Saturday, March 13, 2010

Coca Cola Review

If I was dramatic, I might say that my writing a review set the entire Coca Cola intelligence machine into action. I could paint a picture of wires tapped and commandos sliding down ropes dangling from black helicopters. All very cool, but the sad fact is that Coke is so huge and so prevalent that their CEO himself could declare it was made of human feces, angel ashes, and rendered baby fat and it wouldn't impinge on sales at all. Not even if he showed video to prove it. Hell, Coke HAS murdered people according to these sources....

Nobody cares.

Instead of covering the wide world which is Coca Cola, I'm going to focus in it's two greatest failings. Coca Cola, the great American drink, tastes more like Coca Cola the further you get from the USA. What we drink here isn't Coke, it's something else - a half-assed doppleganger too lazy to even roll its own hit dice.

If you want Coke, go to Mexico. Or Bermuda. Or Europe. I can't vouch for it in Asia or Canada, though, but I bet it's delicious there too. You try here in the US of A, it's crap. Total crap.

Coke the company is cheap cheap cheap. To make an extra few pennies they sell you corn syrup instead of sugar, and try to tell you there's no difference. Stop and actually taste the next American made Coke you drink, think about the taste of burnt wheat as you drink it. Focus on that odd sensation of sweetness, because it isn't sweet. It's something else entirely, something masquerading as sweet but failing upon any sort of second glance at all. Revel in the slimy coating it leaves on your tongue and teeth - you don't get that with sugared version.

Other sodas use corn syrup but it's Coke that suffers the most from this foul practice. Sugared Coke is delicious, possibly one of mankinds most delicious drinks. Corn syrup Coke is foul. This bitter is made all the more bitter by Coke having had the furthest to fall, from an astoundingly perfect soft drink to the worst of the worst. Poor poor Coke, cast from the garden and molded into a new Satan - by it's own choice. Boo!

Murder and incredibly unhealthy corn syrup and bad taste aside, Coke also suffers one of the worst sins a mass produced consumable might engage in. It's inconsistent in taste and quality.

Some Cokes are more burned tasting than others. Some cokes are more or less chemical tasting than others. Even carbonation can be inconsistent, from watery nothing to something tasting more like carbonated gas water sans syrup. Long ago I called Coke to ask why. They told me that it was the vagaries of the shipping process, that maybe the bad Coke I had drank was frozen at one point. Or was too old for consumption. Or whatever.

Well, Coke, I say you're full of shit. I've drank your demon brew from one coast to another and it always tastes different. Always. You're the biggest company in the universe and you can't even keep your product straight. Spend a little less time worrying about getting the red on the can within a half percent margin of consistency and try getting the horrible beverage you serve back on track. Please.

The reason that Coke changed to a chemical swill was because of consistency issues. Lemon, a prime ingredient, was unavailable in consistent quality year round. In the name of making consumers happy, they used a chemical lemon substitute. Repeat for every other ingredient and what are you left with? A chemical formula which should be perfectly reproducible, but they don't reproduce it and don't even seem to try.

Coke is huge and almighty. If they can't manage to give us a delicious and trustworthy drink it's because they choose not to. They know that consumers don't drink Coke for any reason other than that it comes in the shiny red can that they have been buying for their whole lives. They save two dollars a year by churning out a cheaper product and no one cares or notices because nobody cares or notices.

Coke is a huge failure as far as trustworthiness goes, but consumers are idiots so its a perfect match.

Let's recap:

Coke, the American drink, tastes better the further you get from the USA. This is because US producers use corn syrup, overseas they tend towards sugar.

Coke, a chemical formula, is incredibly inconsistent between cans. It can taste like burned wheat, or random chemicals, or very rarely like Coca Cola. The company doesn't seem to care about consistency and quality.

Coke has allegedly done incredibly wicked deeds overseas. You are practically drinking blood.

Within the next month, I'll drink a Coke. You probably will too. And that sucks because Coke has become the default drink, and everytime we grab one we are letting the company know that we don't care about quality.

This all applies to canned and bottled Coke. Between the containers I would say there is variance, with small plastic bottles of Coke tasting the worst and 2 liters tasting the best.

None of this, though, applies to fountain coke. Not even the human rights part. Fountain Coke generally rocks.

You know what. I'm going to take a vow that I am going to stop drinking regular Coca Cola. I might drink another Coke product, or I might drink Caffeine Free sugared coke, and I'll drink Mexicoke or other sugared variants, but no more regular Coke. You hear that Coke? I'm sick of your lousy, inconsistent taste which even at it's best isn't that good. And I'll probably feel better about myself too, knowing that I'm doing less to support the possible wickedness they are engaged in.

