Zevia Stevia Sweetened Zero Calorie Soda Review

I’m addicted to Diet Coke. I don’t drink gallons a day or anything like that (spoken like a true addict…), but I do drink a 20 oz. bottle almost every day with my lunch. That probably doesn’t sound like a lot, but I can tell when I’ve been drinking it too many days in a row because my joints will start aching from the Aspartame sweetener. My partner Jeanne has the same issue with Aspartame and Splenda as well. We are also big tea drinkers in our house; a few years ago we switched from using Splenda to Stevia. Unlike Aspartame, Splenda, Sweetnlow and similar sweeteners, Stevia is natural. A plant native to South America, the extract from the Stevia leaf is 300 times sweeter than sugar, but has 0 calories and does not effect blood sugar. This natural sweetener has been used in Japan for decades, but is just now catching on here in the US. You’ve probably seen commercials for Truvia and may have also seen Stevia Raw for sale in your grocery store. While the liquid and power forms of Stevia can be found pretty easily, we haven’t seen many pre-packaged food products sweetened with this sweetener… till now. I have been taste testing Zevia, an all natural Stevia sweetened soft drink for a couple weeks now. Can Zevia help me kick my Diet Coke problem for good? Let’s see.

Zevia is available in 12 flavors and is packaged in 12 oz. aluminum cans. 9 of the flavors are caffeine free, but for those of you like that like your caffeine, three of the flavors (Zevia Cola, Dr. Zevia and Mountain Zevia) contain caffeine naturally derived from coffee. Here’s a break down of the amount (mg) of caffeine in each of these flavors.

Cola – 45mg / 12oz can
Dr. Zevia – 42mg / 12oz can
Mountain Zevia – 55mg / 12oz can

Jeanne and I have been taste testing these drinks for the past 12 days. One flavor each day. Our comments on these flavors are going to be pretty subjective because everyone has flavors that they like and dislike. Just because we really enjoy one flavor, but turn up our noses at another, doesn’t mean that everyone else will have the same opinion. That said, here are our results:

Grapefruit Citrus – This is the first flavor that we tried. It’s an awesome flavor and very refreshing! Reminded me a little bit of Sierra Mist or Sprite, only a lot better. I didn’t expect to like this as I don’t drink grapefruit juice or even like to eat grapefruit. But it’s one of my favorite Zevia flavors. Big thumbs up from Jeanne too.
Ingredients: CARBONATED WATER, ERYTHRITOL, CITRIC ACID, REB A (STEVIA EXTRACT), GRAPEFRUIT OIL, MEDIUM CHAIN TRIGLYCERIDES, ORANGE OIL, LEMON OIL, LIME OIL

Grape – Great flavor! We both enjoyed it. We would definitely drink it again.
Ingredients: CARBONATED WATER, ERYTHRITOL, CITRIC ACID, REB A (STEVIA EXTRACT), NATURAL FLAVORS, WHITE GRAPE JUICE CONCENTRATE

Caffeine Free Cola – This one tasted flat with a sort of fruity background flavor. Neither of us liked it and we wouldn’t drink it again.
Ingredients: CARBONATED WATER, ERYTHRITOL, CARAMEL COLOR, TARTARIC ACID, REB A (STEVIA EXTRACT), FUMARIC ACID, LIME OIL, LEMON OIL, NATURAL FLAVORS, CASSIA OIL, NUTMEG OIL

Cola – Not a lot different than Zevia’s caffeine free Cola. Bummer. Neither of us liked it and we wouldn’t drink it again. It’s flat and doesn’t have enough bite. I was really hoping this particular flavor would be a Diet Coke kill for me, but no luck.
Ingredients: CARBONATED WATER, ERYTHRITOL, CARAMEL COLOR, TARTARIC ACID, REB A (STEVIA EXTRACT), FUMARIC ACID, CAFFEINE, NATURAL FLAVORS, NUTMEG OIL

Cream Soda – This one tastes less sweet than most cream sodas I’ve tried before. I liked it and would drink it again, but Jeanne didn’t particularly like it.
Ingredients: CARBONATED WATER, ERYTHRITOL, NATURAL FLAVORS, REB A (STEVIA EXTRACT), CITRIC ACID, CARAMEL COLOR

Black Cherry – Tastes like Cherry 7up. Both of us liked it and would definitely drink it again.
Ingredients: CARBONATED WATER, ERYTHRITOL, CITRIC ACID, REB A (STEVIA EXTRACT), NATURAL FLAVORS, CHERRY ESSENCE, CASSIA OIL, CLOVE LEAF OIL

Orange – This is the first one that we both grimaced after the first swallow. It has a strange, almost chemical after taste that neither of us liked. It’s another won’t drink again flavor.
Ingredients: CARBONATED WATER, ERYTHRITOL, NATURAL FLAVORS, CITRIC ACID, REB A (STEVIA EXTRACT).

