Here in the Emerald City, we claim DRY and Jones sodas for our own. Joining the ranks of alternative beverages is Zevia, a totally natural, sugar-free diet soda made with stevia, the sweetener derived from an herb native to South and Central America.
So, yeah. It's coke made with herb.
I don?t really drink soda, or pop, or whatever you want to call it, besides the occasional Diet Pepsi on the airplane. But I'm usually a sucker for "natural" alternatives, and the Zevia folks sent me some. I called up my editor at Seattle Weekly, and dared him to try it with me.
I'm not sure exactly what we expected - maybe something so unlike cola that it didn't deserve the name? One of us would choke, maybe, and the other would be the telephone witness to a stevia-induced death? We weren't excited.
We each took tentative sips. Then slurps. We both swallowed. It's not bad, we agreed. It tastes more like Diet Pepsi than like Diet Coke, but more herbal, almost grassy, and not quite as carbonated. There's a bit of a strange aftertaste, but then again, wouldn't Diet Pepsi's aftertaste be weird if I wasn't conditioned to recognizing it? I?d totally drink Zevia, if I drank soda. In fact, I might even drink it anyway.
The orange flavor bears a surprising resemblance to the flavor of Crush. It leaves a bit of a dry feeling and metallic taste in the mouth, but if you?re trying to curb a habit and crave the flavor, it?ll work (plus, those qualities don't have time to register if you keep drinking it).
Zevia?s lemon flavor, called Natural Twist, wasn?t as tolerable. It doesn?t have the pleasant grapefruit flavor of Fresca, or the sugary tang of the Dew. And no, it doesn?t taste like lemonade, either. It tastes like carbonated Crystal Light. I happen to like Crystal Light, on occasion, so I?m cool with that. But if you?re looking for a reliable way to kick your Squirt or Coke habit, skip the Twist.
Zevia?s suggested retail price is $5.99 for a six-pack, and it?s available at Seattle-area PCCs, Metropolitan Markets, and all sorts of other locations.