I saw some of the new stuff on display at the store yesterday. And decided to grab a couple bottles for me and my wife to try. I know it’s just come out, and may not be in all markets yet. I haven’t event seen any advertising for it…just some mentions that it’s on its way this summer.
First off, I love Coca-Cola. Sweet nectar of the gods. But I try not to drink it as much as I used to, because it’s a lot of empty calories and my metabolism isn’t what it used to be. Also because I’m tired of making my dentist’s Lexus payments. So, when I do drink soda, I try to buy diet. But I can’t stand diet cola. Diet Coke is the foulest substance on earth, and something that tastes that much like synthetic chemicals isn’t fit for human consumption. I stick mainly to the diet versions of things like Sprite, root beer, Mt. Dew and Dr. Pepper. All are less vile than any diet cola.
When C2 came out last year, I was pleased with it. Definitely not too diet-y, but I wasn’t about to confuse it for the Real Thing. Still drinkable, and half the sugar is a good start, right?
A month or so ago, I got to try the Diet Coke with Splenda. To me, it tastes nothing like Diet Coke. How do I know this? Because rather than make me cringe in disgust, I find it to be almost tasty. My wife says it’s too sweet, but it suits my palate just fine. (“Too sweet?” I know what the words mean, but they don’t make sense together.) DCwS is the only cola with “Diet” in the name that I will let touch my tongue.
Finally, this brings us to the latest in a long line of almost-Cokes: Coke Zero. It’s okay. Slightly diet-y, but still far enough on this side of my disgust threshold to remain drinkable. It actually strikes me as a little weak-tasting. It’s not extra sweet like regular Coke or DCwS, which is why my wife says she likes it more than the DCwS. But to me, that lack of sugary kick leaves it feeling a little flat (not in the carbonation sense). But the flavor is better, and truer to Coca-Cola Classic than the DCwS, which compares to Classic only in sweetness. If Coke Zero were sweetened the same way as DCwS, it would be great. Why didn’t they use Splenda in the new product? It’s aspartame and Acesulfame K.
Diet Coke and Coke Classic use different flavors, obviously. As I understand it, this was a compromise back in the '70s when they invented DC. They couldn’t make Classic taste right with artificial sweetener, so they changed the cola flavor. My guess is that Coke Zero is what they would have developed if they had had the technology at the time. Again, it’s okay…not much more. But for now my favorite no-calorie Coke remains Diet Coke with Splenda. But in no way do I consider any of these pretenders to be a suitable substitute for regular Coke, which is a shame.
So, have you tried Coke Zero yet? What are your thoughts?