Review: Sprite Green


In late 2008, Coke announced a reduced calorie version of Sprite called Sprite Green, first introduced in New York and Chicago.

Sprite Green

Per Coke's press release about the new drink, Sprite Green "has 50 calories per 8.5-ounce serving and 5% lemon juice. Sprite Green was created to appeal to active young adults and will be launched in two U.S. cities this month in distinctive 8.5-ounce aluminum bottles. Initial availability will be limited to teen and young adult-oriented locations and events with a broader rollout planned for early 2009. Sprite Green complements the Sprite brand's leading lemon-lime and zero-calorie lemon-lime sparkling beverages."

The big hype about Sprite Green is the use of Truvia, which is the trade name for a version of a stevia-based sweetener created by The Coca-Cola Company and Cargill. Using what they consider a "natural sweetener" (there's some debate on that), you can lower the calorie count on a typical bottle of Sprite.


Sprite Green aluminum bottle

We were able to find a bottle of Sprite Green here in Chicago, though it did not look anything like the aluminum bottle illustration that Coke provided when they announced the drink. Our version was packaged in a 12 oz. green glass bottle with a narrow neck. A pretty sharp look… if you ignore the ugly plastic twist cap on top.

Upon opening the bottle, well, it smells like Sprite. It even looks like Sprite, with that clear, bubbly appearance. But what about that all-important taste experience?

Upon first sip, it's actually pretty good. Tastes pretty much like the Sprite you know and love. But then the floor drops out and you realize that your are on some gruesome amusement park ride of flavor doom! Now, granted, this is a diet beverage, so a non-attractive taste is to be expected. But given that this drink has a stevia-powered aftertaste, maybe I wasn't expecting exactly what my mouth was saying… which was pretty much, "what did you just do to me?"

The aftertaste ruins Sprite Green. At first, it's not really there like most diet beverages. It sort of sneaks up on you. But this delayed rancidness makes up for it in the end. The taste is actually quite dry and cleanish as far as texture, however the flavor is very bitter and non-food-like. Almost like you accidentally swallowed some hair spray. It's an odd collection of substances that sort of sit on your tongue, waiting to be scrubbed off. I can now understand why Sprite Green has been launched in "limited markets" and isn't really taking the country by storm. Yuck!

However, if you are still interested in this drink, you'll find that a 12 oz. bottle contains 70 calories, 160 mg of sodium (Wow… that's quite a bit!), and 18 g of carbs (17 g of which are sugars). The drink is caffeine-free.

Sprite Green
Carbonated water, lemon juice from concentrate, sugar, natural flavors, sodium polyphosphates, sodium citrate, potassium sorbate (to protect taste), rebiana (stevia extract), salt, malic acid, ascorbic acid (to protect color)

The combination of stevia and sugar makes Sprite Green sort of a hybrid drink when it comes to sweeteners. Hmm, where have we seen this before? Oh, that's right… Coca-Cola C2 and Pepsi Edge. Anyone remember those drinks from 2004? They crashed and burned, not only based on taste, but also on need. In the end, they weren't. The same seems to be true regarding Sprite Green. It's a beverage without a real purpose.

That said, I really wish Sprite Green was better than it tasted. Those used to the aftertaste experiences of diet sodas may welcome it more than we did, however if we were looking for a lemon lime-flavored drink with the benefits of stevia, we'd probably choose Zevia over Coke's entry.

Comments

  1. Mark Smithivas says:

    Wow, now I'm really gonna have to try this beverage! ;) Seriously, I really like the Vitaminwater 10 line of stevia sweeted drinks. When I first tried stevia in powdered form in a drink, it did alter the taste significantly. It is disguised very well in the Vitaminwater line though.

  2. @Mark – Vitaminwater 10 is being phased out to Vitaminwater Zero, so it will be interesting to see how much the flavor changes.

