SoBe LifeWater with coconut water but no mango or mandrainYesterday I drove about an hour to do a photo recon mission for a possible upcoming shoot.  It was in the low to mid 80’s and I didn’t think to take a bottle of water with me, all my focus was on packing camera gear.  After the drive, a half mile walk to the location, two hours walking around and exploring, then re-tracing the half mile walk, all while being out in the sun, I was rather parched.  First order of business when returning to my car was to stop at the nearest gas station and get some water.

About 3 miles down the road I pulled into a gas station and upon entering, I thought to myself I should probably get coconut water to better hydrate, and I like the taste.  I was elated to see they carried the larger bottles of VitaCoco, but they didn’t have the flavor I wanted, and plain would have been fine if I wasn’t drawn to what was right next to them on the shelf.  SoBe Lifewater with coconut and mango mandarin.  A mango fan I am, I opened the door to grab a bottle and noticed a small Buy one get one Free on all Lifewater.  Perfect, two 20oz bottles it is.

Paid the kind woman at the register, headed back to my car, cracked one open and chugged half of it.  The point leading up to cracking the top on one is where my excitement ends.  The taste is typical big beverage, since SoBe is owned by PepisiCo (Pepsi).  The taste is artificial, overly sweet and really not that great.  Dehydrated, I drank, and looked at the label while driving down the road.  This is where disappointment in taste turns to annoyance and lack of trust in big companies.  The ingredients are as follows:

FILTERED WATER, SUGAR, COCONUT WATER CONCENTRATE, NATURAL FLAVOR, CITRIC ACID, CARAMEL COLOR, CALCIUM LACTATE, POTASSIUM CITRATE, SEA SALT, REB A (PURIFIED STEVIA EXTRACT), GUM ARABIC

I’m the first to admit I knew sugar, in corn or natural form, would be in here.  I did not however expect to completely not read the words mango or mandarin in here, rather they are chemically engineered to represent those flavors.  Worse, stevia is added, in addition to sugar, and that’s what more than likely causes the weird sugar-like taste.  Just in case that page of ingredients changes, here’s a screen shot of it.

While I did get one for free, I can’t say I’ll be buying them again.  Not only don’t they taste good, I can’t deal with that much synthetic substance in what can be one of the simplest things to provide, coconut water.  Crack the little things open, pour out, filter, enjoy, done.