Ginger Ale – Jeanne liked it better than I did. She said she’d drink it again. It wouldn’t be a flavor I’d choose. But then I’ve never been a big fan of any brand of Ginger Ale.
Ingredients: CARBONATED WATER, ERYTHRITOL, CITRIC ACID, REB A (STEVIA EXTRACT), CARAMEL COLOR, LEMON OIL, LIME OIL, GINGER EXTRACT, NATURAL FLAVORS

Mountain Zevia – Neither of us cared for this flavor. It’s down there with Orange for both of us. Neither of us are fans of Mountain Dew though… It has a slight after taste that isn’t enjoyable.
Ingredients: CARBONATED WATER, ERYTHRITOL, NATURAL FLAVORS, CITRIC ACID, REB A (STEVIA EXTRACT), CAFFEINE, BETA CAROTENE

Lemon Lime Mist – Yay, another winner. This one is a great alternative to Sprite. We both loved it and would drink it again.
Ingredients: CARBONATED WATER, ERYTHRITOL, NATURAL FLAVORS, CITRIC ACID, REB A (STEVIA EXTRACT)

Dr. Zevia – Not overly sweet like real Dr. Pepper. Good flavor, but I wish it had just a little more bite to it. Even so, we would drink this flavor again.
Ingredients: CARBONATED WATER, ERYTHRITOL, CARAMEL COLOR, TARTARIC ACID, REB A (STEVIA EXTRACT), FUMARIC ACID, CAFFEINE, NATURAL FLAVORS, NUTMEG OIL

Rootbeer – Another winning flavor. It’s not creamy like diet A&W (one of my faves). But it’s a good alternative since it doesn’t contain Aspartame. We both give it thumbs up.
Ingredients: CARBONATED WATER, ERYTHRITOL, CARAMEL COLOR, REB A (STEVIA EXTRACT), CITRIC ACID, NATURAL FLAVORS, WINTERGREEN OIL, ANISE OIL, LEMON OIL, ORANGE OIL, GINGER EXTRACT

If you paid attention to the ingredient lists, you might wonder what Erythritol is as it doesn’t sound very natural. Here’s the info from Zevia’s site.

Erythritol is one of those ingredients that we love but shouldn’t judge by its overly scientific sounding name. Erythritol is a natural component of fruits and vegetables. It is called a sugar alcohol, even though it is neither sugar nor alcohol. It is removed from fruits and vegetables through a natural fermentation process, much like that of yogurt. It has absolutely no calories and no effect on blood sugar. Super safe? You betcha! In fact, unlike its sugar alcohol cousins, Xylitol and Sorbitol, Erythritol is not known to cause digestive issues.

So in the end we both loved 6 of the flavors, liked 2-3 of the others and really disliked 4 of them. Does that mean that Diet Coke is history for The Gadgeteer household? I wish I could say yes, but I’m afraid not. It’s not due to flavor. I know I could happily ditch Diet Coke in exchange for the 6 Zevia flavors I really like. The reason why I won’t be switching comes down to price. Zevia is just too damned expensive.

A 24pk of any Zevia flavor is going to set you back a whopping $23-$28!  I found that pricing online through Amazon as Zevia is tough to find locally where I live. I was able to find 3 flavors at my local Kroger which you see in the image above. They were selling it for $4.99 for a 6pk. Ouch. Compare that to Diet Coke which is on sale this week at Target for $2.99 for a 12pk. So you can buy 2 12pks for $6. That’s considerably cheaper than $28. I don’t understand why Zevia is so expensive. Unfortunately I don’t have a bank account like Oprah, so my quest to find a healthier alternative to Diet Coke continues. It’s a shame because I really like Zevia.

 

Product Information

Price:
Manufacturer:Zevia
Retailer:Amazon
Pros:
  • Sweetened with Stevia, a natural sweetener
  • 12 different flavors
Cons:
  • Cola flavors seem flat and too fruity
  • More expensive than popular soft drink brands
  • Difficult to find locally
Posted in: Home, Kitchen, Reviews

24 comments… add one

  • Valcon January 26, 2012, 1:24 am

    Here in the Netherlands, the “original” Coca Cola Light has a price tag of around EUR 0.75 ($ 0,93) for a can of 330 ml (which I suspect is about 12 oz.), so even the normal diet Coke is quite expensive. My wife really likes this stuff, but the aspartame has negative effects on her health, like headaches and digestive problems. So she switched back to normal sugar flavoured coke.
    When you only drink one or two glasses per day, and otherwise have a normal diet and some exercise, you’re better off with sugar than with aspartame. Let’s not forget that aspartame was originally developed as an antiulcer drug…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspartame#Discovery_and_approval

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  • Julie January 26, 2012, 7:22 am

    @Valcon I switched to diet drinks back in 2004 when I found out I was diabetic. I don’t use drugs to manage it, only diet. So it’s important to me to cut out as much refined sugar as possible. I’m currently investigating another alternative to soft drinks. I’ve ordered some flavored Stevia drops. Steviasmart offers a nice variety of flavors. I’m going to experiment with adding the drops to club soda or seltzer water. :)

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  • Eric January 27, 2012, 9:49 am

    Type in “erythritol” into Wikipedia for a suprisingly accurate detailed description.