  3. I grabbed a bottle of this at the World of Coke here in Atlanta. It was the aluminum version. I haven't cracked the top yet, but I was hoping for something interesting. Sounds like it might be nasty though…

  4. fantastic review. i'm very interested to try this weird taste. i'll have to hope to see one.

    and yeah that plastic top is hilariously bad

  5. I find it odd that it is not even being tested in Atlanta yet the aluminum bottle is available here.

  6. Great Article! so the one in the glass bottle tastes the same as the one in aluminum bottle?

  7. We had a taste of Sprite Green here in NY and its awesome :D me and my friends buy it all the time. did they stop selling it? because i havent seen it in like a month? well if they did they're gunna have a lot of people complaining to bring it back…

  8. SPRITE GREEN defeats its own purpose. We need
    a diet soda sweetened ONLY with stevia– getting rid
    of aspertaim or sugar. I thought the new SPRITE GREEN
    was it. but forget it now– too much sugar !!

  9. Vitamin Water zero is delicious, so it is possbile to make a great tasting, zero calorie, drink that is all natural.

    Now lets see if they can make it work with a cola.

  10. WHERE DID YOU FIND IT??? Seriously, I've been looking for days.

  11. I bought my first two bottles at a Walgreen's near the downtonwn Chicago area about a week ago. I had never heard of it but decided to try it because it had less sugar and I'd recently switched to truvia to reduce my sugar intake. While truvia does absolutely nothing for my morning coffee, I had to give it Kudos for this Sprite because I hate "diet" anything. There is an after taste however, I have never been able to conform to diet sodas for that reason in the past and still don't but this one was pleasant and quite enjoyable. I am sold but wish I could find it in more areas through-out the city.

  12. I was wondering how they got 50 calories into it with just stevia, which is extremely sweet with just a tiny bit of it… I've used the plain powder myself on occasion. They must add a lot of sugar.

    I wonder why more people don't just dilute regular sodas with good cold water to reduce the calories – usually makes it tastier as well, if you start out with something intensely flavored, which is really why I started doing it (I always liked the "dregs" of the root beer in the melted ice…). Lots cheaper than spending more money on diet stuff. If you get a pack of good filtered water to start with or have a nice collection of plastic or metal bottles already, you can eventually make up your own "to go" bottles for outside the house. I use water from my own filtering unit (reverse osmosis, charcoal, and ion-exchange and particulate filters), and always keep a couple of liters of the water in the fridge and then just mix in a bit of soda in each glass when in the mood. If you can't have sugar, I imagine the same can be done with certain "diet" sodas. I use water:soda probably ranging from 3:1 to 9:1, depending on the soda and my mood. Just a splash of soda sometimes is all I want, for the flavor.

  13. The article says its a beverage without real purpose? Wrong
    A non craopola aspertame natural option is needed , the big companies selling their posion tried to use the FDA to keep
    Stevia off the market, aspartame was originally cited
    with 92 side effects and reccomemnded banned, yet
    greed and corruption won out. No sugar isnt good for you,
    but its better then the other artifical sweetners, dogs who have
    chewed the diet gum and swallowed it quickly die, thats a sign
    that its a posion

  14. I can't believe anyone thinks Vitaminwater Zero tastes good -that stuff has an awful Stevia aftertaste. Sobe Lifewater tastes much better & cleaner due to not having Stevia and using Erythritol instead, which doesn't leave a nasty aftertaste like stevia does. The only problem it has is just like the vitaminwater it is too damn expensive at about $1.10 a bottle at Walmart. This is the main reason my friends and I don't buy it regularly, as you can easily drink 4 of them in a day, you multiply that by a month and that's over $130.00..too much money compared to soda. It doesn't matter how good or healthy something is if you can't afford it!

  15. Thanks for the review. I'm happy to have finally found that Coke is making a soda w/stevia. I knew they made Truvia, and was waiting for them to try putting it into their sodas. I just wanted to say that in the last 4 months, I have figured out that I cannot have aspartame or sucralose (Splenda, etc.) Aspartame was giving me headaches, mood swings, and a "foggy" mind. Therefore, I cannot have the majority of diet sodas out there, not that I really liked them anyway, just tried to "be healthy" with less calories. But alas, it's actually way less healthy to be ingesting aspartame. I was also using Splenda in my coffee & tea and started having major heart palpitations…I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I started researching all the side-effects and heart palps were one. After cutting it out for two weeks, they were gone. So I am totally anti-artificial sweeteners. Of course, I also know the harmful effects regular sugar can have, so I try to avoid it as much as possible, as I was doing using artificial sweeteners. Stevia was the only place I could turn. I have tried Zevia and love it! I also buy lemonade powder mixes w/stevia and love them. And I buy Truvia to put in my tea & coffee. I don't have a bad aftertaste at all. If anything, it's a sweet aftertaste to me. I've also branched out and begun making all my sweets from scratch using Stevia. I will say in baking with it, if you don't have at least a touch of some other type of sweetener (brown sugar, honey, agave, xylitol, etc.) along with Stevia, it is bitter. I am glad they have made Sprite Green and want to try it for myself. Even if they put a little sugar in it, at least I hope that reduces the amount of sugar as in regular Sprite, and that would be a benefit. It would be great if they can get a mix like Zevia… that's what I'm waiting for! I have not tried the Vitamin water or SoBe yet. Maybe that's what I'll try while I'm waiting for Sprite Green to come to my small Ohio town! I actually didn't even know it existed until I had a conversation with the check-out lady at Kroger, where I was buying more of the lemonade mix, and she told me about Sprite Green and how she hopes it makes its way here. I have to say that a drink with no artifical sweeteners and *less* sugar is very beneficial. :)