So there.


  1. Sugared Coke is delicious.... Corn syrup Coke is foul.


  2. I think the phosphor helps you see it at night.

  3. I Coke wasn't the best drink why does it sell so well? It is the best drink and you shouldn't just hate it because it's number 1.

  4. @Anonymous

    I don't think Tim's hating just to hate. He's clearly made valid points as to why he dislikes specific aspects of the drink.

    ...Coke sells so well because 1 It's one of the earliest modern soft drinks. 1.5 Along with being one of the first, their marketing machine runs flawlessly, so it's not unreasonable to assume that you/one drinks and loves Coke because your parents did -because their parents did, etc.

    (P.S. I just discovered your blog, Tim. It's a very fun, unique, and oftentimes hilarious read. Keep it up)

  5. A white knight come to defend me! Huzzah!

  6. Coke sells so well for the same reason that things like "Full House" and "Tyler Perry's House of (stupid)" are constantly being foisted off on the rest of us. Because they don't demand quality, they don't get it.
    Next time I get one of those bottles of Mexican Coke, I'll also get a plastic one of the regular stuff and see if I can tell the difference.
    I do know that when I finally got one of the sugar sweetened Pepsi's, it reminded me of the stuff I drank as a kid. I think they switched to HFCS during my teens. I also remember when tv stations went off the air at night. Those were some good times.

  7. Sorry, I would also like to add that blaming Coke for murders in Columbia is a little misguided. Columbia ain't exactly a great country anyway. I'm pretty sure if these Coke is Evil people looked into the murders happening in that country, they'd find that it's also the result of the drug trade, and the fact that the country is a shithole. I know it's easy for anyone presenting propaganda to ignore any evidence that doesn't support their theories, but these people seem a little nutty to me.

  8. I'm not going to lay out a Coke-is-Murder argument, but I wouldn't be surprised if they were at least indirectly responsible for certain evil actions. Part of the original suspicion directed at Coke, as I understand it, originated around people doing things on their behalf in Third World countries and then Coke not denying its involvement.

    If I had the equivalent of millions of dollars flowing into my pocket from a large foreign corporation, and a labor organizer threatened to cause that company grief, I very well might pay a pittance to have him murdered. Did the CEO of Coke order it? No, but it still happened in the name of Coke.

    There are other instances I've heard about which are less murdery but more direct - Coke factories polluting rivers which people were using for drinking water, for instance. It's all out there somewhere.

    But all that aside...

    Coke has betrayed America, which is much worse. And when you try a Mexican Coke you WILL notice a difference, not just in sweet but in the fundamental taste itself. Mexicoke TASTES like Coke used to taste. It's fantastic.

    tim h

  9. In Canada the glass-bottled Coke uses cane sugar, but the plastic and aluminum containers use HFCS. Now you know.

  10. When you say glass-bottle Coke, do you mean the wee glass bottles they sell in fancy cafes, or do you mean the big 12oz plus bottles?

    Regardless, thank you.

  11. In Canada cans were switched to HFCS not long ago. I now understand why I started to hate it whereas a few years back I enjoyed one every day. I have to check the glass bottles to see if they are better, I also found a store (ARZ) that sells bottles imported from Lebanon. I bet they are better, as averything they sell is top-notch. Shame on Coke, the price went up anyway in the last year, a few cents more wouldn't matter to keep their reputation?

  12. In Canada cans were switched to HFCS not long ago. I now understand why I started to hate it whereas a few years back I enjoyed one every day. I have to check the glass bottles to see if they are better, I also found a store (ARZ) that sells bottles imported from Lebanon. I bet they are better, as averything they sell is top-notch. Shame on Coke, the price went up anyway in the last year, a few cents more wouldn't matter to keep their reputation?

  13. The glass bottle is small size, I think 237ml or so.

  14. I Coke wasn't the best drink why does it sell so well? It is the best drink and you shouldn't just hate it because it's number 1.

  15. You're an idito, coke is the best thing ever. I drink coke every day.

  16. I was searching for some Coca-cola articles and what do you know -- I landed here. Now I'm not gonna take sides 'coz I drink Coke myself, but I know there's really a bad effect. I consume at least three cans in five days, especially when I'm just hanging out with some friends in Bartlett. I definitely get that "slimy coating it leaves on your tongue and teeth", and was a bit paranoid when my dentists predicted that I drink too much sodas. Now that I found out that sugared version of Coke is way better, I think I might need to find an alternative.

