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I Tried 10 Trader Joe's Sparkling Drinks & The Winner Tasted Like Summer

From juices to teas, Trader Joe's offers many sparkling drinks, but which one is the most supreme sip?
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There's something about a sparkling beverage that just feels a little bit more special than your standard water, juice, or tea. Perhaps it's the sensory experience of feeling your mouth tingle. Maybe it's the bubbles that add some visual interest. No matter the element that draws you to one of these elixirs, sparkling drinks have their fair share of fans, me being one of them.

As an avid seltzer drinker, I'm often on the hunt for new flavors to keep in my fridge. Knowing that Trader Joe's boasts a plethora of options, I decided to swing by my local store and put the popular retailer's offerings to the test. I rounded up 10 different sparkling sips across multiple categories, including apple cider vinegar beverages, probiotic drinks, juices, and iced teas. Some of these were sold by the can, while others were only available in four-packs.

With the help of two friends, I assessed the beverages' flavor profiles and fizziness while also taking ingredients into consideration. Below are my thoughts on 10 Trader Joe's sparkling drinks, which I ranked in descending order from my least favorite to the ultimate sip of the summer.

Organic Sparkling Ginger + Lemon Apple Cider Vinegar Beverage

can of trader joe's organic sparkling ginger + lemon apple cider vinegar beverage next to a glass of the drink
Brianna Ruback / Eat This, Not That!
Nutrition: (Per 1 Can)
Calories: 35
Fat: 0 g fat
Sodium: 15 mg
Carbs: 9 g (Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 8 g)
Protein: 0 g

Trader Joe's offers several apple cider vinegar drinks, each of which contains one tablespoon of the fermented liquid. The Organic Sparkling Ginger + Lemon Apple Cider Vinegar Beverage is made with carbonated water, organic apple juice concentrate, organic apple cider vinegar, organic ginger juice, organic lemon juice concentrate, and natural flavors. I purchased one can for $1.99.

The look: This drink was a pale, murky yellow color that resembled beer. I suppose it helps that these beverages are intended to be consumed out of their cans.

The taste: I've never been a major fan of apple cider vinegar, and that sentiment still stands with this sparkling drink, which smelled like straight vinegar. The flavor was quite tart, presenting a strong lemon taste, which overwhelmed any possible hints of ginger. However, as with the scent, the vinegar was the most overpowering flavor, reminding me of kombucha. While I wouldn't purchase this drink again, it did have one somewhat redeeming quality. As my friend asserted: "This tastes healthy."

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Tangerine Probiotic Sparkling Beverage

can of trader joe's tangerine probiotic sparkling beverage next to a glass of the drink
Brianna Ruback / Eat This, Not That!
Nutrition: (Per 1 Can)
Calories: 30
Fat: 0 g fat
Sodium: 15 mg
Carbs: 6 g (Fiber: 0 g Sugar: 6 g)
Protein: 0 g

TJ's sells a few different sparkling beverages made with bacillus coagulans, also known as probiotic cultures. One of these is tangerine-flavored and is made with both tangerine juice concentrate and apple juice concentrate. I bought one can for $1.99.

The look: Despite tangerines being a bold orange color, this beverage was far from that. Instead, it was a slightly cloudy yellow that looked like watered-down orange juice.

The taste: The tangerine scent was stronger than the flavor, with the drink tasting notably diluted. All three of us agreed that this beverage was eerily similar to orange-flavored Emergen-C or Airborne. "I'm so sorry you have a cold. Here's this," one of my friends joked as she handed me a glass of the tangerine-flavored sparkling drink.

Organic Sparkling Lemon + Strawberry Apple Cider Vinegar Beverage

can of trader joe's organic sparkling lemon + strawberry apple cider vinegar beverage next to a glass of the drink
Brianna Ruback / Eat This, Not That!
Nutrition: (Per 1 Can)
Calories: 35
Fat: 0 g fat
Sodium: 15 mg
Carbs: 9 g (Fiber: 0g, Sugar: 8 g)
Protein: 0 g

This apple cider vinegar beverage highlights lemon and strawberry flavors through the use of organic lemon juice concentrate and organic strawberry juice concentrate. I picked up one can for $1.99.

