Is maqui berry the same thing as acai?
No. While they have similar sounding names and both originate in South America, they are distinctly different plants.
Within the world of superfoods, the acai berry is most well-known. It comes from a type of palm tree; Euterpe oleracea. You will find it growing in the central and northern parts of the continent. Places like Brazil, Columbia, and Peru.
You have to travel much further south to find maqui berries (Aristotelia chilensis).
They grow almost exclusively in Chile, along the southernmost coast of the continent.
Unlike acai, this species is not a palm tree. It’s an evergreen. Many call it a bush since its height is no more than 16 ft (5 meters).
Maqui powder vs. acai
They’re both an intense deep purple color. That’s where the similarities stop.
The primary antioxidants in both acai and maqui berries are anthocyanins. The difference is the type. Maqui contains mostly delphinidin anthocyanins. Acai does not.
Since it’s a less studied plant, there less research on the Chilean berry. Preliminary research does suggest the health benefits of maqui may include potent anti-inflammatory effects, dry eye relief, pain relief, better blood sugar control, weight loss, and given its rich antioxidant activity, various anti-aging effects.
Since acai fruit naturally contains almost no sugar, it’s not a tasty powder on its own. With maqui, there is a subtle sweetness which tastes good even with water. It’s also finer particles than acai, which makes mixing easier.
The sugar content of maqui is minimal, at 1 to 2g per teaspoon serving.
In short, both are healthy foods you should be supplementing with. Just because you use one, it doesn’t mean you should ignore the other. They’re different!
Which maqui berry supplement is best?
Many bloggers write reviews about foods and products they don’t even use themselves.
It’s quite the opposite for us.
How much of this stuff do we eat?
In addition to the best acai powder, we eat maqui everyday. Here’s a screenshot of our recent Amazon order history to give you an idea…
While we have our go-to brand, for the purpose of reviewing their most recent batches, we even re-ordered some of the top sellers.
The most popular brands of maqui berry powder include Terrasoul Superfoods, Feel Good Organics, Navitas Organics, Kiva, Sunfood Superfoods, and Bareorganics.
The best place to buy them is primarily online. Physical stores like Whole Foods and Sprouts may only carry one or two brands, if they carry it at all.
But which brand is best? After supplementing with this powder daily for years, we’ve whittled our recommendations down to the top 3.
1. Feel Good Organics maqui
This brand has been a staple on Amazon for several years now. What we like about their freeze-dried fruit extracts, goji berries, and other superfoods is that yes, we actually can tell a difference in their taste, texture, and color.
In other words, they’re not just slapping their label on some random bulk order they procured.
It may seem like splitting hairs, but when it comes to the darkness of this berry powder, Feel Good looks the darkest to us. That’s a good sign, as it means it’s very rich in anthocyanins.
This may be because unlike the brands Kiva and Terrasoul, Feel Good Organics uses a foil-lined paper bag. This makes the inside completely opaque, blocking light which causes nutrient degradation.
They sell it in a 4 ounce bag. At the time of this review the price was $13.99 but of course that is subject to change. Go here to check the current price on Amazon.
When it comes to freeze-dried powdered fruits, they’re best known for acai. Navitas, along with Sambazon, were the first two major importers and sellers of that fruit. As such, they have a lot of experience with fruit and berry extracts.
The drawback of the organic maqui powder from Navitas it that it’s sold in a smaller bag of 3 oz. Historically, the price of that 25% smaller bag has been about the same as competitors’ 4 oz bags.
In other words, it’s more expensive per ounce.
The good news is that the powder is consistent in taste, texture, and color. They even publish the amount of anthocyanins per 2 tsp serving as being 114 mg. Like Feel Good Organics, they import from Chile.
On Amazon you can check the current price here.
3. Kiva maqui berry powder
We’ve only seen this brand on Amazon, where it’s been a popular choice for a number of years now. Their freeze-dried maqui actually tastes better than Feel Good and Navitas. So why are we ranking them as number 3 in our review?
Because their customer service sucks. Big time.
We have contacted them twice within the past year and they have not responded whatsoever. This was done through their website’s contact form (not an email) so it’s not like they can claim the spam filter excuse.
Prior to those tries, we contacted them a couple years ago. They never answered.
As a result, we have a hard time recommending a company who won’t even communicate with a customer that has probably several hundred dollars (at least) on their foods.
The other drawback is that their bag is not opaque. In fact, it even has a clear window on it so you can see the fruit powder.
That means the delphinidin anthocyanins are getting degraded from light exposure.
To finish our review of Kiva maqui on a positive note; their powder is finer than other brands, which means it blends beautifully. We use just a spoon, water, and protein powder.
How to store
You don’t have to refrigerate maqui powder, but putting it in the fridge after opening is best. This is because once the airtight seal of the bag is broken, oxygen will start degrading the antioxidants. Cooler temperatures will slow that process.