{21/02/2013}   A cola challenge

The cola challenge, pre-burp festI am not a fan of cola, but it is one of those drinks that a few times a year is the only drink that will hit the spot, usually when the weather is hot and it is served with ice and lemon.  However, while I was in Iceland (the country), I read that Icelandic Coca-Cola is supposedly the best Coca-Cola as it’s made there with glacial water and no corn syrup.  I tried some and declared it delicious.  So I bought a few of the 500 ml bottles home, bought 500 ml bottles of a selection of other colas and had a blind tasting session with Chris – what heady things we do for kicks!

I took it all very seriously and made sure the bottles were all the same size and plastic and that they were kept in the same area of the fridge and were served in identical glasses.  I then stuck mini post-it notes on the bottom of each glass with the name of the drink on them.  I then added another piece of paper for our one to six taste order and even did it again the next day when the colas would have been a little less fizzy, ie I had to get rid of all the cola somehow (there are still six bottles of cola in my fridge waiting to be finished – I am over cola for a while!).

I am not entirely sure what I expected, indeed I wasn’t convinced there would be a huge difference between them.  We had three Coca-Colas (Icelandic, British and Diet Coke) and three Pepsi Colas (Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and Pepsi Max).  We had done a four taster experiment in the summer (sad but true) and we had both put the four drinks in the same order, with the Icelandic Coca-Cola being the favourite by a long shot.  So I figured it would probably be number one for both of us this time.

It is quite hard putting six drinks in order of preference but what I did find was that three were horrible and three were ok.  I remember from doing the four-cola test previously that the two Coca-Colas were numbers one and two and the two Pepsis three and four.  I wondered whether it was this time three Coca-Colas in the top and three Pepsis in the bottom.  But one thing became clear, which is that cola doesn’t really taste very nice, it makes you burp ferociously, that some colas are a lot more fizzy than others and that there are slight variations in the shade of brown.

So the results, which surprised me:

Me:                               Chris:

Day one (fizzy) – Day two (not so fizzy)

Coca-Cola                       6 – 4                             3 – 5

Diet Coke                        5 – 6                             6 – 6

Diet Pepsi                       4 – 5                             2 – 3

Icelandic Coca-Cola   3 – 2                            4 – 4

Pepsi Max                       2 – 3                            1 – 1

Pepsi                                 1 – 1                             5 – 2

There is nothing particularly conclusive about our informal tests but my top three and bottom three always remained as three I thought were okay and three I thought were degrees of horrible.  The main issue I had with the top three was that they were really sweet and the bottom three were relatively tasteless and left a really horrible after-taste.

All that said, I like cola less than I used to and, once my fridge is rid of the cola, I’m not sure I’ll be choosing a cola drink in the near future.  Just had a brilliant thought: as I am experimenting with a cleaning chemical free life, I know that cola down the toilet is good with stains …


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