Why can't you buy a decent fountain coke?

For the third time this week I have stopped to buy a fountain diet coke and got some unrecognizable taste. What is the deal? The first time the drink seemed to have too much syrup and was sicky sweet. The second time it tasted like it had been mixed with Dr. Pepper. The third time it was just plain bitter. What gives? Does Coca Cola not have any control over the use of their product? This even happens in big fast food chains where they ought to be able to keep a consistent tasting product!

I know just how you feel, smilingjaws. It’s so damn hard to find an exceptable fountain soda. That’s why I always do the ceremonial taste test before filling up.

My WAG would be that, it has something to do with the regulators that measures the flow of syrup into the carbonation. Sometimes they are severly out of wack, and sometimes they are just right. Also, from my experience as a Subway employee, when I connected a new syrup box to the system the first two to three cups would be very sweet, and the very end of the syrup box would make it come out as straight carbonation.

This is why I do the taste test. And I always let the clerks know that something is wrong with the soda fountain so the next person won’t get screwed. There’s not much worse than hoping for an ice-cold cup Mountain Dew and then getting seltzer water.

Confusious Say:
-Man who stand on toilet,
Is high on pot-

For that matter, how come you can’t get a decent Slurpee anymore? They used to be pretty consistent, but now I find that nine times out of ten I get some runny, sick-tasting slop with some sort of white scum on the top.

Well the whole problem comes down to the fact that fountain drinks are not regulated by coke (at least not daily). The fountain drink machine consists of a container of the syrup of the particular flavor. Then the machine combines this with the carbonated water. The machine should be set to give the best taste possible, IMHO if it is set right it is better than the bottled stuff. Sometimes these get out of whack, I believe someone from Coke comes periodically to maintain the machine, but if they are a small store, they may not come often.

As for the slurpee, they are even worse, because you have to add water to the mix and it is based on you measuring it yourself. Then add the mix to the machine. Let the mix get all slushy. Then squirt the proper number of squirts to the cup and add the slush stuff. IMHO, the proper number of squirts are usually not enough. (The previous is an explanation of how a slush puppy works and I guess the slurpee is sort of the same).


IMHO, Diet Coke is just not a fountain drink. I can drink it out of a can or bottle all day, but hate it out of a fountain.

To answer one of your questions, yes - Coca Cola does have QC people in the field. They go into establishments and ask for a Coke or Coke product. If they are served a rival’s product without being given the disclaimer “Is Pepsi OK?” the proprietor will get a nasty letter from Coke’s legal department. The QC folks actually bag (clandestinely) samples of the product and ship them to Coca Cola labs for testing. Failed tests result in a letter from Coca Cola corporate. Coke’s corporate reputation rests on you getting a quality product every time, and they take that very seriously. I guess they haven’t made it to your fountain yet. Give 'em a call.

The overwhelming majority of people have more than the average (mean) number of legs. – E. Grebenik

Yeah, but Slurpees USED to be consistently good (I mean the actual 7-11 product). I could walk into any 7-11 and get a nice thick, dark-colored Coke Slurpee. Not any more. Either they changed the machines and they don’t have the same quality, or they changed the mix, or they lost control of quality, or cut back on the amount of syrup to save money, or something.

I run into the bad tasting Coke problem a lot. I have some blood sugar problems, so I can’t drink regular Coke…like ever. If I do, I get very sick and usually black out from it. So anyway, if I get a weird tasting Diet Coke and I didn’t get to see them pour the soda, I make them re-pour it while I’m watching. I can’t tell if it’s too sweet because it’s real Coke or if it’s a bad mix, but I can’t take a chance. They always get kinda pissy, but hey- it’s not my fault the stuff always tastes funny to begin with…

An optimist sees an opportunity in every calamity; A pessimist sees a calamity in every opportunity.

Fountain Coke? Rare, but not impossible. On the other hand, I have NEVER had a fountain Mountain Dew that was drinkable.

I’m not a coke drinker, but my family swears McDonalds has really good coke. They actually go around and rate their sodas. “This is a 6, what do you think” kind of thing. They’re weird.

I’m actually a Pepsi drinker, but Pepsi is no different. I never drink fountain pop (or soda or whatever). It never tastes the same. Ick.


He who joyfully marches in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would suffice - Albert Einstein

In my high school days I worked at McDonalds, and the managers had a special device that looked like a larger graduated cylinder connected to a smaller one. There was some sort of bizzare aparatus on the top of it. When hooked to the fountain beverage spout, it would collect all the dispensed syrup in one cylinder and all the water in the other, thus indiciating what the mix was at.

I too have almost always found no problem in McD’s coke…now the FOOD…well lets not go there…

Thanks for the info, Doctor Jackson! I just LOVE being a hard nosed consumer and complaining–lets me get out my frustrations for a good cause :slight_smile:

Brother Haus:
{There’s not much worse than hoping for an ice-cold cup Mountain Dew and then getting seltzer water.}

Well, actually, I can think of something else…getting a cup of Mountain Dew! :wink:

(I’m not a Mountain Dew fan, as you might have guessed.)

Lynn the Packrat

Something that hasn’t been mentioned yet is that fountain drinks also depend on the local tap water for their taste.

Btw, whatever that “slush puppy” is it sounds like a sno-cone or something… have you never had a Slurpee? I don’t know what you are talking about but it doesn’t sound like a slurpee to me.

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The only decent fountain Coke I’ve been able to find is at McDonald’s. It’s consistently decent, too. Everything else I’ve had has been sometimes good, usually yukky. I don’t understand it, either.

Lynn Bodoni writes:
{Well, actually, I can think of something else…getting a cup of Mountain Dew!
(I’m not a Mountain Dew fan, as you might have guessed.}

Oh yeah, well…well…more Mountain Dew for me then. :slight_smile: I’m addicted to it’s powers.

Confusious Say:
-Man who stand on toilet,
Is high on pot-

Ah, Mountain Dew, nectar of the gods. I go through a case every couple of weeks or so. This is actually a lot less than I used to drink; it’s been a long time since I’ve had caffeine-induced heart palpitations, for one thing. :wink:

I agree that Dew from a fountain is usually substandard. This is a near-constant source of irritation to me. I’ve had the best luck in very crowded restaurants, especially the always-packed Taco Bell near my office; I’m not really sure why.

Of course I don’t fit in; I’m part of a better puzzle.