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  • Julie January 27, 2012, 11:48 am

    @Eric You’re right… Not sure how it compares to Aspartame or Splenda as far as how bad it might be for us. But Erythritol appears to be something I will want to avoid.

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  • Eric January 27, 2012, 12:02 pm

    Erythritol is a low intensity sweetener with a sweetness on par with regular table sugar. Aspartame and splenda are high intensity sweeteners. Erythritol is a natural sweetener that does not affect your blood sugar. So it is safe for diabetics, my mom uses it in place of sugar. Even though it is made by a fermentation process on an industrial scale for sales, it is still a naturally occuring sweetener that you have been consuming all you life in small quantities. Aspertame and splenda are created compounds. Truvia, that you had mentioned is a mix of erythritol and stevia and is sold in tabletop packets for use in drinks or whatever. Regardless of which sweetener you use hopefully you can find something to help you avoid aspertame. :)

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  • Julie January 27, 2012, 12:08 pm

    @Eric I know aspertame is bad but I drink Diet Cokes anyway because I love the bite… and they are easily purchased in vending machines here at work. I’m still hoping to find a better alternative with Stevia. I’m going to experiment this weekend with flavored Stevia drops and carbonated water.

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  • Pam T. January 27, 2012, 12:08 pm

    I’m a diet Coke addict too, Julie. For the same reasons – diabetes. I switched to the Sodastream, bought a box of diet Coke syrup from the local Sam’s Club and have been making my own instead of buying it.

    Maybe using the Sodastream is helping me kick the habit – I’ve cut back drastically, probably because I don’t have a fridge full of cans. I drink 2 16oz bottles now, with an occasional additional can if it’s a bad day. That compares to (easily) 6-8 cans a day before.

    But I feel your pain…I’m not ready to walk away from my Diet Coke completely.

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  • Julie January 27, 2012, 12:15 pm

    @Pam T. I reviewed the Sodastream but didn’t stick with it. The convenience of buying 24oz bottles of Diet Coke (I avoid canned soda due to BPA concerns) when it’s on sale is easier than dorking around with the carbonation canisters, syrup, etc. I guess I’m just a lazy person when it comes right down to it :)

    I had to chuckle at your “I’m not ready to walk away from my Diet Coke completely.” comment. I think we both need an intervention ;)

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  • Eric January 27, 2012, 12:53 pm

    @Julie good luck with the stevia drops, let us know how they are if you could. I prefer diet Pepsi myself due to the bite that you described. Due to personal reasons I’ve not had a regular sitar pop for about 12 years now.

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  • Julie January 27, 2012, 1:13 pm

    Sitar? Sugar? Me neither since 2004. It’s funny, I was a regular Coke drinker before finding out that I was a diabetic. I used to loathe diet drinks. I thought Diet Coke tasted horrible. Now I love it. Go figure…

    Sure, I will post the results of my home made Stevia soft drink experiment in a few days.

    Anyone interested in hearing about a yummy alternative to hot chocolate that I stumbled upon?

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  • Eric January 27, 2012, 1:36 pm

    Oops! Yes I did mean sugar. You bet to the hot chocolate alternative.

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  • Julie January 27, 2012, 1:44 pm

    If you enjoy hot chocolate and want an almost calorie free alternative, you need to try Yogi Mayan Cocoa Spice tea. I bought some from iHerb: http://www.iherb.com/Yogi-Tea-Mayan-Cocoa-Spice-16-Tea-Bags-1-27-oz-36-g/5505?at=0
    I bought it on a whim and love love love it. I didn’t know there was such a think as chocolate tea… But it tastes great. I added a splash of goat’s milk and some stevia syrup to sweeten it. It’s really good. I can’t wait to get home this afternoon to fix another cup :)

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  • Erin January 28, 2012, 4:56 pm

    I work SweetLeaf stevia, so I can get the products easlily, and I enjoy using about 8 drops of SweetLeaf root beer flavored liquid stevia in carbonated water. I think it tastes similar to root beer but without calories, carbs, and glycemic index.