  17. Mexican Coke, dude, in tall glass bottles. Even when it's made with corn syrup instead of sugar it's still much, much better.

  18. I had been complaining for 30-plus years about the inconsistency of Coke in the Midwest where I live. Yet I still keep buying it because it is my favorite among many sodas I drink. There is something HEAVENLY about a perfectly balanced, ice-cold Coca-Cola, and it USUALLY is balanced. It angers me when I get a 12 pack of Coke that tastes like herbicide, but I just switch to another for a while, confident in a few weeks, the "bad Coke" will be gone from the shelves. In the 70s, my family used to complain to the local bottler when we got "bad Coke," and they would send out a driver with a "replacement" 12-pack. I don't like to do that anymore, don't want them to think I'm looking for a freebee. I just want them to stop screwing up at the factory, distribution warehouse or wherever it is that my favorite sode sometimes gets converted in toxic waste.

  19. P.S. Reading all the comments from you folks who apparently live somewhere other than the U.S., I am envious that you can still get Coke and other sodas in glass bottles. Here, the last of the glass bottles went out in the mid-1980s. In the Midwest (and I assume the rest of America,) you can only get soda in aluminum cans or plastic bottles EXCEPT for special, OVER-PRICED, promotional, 12-ounce six packs. The distributors clearly know we like our soft drinks in glass bottles, so why don't they give us GLASS FREAKIN' BOTTLES, fer cryin' out loud?!

  20. Joe L., my friend, you must seek out Mexican Coke. They have it, it's out there, it's just hard to find. Look in the Mexican specialty shops, you'll love it.

  21. Oh, heck, Tim H - They sell it on the soda aisle endcap at Schnucks, St. Louis' biggest grocery chain. I've seen it, but haven't gotten up the nerve to try it. I think I'll take your advice. (Only problem is, it is very expensive.)

  22. Make sure that you check the label and that it's the sort with sugar rather than corn syrup. In NYC it doesn't actually work out to be that much more expensive, a Mexicoke bottle is 1.50 - 2 and a two liter is usually 2.50. But a one liter bottle is usually 1.50 so it all sort of evens out.

    No need to tell me about Schnucks, I know all about 'em. They make a "King of the Hill" sandwich to which I am partial.

  23. Well, Tim. I will ascribe to you the best of intentions. But (You knew there was a but coming, eh?) I tried Mexican Coke and it tasted exactly like the weed-killer, toxic-waste "bad Coke" that - as mentioned earlier - sends me on a Coke hiatus. I gave it a fair shot, too. I bought one from three different stores. They were not cold and I was anxious to try what I hoped would be a gulp of Paradise, so I poured one over ice. . .Ughhh! The other two I put in the freezer to get them frosty cold, then transfered them to the "ice box(as Mom and Dad used to call it.)" That little cold plume wafted out as I popped the top. This would be great, I was sure. . .Arrrggghh!! The other one is still in the fridge, I'll probably drink it tomorrow, or try it and if it tastes like the first two, serve it up to the wife(!) I have been drinking Coke (and for the most part, loving it) since the mid-60s, and Mexican Coke evoked not-so-fond memories of the swill we used to complain to the bottler about. If THAT is what you and other Coke lovers consider Coke at its best, I'll take the stuff they sell in the Midwest in 12 packs and 20-ouncers ANYDAY. And yes, I did check the paper label on the bottles to make sure the ones I bought were made with sugar, not HFC. Thanks anyway, though. Please, Mexican Coke fans, no hate. I simply have a different opinion/sense of taste.

  24. Holy crap, you're certainly thorough. There is a degree of variance in Mexicoke, though three bottles should have produced two winners.

    I'm horrified and embarrassed and profusely apologize.

  25. One more post, then I guess I need to move on, tim h: The 3rd bottle of Mexican Coke - the one that had been resting in the fridge the longest, was by far the most palatable. It still had a slight hint of chemical, "bad Coke" taste but the carbonation seemed to balance it out.

    It's hard to describe how anything tastes without using subjective terms, but I think I've come up with an olfactory image that conveys my idea of "bad Coke." Imagine the smell of running over a thick patch of dandelions with the lawn mower. . .That is what "bad Coke" tastes like. Mowed dandelions is not an especially unpleasant assault on the senses, but it's not what I want to taste when I drink a soda.

    I'm the type of person who really wants to believe in good things, and part of my brain is saying that Mexican Coke really is good, nostalgic and perfectly flavored. I just happened to get buy three aberrations. Still, I'm sticking with standard Coca-Cola, polar bears aside.