The look: This drink was bright red and speckled in bubbles that flattened quickly unlike a standard seltzer.

The taste: As with the other apple cider vinegar beverage, this one unsurprisingly presented a strong apple cider vinegar flavor. It was acidic and tart, with the drink's scent being sweeter than the taste. There was a lemony essence to it, as well, but the strawberry flavor was barely present, discouraging me from taking another sip.

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Ginger Lemon Probiotic Sparkling Beverage

can of trader joe's ginger lemon probiotic sparkling beverage next to a glass of the drink
Brianna Ruback / Eat This, Not That!
Nutrition: (Per 1 Can)
Calories: 30
Fat: 0 g fat
Sodium: 15 mg
Carbs: 7 g (Fiber: 0g, Sugar: 5 g)
Protein: 0 g

The Ginger Lemon Probiotic Sparkling Beverage contains several of the same ingredients as the apple cider vinegar option, plus the addition of probiotics. One can cost me $1.99.

The look: This drink was a pale yellow color, similar, if not identical, to homemade lemonade. Like most of the other drinks, the bubbles dissipated quickly.

The taste: This sparkling drink was more enjoyable than the aforementioned ginger and lime-flavored apple cider vinegar beverage, mostly because it lacks vinegar. The lemon flavor was apparent without being overwhelming, though this did remind me of a lightly fizzy, lemon-lime-flavored Emergen-C drink.

Organic Sparkling Elderberry + Pomegranate Apple Cider Vinegar Beverage

can of trader joe's organic sparkling elderberry + pomegranate apple cider vinegar beverage next to a glass of the drink
Brianna Ruback/Eat This, Not That!
Nutrition: (Per 1 Can)
Calories: 35
Fat: 0 g fat
Sodium: 10 mg
Carbs: 3 g (Sugar: 2 g)
Protein: 0 g

This beverage is made with organic elderberry, pomegranate, and grape juice concentrates, along with organic natural flavors. I picked up a can for $1.99.

The look: Similar to wine, this sparkling drink presented a deep red color with a dark purple hue. Unlike most of the other beverages, the carbonation formed a layer of foam at the top that didn't quickly disappear.

The taste: This beverage elicited mixed reactions. While one of my friends said this was his favorite of the bunch, another one said it reminded her of elderberry throat lozenges, detecting a medicinal flavor. However, I thought this drink was fairly balanced, presenting both elderberry and pomegranate with subtle notes of vinegar. There was also a strong earthiness to this one.

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Sparkling Strawberry Juice

can of trader joe's sparkling strawberry juice next to a glass of the beverage
Brianna Ruback / Eat This, Not That!
Nutrition: (Per 1 Can)
Calories: 60
Fat: 0 g fat
Sodium: 0 mg
Carbs: 16 g (Fiber: 0 g Sugar: 15 g)
Protein: 0 g

Trader Joe's Sparkling Strawberry Juice is made with five ingredients: strawberry juice, water, carbon dioxide, citric acid, and ascorbic acid, with the last ingredient used to maintain color. The grocery chain describes this drink as a "strawberry daydream on a sparkling spring day." How inviting! I picked up a box of four for $3.99.

The look: The sparkling juice was a bright pinkish red color that looked similar to Kool-Aid.

The taste: This carbonated juice gave off a strong strawberry candy aroma. Although the sweetness from the strawberry juice was notably present, it subsided within a few seconds and had a slight tartness and subtle floral essence. Matching its scent, there was still a noteworthy candy-like flavor to this one, with my friend saying it reminded her of the hard strawberry candies you'd find in your grandma's purse.

