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Reviews > Food > Energy Bars and Drinks > Artisana Nut Butter > Test Report by Brett Haydin

Artisana Nut Butter
Test Series by Brett Haydin
Initial Report - April 4, 2013
Long Term Report - August 20, 2013


TESTER INFORMATIONAuthor

NAME: Brett Haydin
EMAIL: bhaydin AT hotmail DOT com
AGE: 40
LOCATION: Denver, Colorado, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 11" (1.80 m)
WEIGHT: 200 lb (90.70 kg)
CHEST: 42 in (107 cm)
WAIST: 36 in (91 cm)

I started backpacking in Wisconsin as a youth, being involved in the Boy Scouts programs. As a young adult, I worked at a summer camp leading backpacking, canoeing and mountain biking trips. I now generally take short weekend or day trips in rough, mountainous terrain, although I have extensive experience in the upper Midwest as well. I take one or two longer trips each year, where I typically carry about 40 lb (18 kg). I prefer to be prepared and comfortable, but I have taken lightweight trips as well.



sample case
Image courtesy of manufacturer

Initial Report

Product Information & Specifications

Manufacturer: Premier Organics, LLC
Year of Manufacture:  2013
Manufacturer's Website:  www.artisanafoods.com
MSRP: N/A
Listed Weight: 0.5 oz (14 g)
Measured Packed Size: 2 in x 4.8 in (5.1 cm x 12.2 cm)
Flavors available: Marine Phytoplankton, Goji & Milk Thistle, Berry Antioxidant, Acai Berry, and Blue Algae





Name Calories Average Measured Weight Total Fat Cholesterol Sodium Total Carbs Protein
Marine Phytoplankton 75 0.6 oz (17 g) 6 g 0 mg 35 mg 4 g 3 g
Goji & Milk Thistle 58 0.65 oz (18.4 g) 4 g 0 mg 1 mg 5 g 2 g
Berry Antioxidant 69 0.65 oz (18.4 g) 5 g 0 mg 1 mg 5 g 2 g
Acai Berry 106 0.75 oz (21.3 g) 5 g 0 mg 19 mg 14 g 2 g
Blue Algae 70 0.55 oz (15.6 g) 5 g 0 mg 4 mg 4 g 3 g

The Artisana SuperFood Nut Butter packets are individual packets of nut butters (raw organic cashew butter and raw organic almond oil) mixed with several variations of raw, organic ingredients that is different for each of the five flavors offered.  The packets are small enough to pack easily and have a convenient slit in the package so tearing it open should be a breeze.  The product is 100% organic and is certified Kosher (all products).  According to the manufacturer, each is loaded with fresh ingredients that can boost energy and is nutrient rich.

Over the past year, I have changed my diet to eliminate as many artificial colors and flavors as possible. As such, this particular product really appeals to me because of its natural ingredients.  I am not so obsessed with nutrition that I count calories or compare the amount of vitamins in every product I use, but I think I have a good palate for food and my friends do call me a "Foodie."  

Initial Impressions

I received only 2 packets of each flavor which is just enough to supply my backpacking trips.  As such, I did not open any packets to taste or try out.  I have used other individual packets of peanut butter and other nut butters, so I am familiar with how they should be used.  As I put together the chart above for this report, I was a little surprised at such variations in the caloric values as well as sodium.  Ideally I like to take along snacks with high calorie loads as well as sodium to replenish my body as I hike.  Some of the flavors are richer in these than the others, but I am interested to see if I will notice.  
packets
The assortment of flavors.  

Reading the Instructions

The manufacturer's website is rich with information about the different flavors, their philosophy and how the product is made.  There are even recipes available!  Unfortunately none of the recipes incorporate these particular flavors, but it is a great place to start.  I had originally thought I would use these as a spread only, but I think I may save some to develop a delicious sauce or two!

To use the packets, all I need to do is knead it until it is soft and then tear open the top.  The manufacture includes pictures on the packaging in case I get confused.


Long Term Report

Field Conditions

Over the testing period, I brought the Artisana SuperFood Nut Butter packets along on four backpacking trips before running out.  I consumed the packets primarily as a snack along the trail on bagels and crackers, but on two occasions I paired them with one of my favorite jams to see how that would taste.  After all, I am a sucker for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, so I thought this would be great.
My first trip was an overnight to Lake Como, Colorado to hike Little Bear Peak.  My friend and I hiked 3 mi (5 km) in to the lake before settling in for the night near the lake at 11,750 ft (3,580 m).  Overnight temperatures dipped to about 25 F (-4 C), but the day heated up nicely to about 55 F (13 C), especially by the time we hiked back down to my car!  Little Bear Peak tops out at 14,035 ft (4,278 m) and is one of the most challenging "fourteeners" Colorado has.  We traveled jeep roads, snow, rock and ice to get to the top but most importantly we made it safe and sound!

