I love Coca-Cola. For some reason, when it comes to my choice of cola or brown fizzy beverages, I will always choose your basic Coke. It has a subtle sweetness to it with a more mature flavor then the sugar infused Pepsi. Whether it be at a McDonald’s drive-thru or a backyard barbecue, Coca-Cola is almost always my first choice (behind Dr. Pepper).
Never did I expect it to pair so well with coffee.
My morning commute to school has been brightened by two billboards as of late: the first being the absurd combination of mac and cheese inside a bread bowl at Panera, which always makes me laugh. The second was an ad for Coca-Cola with Coffee, which as the title states, is simply your basic Coke mixed with freshly brewed coffee and then chilled.
Now I’m a fan of coffee, but I’m no expert, so when I thought about doing this review, I instantly knew who to contact: my dear friend and coffee connoisseur Mr. Stephen Deves.
At my local Schnucks I picked up all three flavors that were available so far: Dark Blend, Vanilla, and Caramel. After sitting securely in the Campus Ministry fridge over Easter break, the three cans were finally brought out into the light during junior / senior lunch when Mr. Deves and I did our taste test.
Starting with what we assumed would be the “base flavor,” we cracked open the Dark Blend and poured it into our individual cups. After we cheered, clinked plastic, and sipped, we were both pleasantly surprised.
“You get that initial carbonated bite of a cola, the taste of coffee, and then it resides with cola,” said Deves. “The coffee is short-lived after a couple seconds, but it’s still good.”
As Mr. Deves said perfectly in his quote, we both thought that the Dark Blend flavor perfectly matched the flavors, scents, and enjoyments of a coke stirred in with some dark coffee. It wasn’t too bitter and not too sweet. For what we were expecting, it was perfect.
Next, we tried the Vanilla can, and while we both enjoyed its contents, we both agreed on its one fatal flaw: it tastes exactly like Vanilla Coke. While you could smell a hint of coffee, the flavor was nonexistent, completely overshadowed by the harmony of vanilla and Coke. While it was not bad by any means, it did not have the unique flavor and aroma of the Dark Blend.
Lastly, we tried the Caramel can. Neither of us were very excited since there is no precedent of a Caramel Coke to compare it with (and the lack of caramel-flavored sodas in general), so we both poured and sipped this auburn looking concoction with hesitation.
While we did pour and drink the caramel flavor the most, it was not for any of the right reasons. Instead, we kept sipping more and more to compare them with previous flavors and to find out why we liked it the least out of all three flavors. The conclusion we came down to was simple: the caramel flavor tasted fake, almost manufactured or artificial, and when in combination with coffee, it brought out all the bad flavors of both. It essentially tasted like burnt coffee. Mr. Deves and I both agreed that if we were to sip it blindfolded, we would not be able to distinctly label it as a caramel flavor since it was such a weird sensation. The bitterness of the coffee didn’t merge well with the fake sweetness of caramel, and the aroma was also not appealing in the slightest. We both knew that we would never buy this flavor again.
For our official rankings, we came up with two brackets: the first being overall flavor, taste, and enjoyment; the second being a word we came up with on the spot: “coffeeness.” For this category we did our best to compare how much did each flavor actually taste, smell, and feel like coffee. While the end result of each ranking was different, they both defined a clear winner out of all three flavors.
3rd Place: Caramel
2nd Place: Vanilla
1st Place: Dark Blend
3rd Place: Vanilla
2nd Place: Caramel
1st Place: Dark Blend
Additionally, Mr. Deves and I agreed upon three flavors that we would like to see added to the collection: Mocha (aka chocolate, which we were very sad to see did not get released while the caramel did), Hazelnut (as I am a big fan of hazelnut flavored coffee), and for the upcoming fall season, Pumpkin Spice (because why the hell not).
So if you’re at your local gas station or grocery center and you’re looking for a good change to your standard coffee or soda, look no further than the Dark Blend can of Coca-Cola with Coffee, and quickly look past the other two flavors. And remember, don’t just take my word for it, listen to the man, the myth, the coffee legend himself, Mr. Stephen Deves.
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