Sparkling Black Tea With Peach Juice

can of trader joe's sparkling black tea with peach juice next to a glass of the beverage
Brianna Ruback / Eat This, Not That!
Nutrition: (Per 1 Can)
Calories: 15
Fat: 0 g fat
Sodium: 0 mg
Carbs: 3 g (Fiber: 0 g Sugar: 2 g)
Protein: 0 g

Trader Joe's elevates simple black tea by incorporating peach juice and carbonation. A four-pack cost me $3.99.

The look: With black tea being the first ingredient, it's no surprise that this drink was quite dark in color, resembling a cola beverage.

The taste: If you're searching for a more tea-forward drink, then this one's for you. The black tea flavor was prominent, while the peach was pleasantly understated and just sweet enough. There was an ideal amount of fizziness, as well. Overall, this sparkling tea was enjoyable and I'd purchase this again.

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Sparkling Pineapple Juice

trader joe's sparkling pineapple juice
Brianna Ruback / Eat This, Not That!
Nutrition: (Per 1 Can)
Calories: 60
Fat: 0 g fat
Sodium: 0 mg
Carbs: 14 g (Fiber: 0 g Sugar: 12 g)
Protein: 0 g

As with the strawberry juice, this Sparkling Pineapple Juice has fruit juice, specifically pineapple juice, listed as the first ingredient. I purchased a box of four for $3.99.

The look: Exactly as I expected: vibrant yellow and slightly bubbly. However, the carbonation quickly flattened as with most of the other drinks included in the taste test.

The taste: Upon cracking open the can, a strong pineapple aroma diffused into the air. The drink had some fizziness to it, but like the others, the carbonation wasn't overly strong. The flavor was notably sweet and while I would have liked some additional tartness, it was still an overall delicious, refreshing beverage. "It has a very light, crisp flavor," one of my friends noted.

Sparkling Green Tea With Pineapple Juice

can of trader joe's sparkling green tea with pineapple juice next to a glass of the beverage
Brianna Ruback / Eat This, Not That!
Nutrition: (Per 1 Can)
Calories: 10
Fat: 0 g fat
Sodium: 15 mg
Carbs: 3 g (Fiber: 0 g Sugar: 2 g)
Protein: 0 g

This drink features all of the same ingredients as the aforementioned juice, plus the addition of green tea. A four-pack cost me $3.99.

The look: The beverage had a notable layer of foam at the top shortly after being poured. Within seconds, this dissipated, presenting a golden-brown color that resembled beer.

The taste: Subtle. Both the green tea and pineapple juice were on the muted side, with the pineapple taste slightly stronger than the tea flavor. In fact, this beverage tasted quite similar to a pineapple-flavored seltzer: crisp, thirst-quenching, and slightly tart, with the carbonation adding a pleasant bite.

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Sparkling Watermelon Juice

can of trader joe's sparkling watermelon juice next to a glass of the beverage
Brianna Ruback / Eat This, Not That!
Nutrition: (Per 1 Can)
Calories: 60
Fat: 0 g fat
Sodium: 0 mg
Carbs: 16 g (Fiber: 2 g Sugar: 12 g)
Protein: 0 g

Trader Joe's Sparkling Watermelon Juice consists of four ingredients: watermelon juice, carbon dioxide, citric acid, and ascorbic acid. With watermelon being one of my favorite flavorings, I was most excited to try this drink. I snagged a can for just a dollar.

The look: While I was expecting a pale pink color, this juice looked more like an apple cider or beer with its golden amber color. A bit confusing.

The taste: While the color wasn't the most enticing, the flavor certainly was. Contrary to the Sour Patch Kids Watermelon scent that diffused out of the can, the watermelon flavor tasted natural. This was unsurprising, though, since watermelon juice is the first ingredient. The sparkling juice was downright delicious, crisp, and refreshing, presenting the perfect balance of sweetness and fizziness to invite me in for more.

This drink tasted like summer, and I'll be happily sipping on this sparkling beverage throughout the season.

Brianna Ruback
Brianna is a staff writer at Eat This, Not That! She attended Ithaca College, where she graduated with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Communication Studies. Read more about Brianna