Mexican Coke has a small, but devoted slice of the Coke-drinkers market (a majority love Coca-Cola Classic, there are tons of Diet Coke admirers, and then there are the cherry and vanilla lovers). Mexican Coke uses real cane sugar (instead of the Coke in the U.S. which uses high-fructose corn syrup), and is bottled in small glass bottles—this for some people is all the difference. So much so that when the Mexican bottler of Coca-Cola let it slip that it was considering switching to high-fructose corn syrup to save money, fans of Mexican Coke expressed enough outrage to get the Mexican bottler to stick with cane sugar.
But, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, it’s a myth that Mexican Coke tastes better:
It would seem the two colas made by the same giant beverage conglomerate are distinct enough for consumers to prefer one over the other—and pay a premium. At my local bodega in Brooklyn, a 12-ounce bottle is $1.50, the same as a 20-oz. bottle of the American stuff. Some describe the Mexican version to be crisper and fizzier, with a hint of root beer. A Coca-Cola spokeswoman, Kerry Tressler, points to company research showing no perceptible difference in taste. Maybe it just seems better from a cold glass bottle in place of the plastic and aluminum prevalent in the U.S.?
It really might be the experience of drinking the soda from a glass, at least according to Mexican Coke lovers. A commenter from the story argues:
Most of the “better taste” factor with MexiCoke comes from it being in glass bottles instead of cans or plastic. Bring back glass!
I have to admit that I too have always thought that the cane sugar in Mexican Coke made it taste better than the high-fructose Coca-Cola Classic bottled in plastic in the U.S. The sweetness of American Coke is cloying, I’ve thought, perhaps, incorrectly. A grocery store near me sells both versions. Perhaps I’ll have to do a side-by-side taste test to find out for sure.
Photo: Adam Bartlett