  16. It seems like stevia's aftertaste is completely subjective. I've never experienced it, and I've tried a lot of stevia products, yet others get it with everything they try.

  17. If you use regular sugar (cane sugar) frequently, Stevia based sweetners are going to have a bitter taste and licorice like aftertaste. It's made from a leaf. My GF went on this hCG homepathic diet and used SweetLeaf products. I tried the chocolate stevia drops and about puked. Next round I went on the hCG diet and I find I actually prefer the Stevia or Truvia to regular sugar. (of course I haven't had table sugar in like 9 days) Sobe LifeWater 0 Calories uses it and I liked it. I tried the black and blue berry Sobe just now. Would love to try Sprite Green.

    Just remember if you consume regular sugar and stevia, stevia is going to taste like nasty bitter licorice.

  18. Oh yeah, btw. you can make your own Sprite Green. Juice 1 lemon, 1 lime, add 1 packet (or more if you like) of Stevia Sweetleaf or Truvia and mix with bottled soda water per glass. I also made a virgin Mojito with lime juice, 1 stevia packet, some mint leaves and sparkling mineral water. Nice to sip by the pool.

    Mmm. You premix the lime, lemon, and stevia and add to the bottle for a more portable drink…or just add a Stevia packet to a bottle of Perrier Lemon.

    Why am I trolling on your blog? LOL

  19. I was at Jason's deli the other day and this was the ONLY non-cola option. It was brownish color in my cup, smelled like regular sprite but did NOT taste like it. It was discusting…… I hope they get rid of it and bring back the regular sprite.

  20. Also (surprisingly) found this today at Jason's Deli in Austin after unsuccessfully looking all over NYC for it.

  21. To add to my previous comment: yea, I didn't like it. It was a fountain drink, so it could've been a bad mix, but it definitely tasted artificial. I likened it to the Vitamin Water Zero's taste which also have stevia (versus the regular Vitamin Water which I think are quite good).

  22. Just had it at Jason's Deli in Houston. Didn't even know about it, never heard of it, after one sip I said WTF happened to my Sprite? Went back to change drink options and see this Sprite Green label…
    EWE. Do not like.
    Now the all throwback sprite I would like to try made with REAL sugar.

  23. Maybe its the difference of it being from the fountain.. but im having some Sprite Green right now, and I don't think the after taste is nearly as bad as you described. Im just glad there's something out there now that doesn't include HFCS. Gross.

Trackbacks

  1. BevBoard says:

    Sprite Green…

    Hey guys, I got a hold of a bottle of Sprite Green here in Chicago. Actually, pretty creative 12 oz. green glass bottle. Pretty attractive……..

  2. [...] developed as part of a joint project between The Coca-Cola Company and Cargill. Coke has used it in Sprite Green. The company goes out of their way to point out that Sans contains "zero calories, zero artificial [...]

  3. […] Remember Sprite Green? Me neither. Apparently it had both regular sugar and stevia and was sold between 2008 and 2010. Stevia-sweetened Sans Natural Diet Soda debuted in 2011, and hasn't been seen since 2012. […]

  4. […] Remember Sprite Green? Me neither. Apparently it had both regular sugar and stevia and was sold between 2008 and 2010. Stevia-sweetened Sans Natural Diet Soda debuted in 2011, and hasn’t been seen since 2012. […]

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