Kraft Foods recently sent along three boxes of their new Crystal Light Pure drink mix flavors, in Lemonade, Mixed Berry, and Grape flavors. I was excited to give them a try, because I am a huge fan of using stevia as calorie-free natural sweetener and I'm always eager to try new beverages which take advantage of stevia.
Crystal Light Pure is not a calorie-free beverage. Kraft has chosen to use a small amount of sugar in the mix to supplement and perhaps to help round off the non-sugar-aftertaste corners of the Truvia brand stevia extract it uses. While I would have preferred to have a stevia-only mix, I understand their caution and daughter Lynnafred, wife Maryanne, and I were soon trying out the packets in a number of situations, including as an accompaniment to meals, as a takealong in the car and on walks with the dogs, at our desks at work, and for just general enjoyable hydration.
Grape: My favorite of the three, the grape flavor was a like a combination of Concord grape juice and KoolAid. Yes, it sounds odd, but it works. Lynnafred, accustomed to more assertive flavor profiles, thought it a little weak, but Maryanne and I enjoyed it.
Mixed Berry: We found this flavor confusing. It smelled like delicious mixed berries, and it was the right color, but the taste was..."incorrect," I guess, for lack of a better word. It was watery and sharp and tasted more akin to lemonade (without any, you know, actual lemon flavor in there.) It's an acceptable thirst quencher, but all of us wanted to like it a lot better than we actually did. Lynnafred hit the nail on the head: "The more I drank it, the less I liked it."
Lemonade: My very first sip of the Lemonade mix reminded me of Country Time Lemonade (which is another Kraft product, by the way, so I guess this should come as no surprise eh?) As powdered lemonades go, I like it (sharper than KoolAid and milder than hand-squeezed fruit-based lemonade,) and because it's made with stevia, I can totally get behind it.
Probability of our buying Crystal Light Pure:
- Mixed Berry: 25% - The sour sharpness and vague flavor work too efficiently against it.
- Grape: 70% - Maryanne and I both liked it and would get it again. I've been getting used to the idea of tossing a couple packets into my tote bag before leaving for work.
- Lemonade: 90% - I like lemonade mix in warm weather. While there are many competitors for my money in this category, Kraft's decision to use stevia in the mix absolutely tips my wallet over to them.