The New poppi Classics Sodas Taste Like Your Faves—With the Added Benefits of ACV
Like many people, I have a long and complicated relationship with soda.
I used to be the type of person who could have a sugary soda with every meal, but once I realized exactly how many empty calories that was putting in my body, I decided something had to give. I managed to train myself to fall in love with seltzers, and while I still will sip the occasional soda, I'll often find that the flavor isn't worth the sugar rush and grumbly tummy that ensues.
So when I first stumbled upon poppi sodas about a year ago, I was intrigued. These low-calorie bubbly beverages also packed the benefits of prebiotic apple cider vinegar—and came in unique and fruity flavors that tasted absolutely delicious. And this year, poppi has a new line of classic cola, root beer and "doctor" flavors that'll appeal even more to soda lovers. The folks behind the brand reached out to me and asked if I'd be interested in sampling the new line, and of course I couldn't resist.
What's Up With Prebiotic Sodas?
Where in the world did poppi's unique combination of prebiotic apple cider vinegar and soda come from? We got the chance to speak with poppi founder Allison Ellsworth to find out how this unusual (and unusually tasty) combination came to be.
Sweety High: What inspired you to combine soda and apple cider vinegar in the first place?
Allison Ellsworth: I was having health issues and drinking lots of apple cider vinegar. Unfortunately, the taste wasn't great and I had a hard time consuming it. I knew adding some real fruit juice to mask the harsh taste of ACV would make it a more flavorful way to soothe my stomach.
SH: Once you got the idea, was it a challenge to make the sodas also taste great?
AE: Yes! It took a long time to perfect the formulas, especially in trying to keep the sugar count low. It would have been easy to compromise and deliver a product with 15 grams of sugar, but the plan was 90% lower sugar than a traditional Coke or Pepsi and nothing fake or artificial.
SH: What are the benefits of apple cider vinegar and prebiotics?
AE: The biggest benefit is for the belly. ACV helps with digestion, but it also is great for skin and immunity.
SH: What was the inspiration behind this newest batch of flavors?
AE: poppi is a little moment of happy, and consumers often associate sodas with indulgence and pleasure. But poppi is a better-for-you proposition that can dial up the pleasure of the soda and dial down the guilt. poppi's classic line could be the first innovation in decades that delivers all the flavor, emotions and nostalgia of old-fashioned soda, with all the functionality and gut health benefits of a kombucha. Win-win!
The Classic Line
poppi's new classic line of sodas includes Classic Cola, Root Beer and Doc Pop, emulating traditional flavors we all know and love without losing out on any of the benefits of poppi. Each can contains gut-healthy apple cider vinegar while only containing 25 calories and five grams of sugar, thanks to being sweetened with a combination of pure cane sugar, agave and stevia, plus apple, orange and lemon juices. They're also vegan, non-GMO and gluten-free. Like all poppi drinks, they cost $29.88 per case of a dozen cans, but are also available for a subscription that saves buyers 10%.
Of course, I had to begin my poppi classics journey with the gold standard Classic Cola flavor. After my very first sip, I was hooked. poppi brilliantly mimics the flavor of an ultra-sugary cola without it feeling like a sweetness overload. It manages to have bite without being bitter or harshly sour in the slightest, and it leaves a gentle, almost vanilla-like aftertaste in the mouth that leaves you wanting the next sip. Plus, this flavor contains 50 milligrams of natural green tea caffeine, so the drink gives you a pick-me-up without a harsh edge. Better yet, it didn't upset my stomach at all. It may not taste exactly like a Coca-Cola, but it's close enough to satisfy, and you'd have no idea there was apple cider vinegar in it by taste alone.
In my opinion, poppi's Root Beer flavor is just as successful as the Classic Cola at mimicking precisely the flavor it's going after. Where the Classic Cola has bite, this Root Beer has a round, sweet smoothness that really accentuates the vanilla-y notes throughout. I found this flavor to be sweeter than the one that came before it, and that wasn't a bad thing. It was just as easy to drink down, and while I wouldn't call it a replacement to traditional root beer, it comes close enough to be super cravable.
Doc Pop was the flavor I was looking forward to most, because nailing that Dr. Pepper flavor is tough. Not even the generic brands have it quite right. Doc Pop surprised me most, because I think it comes closest to the flavor it's trying to replicate—and the apple cider vinegar inside might actually help it in that regard. The flavor is complex—partly cola, partly cherry, partly vanilla, with undertones of other subtle tastes—and it all works. This quickly became the family favorite, and both cans I was sent were gone in a flash.
Whether you're trying to improve your gut health, seeking out sodas with fewer calories or just want to try something with a bold new flavor, I'd highly recommend poppi's sodas—especially their new classics line. The three new flavors are familiar and approachable, and while they won't taste precisely like the brands you've grown accustomed to, they get darn close with only 25 calories per can and all of the health benefits of apple cider vinegar. The downside? At $2.50 per can, they're definitely pricier than your average pop. Whether that trade-off will be worth it is entirely up to you.
Want to find out what else the brand has to offer? Click HERE to read our review of Poppi's original 12 flavors.