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Juicing's Next Frontier: Charcoal, Eastern Influences, Chlorophyll, and More

How juice bars stay afloat in a newly competitive world.

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Drinks by Owen + Alchemy.
Drinks by Owen + Alchemy.
Kelsey Kreiling

Getting into the juice game can be a risky endeavor: the input costs  literally hundreds of pounds of produce are a moving target, and sophisticated cold press equipment is anything but cheap. Juice bars seem to make their margins by charging $10 a bottle, but competition is on the rise and lower cost juice options are entering the scene, like the $4.99 picks at Trader Joe’s. In response, juice programs are getting more innovative, pushing beyond the ubiquitous celery-cuke-lemon-greens concoction.

Asked if there are pulpy skirmishes among juicers to innovate, Karliin Brooks, founder of New York juice company The Squeeze said purveyors are battling toxins in our environment, not one another: "It’s not a juice war, but a war against what we’re getting bombarded with." Below, the next frontier of juicing.

1) Charcoal

Where: New York's Heartbeet JuiceryJuice GenerationHu Kitchen
Before it became a health trend, activated charcoal was (and still is) used in emergency rooms to treat certain types of poisoning. It has now been requisitioned by the health world, claiming that the charcoal yanks toxins out of the digestive tract.

2) Green is the New Green

Where: Los Angeles' KreationSustain JuiceryJuice Served Here
You can still find a "traditional" green juices, but makers are pushing the envelope on what you can put in your concoctions, particularly in the City of Angels. Local chainlet Kreation adds in liquid chlorophyll, while Sustain Juicery has dandelion. And at Juice Served here it’s sundried tomatoes and jalapeño. At which point we’re like, may we interest you in a salad?

3) Eastern Influence

Where: Chicago's Owen + Alchemy and New York's The Squeeze
If you’re all juiced up but not yet centered, a Chinese herb blend may be the ticket. Owen + Alchemy offers five different herbs and herb blends which address things like immunity, energy and digestion, plus add ins (think holy basil and reishi mushroom). And at The Squeeze, management is opening a new permanent outpost at Chelsea Market that will feature tinctures created by herbalists related to each of the five elements in the Chinese elements wheel, as well as an option to pick a blend based on your astrological sign.

4) Macerating

Where: North Carolina's Medea’s Espresso & Juice Bar
Owner Dan Galligan engineered a machine that creates pulp (from which the juice is extracted) at a much lower speed than other juicers: about 190 RPM versus 1000 RPM. He and his wife Medea, a nutritionist, say that their process keeps produce temperature lower, thus less oxidation occurs and more nutrition remains. Their all-organic juices are then cold-pressed, as has become the gold standard. A side benefit is that the juices tend to be brighter and separate less, they say.

HeartBeet Juicery

85 Stanton St, New York, NY 10002 (718) 388-2208 Visit Website

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