A few weeks ago, I wrote this post discussing Truvia, a new, stevia-based sweetener that aims to rival Splenda and NutraSweet the “natural” way.
Soon after, I received a comment from Ian Eisenberg, the co-CEO of Zevia, a company that aims to create “nature’s answer to diet soda.” After talking with Ian and another member of the team, Stacey, they were gracious enough to send me a huge package of every flavor of Zevia to review for the blog.
See, I told you they were generous! So thanks to Zevia for the samples.
To start, I would like to give you a brief background of my history with soda (or pop, if you prefer). Growing up, I would drink regular soda constantly. My favorites were Cherry Coke and Dr. Pepper, but you could pretty much give me anything and I would have been happy. I’m very lucky that I was able to drink that much sugar and not gain weight. It wasn’t until high school, when we did an experiment involving our baby teeth and regular soda (to see the effect it had on real teeth), that I made the conscious decision to drink less of it. Eventually, it got to the point where I didn’t crave it anymore, and I was able to stop drinking it completely.
Today, the hype surrounds sodas that are diet or lower in sugar. But these drinks create an entirely different problem because of all the controversy behind Splenda, NutraSweet and aspartame. I still don’t know where I stand on Splenda, but I personally try to stay away from NutraSweet and aspartame at all times. There have just been too many studies (click the link for a recent article) that have proven its harmful to your health.
So when I heard about the new, stevia-based soda option, I jumped at the chance to try something new. The truth is, even though I don’t drink soda anymore, I would like to be able to enjoy it as an occasional treat (especially with ice cream!), but only if I could be sure that when I am drinking one, it’s not detrimental to my health. In my research on Zevia, I found that it boasts zero artificial ingredients, plus no sugar or HFCS. Knowing that, I felt I could sample it with confidence and provide a fair review.
Flavor: Natural Cola
Description: “A classic cola flavor without artificial ingredients is difficult to attain, but perfected in Zevia Natural Cola. Zevia Natural Cola is sweetened without sugar and is lightly, naturally caffeinated from kola nut extract, coffee, and tea. Zevia Natural Cola does not contain phosphoric acid. The rich cola flavor has no aftertaste.”
Review: Wow! I was really surprised by how similar this tasted to Coca-Cola. It also smelled a lot like it, but maybe I’m just the weird girl who smells her soda? 😉 Either way, I really felt like I was drinking regular cola. If anything, it was a little less sweet, but in a good way because regular soda can often taste like you’re drinking a bucket of sugar. It was really smooth and not too fizzy, which is good for my sensitive stomach. Now I can see why big soda companies are planning to use stevia-based sweeteners – there really is little difference in taste, but it’s a whole lot better for you! Good thing Zevia is ahead of the curve!
Flavor: Natural Orange
Description: “Zevia Natural Orange is sweetened without sugar and is caffeine free. Zevia Natural Orange is flavored with orange oil for a refreshing citrus taste. It is richly colored with annatto seed of the achiote tree. Zevia Natural Orange is a favorite among kids who love the flavor, and parents, who can feel good about giving their kids a sugar free “treat”!
Review: I think this one would taste great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Orange dreamsicle, anyone? It was just as smooth as the cola and didn’t bubble in my tummy. If you’ve ever tried Fanta or Orangina, this flavor is very similar.
Flavor: Natural Twist
Description: “Essential oils of lemons and limes give Zevia Natural Twist (lemon-lime) just the right zest. Zevia Natural Twist (lemon-lime) is the most refreshing of Zevia varieties. Zevia Natural Twist (lemon-lime) is naturally sweetened without sugar, and caffeine free.
Review: This flavor was very pleasant and was very comparable to Sprite. The lemon–lime was present throughout each sip and again, went down easy. For someone who doesn’t drink soda very often, it’s very important that the bubbles don’t upset my stomach.
Flavor: Natural Ginger Root Beer
Description: “Zevia Natural Ginger Root Beer has the traditional rich flavor you expect from a root beer, but is enhanced with the unmistakable bite of natural ginger root extrat. Zevia Natural Ginger Root Beer puts its own spin on the taste root beer lovers crave with a sweet aroma and a deep color from natural GMO free caramel color.
Review: I will definitely be making a root beer float with this one. I haven’t had one in so long! This was very similar to the average root beer, but the ginger flavor is what gave it an extra kick. It brought back memories of a time in 6th grade when my class actually made root beer at school – ginger, sarsaparilla, you name it. Oh to be young again 😉 But seriously, it’s nice to be reminded! And again, that root beer float is calling my name!
Obviously, I’m now an official Zevia fan. Thanks again to Ian and Stacey for sending me so many cans!
So where do you look? I emailed Ian and got the scoop…
“It would be great if you could tell your readers that we have an online store locator available at this link. If there is no store around them they can go to our online store where we offer free samples. We do charge for shipping and handling though, and with gas the way it is — it is not cheap. We are rushing to sign up more and more stores. We are over 800 now But we have a long way to go. Fans can help us by printing and taking our GET MY ZEVIA form to their local store. Grocery managers are very responsive to consumer requests.”
If you want more information about stevia, I’ve tracked down some helpful sites below. Have fun, and happy drinking!