Acai (pronounced ah-sah-EE) is a small, deep purple berry with a unique flavor that's earthy, deep and bitter when unsweetened.
When people consume acai, they usually don't eat pure fresh berries or drink pure juice. Instead, the taste that most Americans associate with acai is a delightful blend of fruity sweetness and tartness. Frozen acai purée and fresh-pressed acai juice both have additional sweeteners and ingredients to enhance the enjoyable aspects of the berry's taste.
Acai berries possess a distinct taste that distinguishes them from other berries. Unlike most berries that are sweet when ripe, acai berries have a bitter and earthy flavor with subtle notes of dark chocolate and blackberry. This earthy after-taste is what gives the fruit its chocolate-like flavor. It is possible that the presence of polyphenols, which are antioxidants found in both acai berries and cocoa beans, contributes to this chocolate taste.
Compared to other fruits, acai has a stronger flavor than an apple or banana. It is also slightly more tangy than blueberries and strawberries, but with a touch of sweetness. Some individuals describe the taste of acai as a combination of luscious blackberry or raspberry and a hint of chocolate or robust coffee. It is actually more bitter than sweet or sour, which is why many people add sweeteners or other fruits to balance the flavor.
Some other words people use to portray the taste of acai: rich, grainy, tropical, refreshing, bitter, and slightly metallic. Since it is so difficult to describe, the best way to determine how it tastes it to try it yourself!
Acai may take some getting used to for individuals who are not familiar with it. Since acai berries spoil quickly, they are usually consumed frozen rather than fresh and raw.