Recess: This Relaxation Drink Kept Me Focused All Day

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Remember New Year’s Eve of 2020 -- when your Instagram feed was full of posts excitedly anticipating “2020 vision” this year? For me, the past few months have teetered closer to a meandering blur than perfect sight. Today’s world is anything but certain, and I’ve noticed a toll on my mindset and motivation. My go-to mood boosters like running and yoga have kept me sane, but lately I’ve been looking for that extra oomph to get me back to feeling like myself.

After spending a lot of time listening to wellness podcasts, my interest in trying plant-based tools for health and healing has been piqued. The wellness community has been pushing for a more holistic approach to healing -- traditional plants and herbs often used in the Eastern world have migrated West, and I’ve enjoyed giving them a go. With that said, I recently read about Recess, a hemp-infused relaxation drink with awesome reviews from Forbes, Bon Appétit, and The New York Times, so I grabbed a few cans from my local health-food store to see what the buzz was all about.


The Millennial Dream, Canned

Simply put, Recess is the millennial dream in a can: their branding is immaculate, and they’ve zeroed in on some of the buzziest food and drink trends right now (like CBD, whose sales increased by 700% last year, and adaptogenic plants, whose functionality “adapt” to help the body feel more balanced). Each ingredient inside of Recess’ satisfyingly minimal recipe plays a unique role in positioning Recess as an “antidote to modern times”:

  • Hemp -- interacts with neurons in the endocannabinoid system to calm the body. Recess contains less than 0.3% THC and produces no psychoactive effects.
  • American ginseng -- improves thinking and cognition and has been used to treat medical conditions for ages.
  • L-theanine -- stimulates relaxation without causing drowsiness.
  • Lemon balm -- boosts mood and balances stress.

Flavor Offerings for All

Before trying Recess, I wasn't sure what to expect, taste-wise. Each can contains a flavored-tea infusion, plus a unique mix of dried fruit, fruit juices, zests, and flavorings. While not every flavor contains sugar, some do have a dash of cane sugar -- I was relieved not to taste artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes like stevia, whose aftertaste lingers.

Seltzer and flavored water fans will appreciate Recess’ refreshing and unique flavors, and while soda and juice drinkers may need a few cans to ease into the Recess experience, I think they’ll grow to appreciate its more natural, balanced taste over syrupy and artificially sweet alternatives. Some cans tasted more flavor-forward than others -- of the four I tried (black cherry, blood orange, peach ginger, and pomegranate hibiscus), I like pomegranate hibiscus the best: its flavor was the most pungent, and it tasted like a tropical, fruity sparkling tea. I’m excited to hunt down their other two flavors (blackberry chai and coconut lime) in the future -- blackberry chai especially seems to be an Instagram fan-favorite.


Calm, Cool, and Collected

A few sips in, I discovered Recess is like a mini, canned cheerleader for your brain.

A few sips in, I discovered Recess is like a mini, canned cheerleader for your brain. I still felt like myself while drinking it, just a sharper version. It was almost like Recess flipped my brain’s switch into high-performance mode -- on an average morning, it elevated my mindset and productivity so that I felt a sustained sense of “on” throughout the day. When I drink Recess, I get the tingly, alert sensation I love about coffee, but leave the heart palpitations and panic behind -- the brand describes this feeling as “not tired, not wired,” and it’s spot-on. If coffee is the unpredictable broody teen, Recess is its mindful guru older sister.


Recess isn’t cheap, but it’s high quality. Single cans cost $4.99 in stores, one-time 8-pack purchases cost $39.99 online, and 12-packs cost $49.99 with a subscription that delivers cases to your door every two, four, or eight weeks. At these prices, rest assured you get what you pay for with Recess’ taste and performance.

My single can of Recess kept me focused for an entire day, so if you’re the type who opts for both a morning brew and afternoon pick-me-up at Starbucks, you may end up saving some money in the long run. If you’re looking to add some jazz to your morning or afternoon routine, I recommend giving Recess a try. Start with a single can or sampler pack -- in times crazier than ever, you deserve a little dose of cool, calm, and collected delivered 12 ounces at a time.

Try Recess for yourself here.

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