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  • SiaKahleah May 12, 2012, 12:57 pm

    My entire family is diabetics, excluding me. I am now, well out of school, but 1. In school we learned about supply and demand. Originally Coke was in demand and therefore it is cheaper. Once things like Zevia becomes more and more popular the price WILL go down. 2. I am highly against aspartame because of personal reasons. My mother drank it daily too and now suffers from nerve damage, some brain damage, headaches, etc, all of which can be traced back to Aspartame. 3. Long time use of Aspartame (besides those of physical ailments) can cause person to gain more weight and therefore will not be able to stabilize his/her diabetes.

    I know it is easier said than done because I have been extremely overweight, been addicted to sodas, and watched others around me fall apart with other issues, but I would implore people to stay away from Aspartame, Sucralose, and other artificial sweeteners.

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  • Ann Crossland August 4, 2012, 12:37 pm

    I was a Diet Coke fiend too & I found that mixing the Black Cherry & Cola to create a “cherry cola” satisfies me enough to use the cola. I have also found new Zevia flavors at the natural food store, Lime Cola ( I liked squeezing a lime in my Diet Coke sometimes) and Cherry Cola – yep they’re canning their own version of my homemade concoction now. I like them both, although their cans of Cherry Cola taste sweeter than my home mix. Zevia IS pricey, but I find it on sale occasionally & if you sign up for Zevia’s e-newsletter or “like” them on facebook, they send out coupons now & then for $2 off. I pay the extra money for Zevia because I figure I’m worth it – not poisoning myself with artificial sweeteners. A cheaper alternative, & one I used before Zevia: I bought seltzer water or club soda & made my own soda with Sweet Leaf Stevia flavored concentrates available online or at natural food stores. They don’t make cola flavor however! :-( Why? Makes me wonder if they’re getting paid off.

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  • Julie August 4, 2012, 9:45 pm

    @Ann I would “kill” for cola flavored NuNatural or Sweet Leaf Drops. I wonder if they are natural ingredients that could mimic cola flavor.

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  • Win August 30, 2012, 4:08 pm

    If you are looking for an all natural soda that actually tastes delicious, you’re in luck. I recently came across the Krisda brand on Dragon’s Den and discovered their wonderful line of sodas.

    Krisda Soda has 4 flavours, Cola, Blood Orange, Black Cherry and Root Beer.
    I haven’t had the chance to try that root beer yet, but my personal favorite is the blood orange.

    Krisda soda is sweetened with stevia and erythritol. Krisda is one of the rare stevia brands that I’ve tried without the very bitter lasting after-taste. This drink has zero calories, no artificial sweeteners, no sugar and vitamins!

    For those who are not regular stevia users, stevia is a leaf extract that is naturally sweet and much healthier than artificial chemicals like aspartame and sucralose.

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  • Andreaa September 20, 2012, 2:39 pm

    I love this soda because it won’t kill you like the other drinks that have sugar and the diet ones don’t have healthy ingredients. I like the taste but I always here from people and they use that accuse that they don’t like the taste. It does not leave an after taste. I think people in general use that accuse because they don’t want to change. I can also use it as a mixer in a drink and know that I am not getting any calories or bad stuff. That’s just my opinion and I just wanted you to know I love the product. Also, I never drank very much soda now or growing up. These days I usually have one maybe every few days. I have been using Stevia in my coffee and tea for many years.

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  • jen November 17, 2012, 1:35 pm

    Hi great ideas! I tried 1/4 cup water to my glass then added my soda (sprite) then I graduated to half a glass of water then soda and now regular pop is way to sweet. I drink sierra mist (use real sugar) so the zevia is a great idea, I will try it
    thanks
    jen

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  • Jereme August 14, 2013, 11:36 am

    I drank this stuff yesterday and i haven’t been right since, literally had my stomach turning and i wanted to throw up. Will not do it again.

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  • Laurie August 28, 2013, 12:41 pm

    Thank you all soooo much for your opinions on this product. I am going to try it!! Trying to be healthy isn’t always fun, but getting older and needing to focus a but more on ingesting healthier things.

    Anyone got good news on the Stevia flavored drops?

    Thanks again!!

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  • Julie Strietelmeier August 28, 2013, 12:46 pm

    @Laurie I use flavored drops almost everyday. I use a combination of NuNaturals flavored stevia drops, and Capella flavored drops that don’t have any sweetner at all. I make my own soda pop all the time with those drops and seltzer water.

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  • Eugene February 7, 2014, 1:22 am

    Wish you could get Zevia in New Zealand. Coke is like poison as are those energy drinks like Red Bull etc. I drank a lot of both and it was a big part of me getting severe Adrenal Fatigue.

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  • Jill Swenson February 20, 2014, 4:31 pm

    The Dr. Z was the worst tasting soft drink I have ever had I would never buy it again. The cream soda was ok but had an after taste. I don’t believe I will purchase it again. Too exspensive for the way it tastes. I’ll stick to water.

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