I know you can make a pie from it, though I don't think I've ever had one. I know it's celery-esque and looks like a vegetable.
And that's about it. That's a comprehensive summary of my personal knowledge of rhubarb up to this point. Sure, I Googled it and informed myself a bit more just now, but I never had any idea what it tasted like until I tried this soda.
Elderflower is a similar mystery to me. I assumed it was a type of flower that perhaps grows on the same plant as elderberries..? I'm apparently correct on both of those assumptions, although I'm guessing a good percentage of our readers could elaborate on the elder bush a great deal more than I am able to—and if you care to flaunt your botanical expertise in the comments section, I invite you to do so to your heart's content.
But evaluating something brand new with few preconceived notions can be a good thing.
First thoughts on the rhubarb strawberry soda: VERY unique. Like strawberry, but significantly more tart. Perfect amount of sweetness and carbonation. Just different enough from a run-of-the-mill sweet soda that it's worth a try simply for the novelty of the experience.
And the lemon elderflower offering? Similarly unique, but not to the same degree. Like a Wink, Fresca, or Squirt type soda, but with more true lemon flavor and an unexpected flowery essence. I'd generally prefer the classic citrus sodas over this Trader Joe's beverage. Sonia thinks there's something guava-esque going on here. I don't know if I'd put it like that, but I do agree that there's an odd aftertaste vaguely similar to that of guava. It doesn't taste like guava per se, but it confuses the tongue in a similar manner, if that makes sense.
We both like the rhubarb & strawberry soda slightly more than the lemon elderflower one. I wasn't expecting that going into it, since I tend to enjoy any and all citrus sodas, and products like Strawberry Fanta are palatable, but certainly not the first drink I'd reach for on a regular basis.
Considering the diminutive size of these cans, I think $3.49 is a bit steep. Each 8.4 oz can is just barely enough to quench my thirst at any given moment. I could easily go through all four in a single day. The quality here is very high. Good ingredients. Interesting flavors. Sonia and I would both consider buying the rhubarb & strawberry again for a special occasion. Sonia will go with four and a half stars on the strawberry and an even four for the lemon. I'll go a full star less than that on both.
Trader Joe's Rhubarb & Strawberry Soda: Bottom line: 8 out of 10.
Trader Joe's Lemon Elderflower Soda: Bottom line: 7 out of 10.