My second trip was a return (overnight) trip to Castle Peak near Aspen, Colorado to hike an adjacent peak.  Because of the time of year, we had to hike a bit farther because of the snow but much of the "trail" was a road.  We camped near 11,000 ft, (3,350 m) off to the side of the road in a nice clearing.  Overnight temperatures were about 40 F (4 C) while daytime temperatures topped out at 50 F (10 C).  We missed the summit of Conundrum, but the trail conditions were a mix of snow, ice, crushed rock and some boulder fields.  We encountered usual spring weather conditions of sleet, rain and sunshine.
My next backpacking trip was a 15 mi (24 km) hike along the Colorado Trail to complete section three.  I hiked about 5 mi (8 km) in to set up camp and then completed the section the next day.  Temperatures were nice with highs near 80 F and lows near 60 F (27 and 16 C respectively).   Our elevation was between 7,850 and 8,100 ft (2,390 and 2,470 m) along easy subalpine terrain, which means rocky!  

My final backpacking trip was to the Maroon Bells Wilderness near Aspen, Colorado for an overnight. I had intended to climb Pyramid Peak, but was rained out and ended up hiking along the trails and exploring the terrain leading to the more technical approaches.  Despite the rain, it was about 70 F (21 C) during the day down to 45 F (7 C) at night.  Most of the hiking was along solid, rocky trails, although there was a mix of more rock than dirt in quite a few spots.  

Observations

On Bagel
Blue Algae on bagel for a snack along the trail.
The most striking feature about the different flavors is how vibrant the colors are.  I was surprised at how much the color of the butter spreads mirrored the packaging.  While upon reflection, spreading a blue-green nut butter over a bagel (pictured at right) was an odd experience.  Don't get me wrong, I love food and the healthier the better.  A certain amount of color is great and adds to the excitement of the meal, but in this case, the color was a little off-putting for me; mostly the phytoplankton and the blue algae.  The other colors I found fascinating and fun to eat.  
As for the flavors, the Goji & Milk Thistle was my favorite.  I took this along my trip to the Colorado trail and my first impression was that it was curiously bitter, but in a good way.  I had brought along some jelly so later I made a Goji/Milk Thistle and Jelly bagel which was quite satisfying.  The two berry flavors were sweet enough to spread on hearty crackers and frankly I wish I would have saved it for a late night snack with wine.  The algae and phytoplankton both tasted a little bland to me.  There was a hint of the cashews in the background, but not enough to overcome the earthy flavors of the namesakes.  Overall, I found 3 out of 5 good enough that I would consider buying. I should point out that none of the flavors were awful.
I say consider buying because while I enjoyed the flavors, I really didn't feel like they gave me a big boost in energy.  My favorite flavor had only 58 calories, which is much lower than other snacks I bring along on strenuous hikes, where I burn close to hundreds of calories per hour.  I would gladly purchase a box of the Acai Berry, which comes in at over 100 calories per packet.  On top of a bagel that provided a nice boost up on Little Bear Peak.
The consistency of the nut butters left a little to be desired.  On my first trip, I was in a little cooler weather when consuming the packets, so I really had to knead the butter in order to spread it.  However, on subsequent trips, the butter was at times runny, which made it really difficult to use.  While I was kneading them along the Colorado trail, I never felt a stiff resistance, but rather the butter was already soft in the packet.  At the Maroon Bells, where I consumed one of the Blue Algae packets, this had the odd effect of having an oily layer spill out first.  No doubt this contributed to an "ick" reaction.  

Summary

Overall, I felt somewhat let down by the Artisana Nut Butter spreads.  The combination of flavors, textures and caloric benefit just doesn't live up to what I really look for out on the trail.  While I did enjoy some flavors, to be honest I am unlikely to purchase any packets for my future backpacking trips.  

Pros: Organic, healthy and easy to pack along for trips.  I enjoyed more flavors than not.

Cons: Low weight-to-calorie benefit, flavors somewhat odd, and the consistency was runny at times.  

This concludes my report for the Artisana SuperFood Nut Butter packets.  I would like to thank Premier Organics, LLC as well as the folks at BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to be a part of this test series.


Read more reviews of Premier Organics LLC gear
Read more gear reviews by Brett Haydin

Reviews > Food > Energy Bars and Drinks > Artisana Nut Butter > Test Report by Brett Haydin



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