor that I could drink over time. I also took into consideration how closely the flavor aligned with the actual item or candy it was trying to represent. The overall taste and mouthfeel was the primary ranking factor, but I also kept the representation factor in mind.