Coca-Cola has been the iconic drink of countless American generations. Some even say that Coke, as it is more popularly known across the world is the instrument our nation uses to conquer other countries. It has remained a symbol of American affluence that is copied all over the world. It is such an iconic symbol that movies like “The Gods Must be Crazy” were made to have their stories revolve around a Coke bottle. Nobody ever did that for Pepsi Cola.
I remember my grandparents telling me that Coca-Cola used to be a health tonic that helped ease headaches and provide extra energy with its caffeine content.
These days, it is marketed as a thirst quencher. What with its taste quenching properties, nobody can argue that Coke is definitely the taste that helped shape a nation. Pepsi on the other hand, is a relatively new player in the game and has been trying to take on its giant opponent by playing the underdog in the war that Pepsi has aptly termed the “Cola Wars”.
What is the Cola war? It is a promotional campaign that Pepsi decided to mount in order to try to steal a portion of the fiercely loyal Coke drinking market.
The war that Pepsi mounted is all based on a “Taste Test” or a marketing tool that challenged drinkers to try two unidentified soda drinks and then indicate which one tastes better. Pepsi claims that more often than not, their cola was chosen as the better tasting cola.
Nothing could be further from the truth. In my opinion Coca-Cola will always taste better than Pepsi and you will find out why I strongly believe this in the following paragraphs. I have been a Cola drinker practically all my life. I think one of my first words was actually “Coke” Blame my parents, they introduced me to the drink early on in my life.
I think the first time I drank a Coke was at a carnival my parents took me to. There was no water available and I was thirsty. Coke was the next best thing for me to drink since they too drank the product. For me, Coke has always been the perfect match to any meal I am having. It does not taste as if a whole sack of sugar was poured into the bottle and then watered down with tap water instead of carbonation, which is a trait that Pepsi has. As such, it dulls my taste buds and tends to be the overwhelming taste of even a three-cheese pizza with extra pepperoni on it.
Coke has a gentler effect on my gourmet tongue and has a perfect balance between sweetness and sourness that does not become the dominant flavor of the food. Even when making soft drink cocktails, Coke comes out on top because Pepsi is so sweet that it kills the desired effect of the mixed liquids. Pepsi claimed some time back to be the “Choice of the new generation” in the past. On the contrary, Coke has proven to be the drink of choice for even the youngest of the newest generation because the flavor welcomes you very gently into its fold.
It does not have that bite in the throat that Pepsi often has when you swallow it. No, I do not believe people who say that all colas taste the same. I swear that the colas actually have a variation in flavor possibly due to the sugar content and amount of carbonation used in the production. Pepsi often tastes like a soda left open over night and all the carbonation has evaporated even when chilled. Coke meanwhile, responds much better to my secret mix of soda cocktail. That is a blend of soda water, orange soda, and root beer. Blending in quite perfectly in the mix, Coke enhances instead of sweetens the blend.
The main differences in taste of the two products may also stem from the varying ingredients in both sodas. I took a keen interest in reading the ingredients that go into making the sodas as listed on the side of the beverage cans in order to figure out why Coke tastes better than Pepsi. Coke includes Vanilla while Pepsi indicates Lemon among its components. These are two flavor-enhancing tools that spell a tremendous difference in the final outcome of the soda pop. Coke ends up with a mildly sweeter flavor while Pepsi has that flat, sweet and sour taste that cannot be placed by the discriminating drinker and often times turns people off.
Franchising of Coke and Pepsi all over the world has also produced some very varied flavors that are unique to the franchised country though. But even with the various differences n flavors, Pepsi has never managed to beat Coke in the flavor department. People all over the world still prefer the stylized Coca-Cola instead of the stylized Pepsi Cola. I have friends from Mexico who tell me that the Mexican Coca Cola tastes better than the American version because the Mexican Coca Cola still uses real sugar instead of the fructose corn syrup we use in America.
The reason for the change in flavors of Coke is most likely because of the quality of local production, storage problems, and local water flavor. But everybody drinks it anyway regardless of the flavor when compared to the American version, simply because Coke is an icon and status symbol. In my opinion, Pepsi is attempting to duplicate the flavor and success of Coke. Through the years of the “cola war” that their company declared, they have never been able to rise above the copycat nature of their product.
My male friends and I prefer Pepsi because Pepsi has a sweeter flavor than Coke without the bitter after taste left by the latter on the taste buds. Regular Pepsi really reminds me of diet-cola instead because of the inexplicable after taste. . The Pepsi advocates believe that Coke tastes like cough syrup and a smell that can offend most people. Some people will argue that because Coca-Cola is a 117-year-old international conglomerate, we have all been brainwashed from childhood to prefer Coke instead of Pepsi.
Sure Coke has had some hits and misses with its new flavors like New Coke, Cherry Coke, Zero Coke, etc. , the loyal consumer base of Coke still manages to remain intact. It’s ties with the fast food companies for exclusive rights condition people to believe that it is the better tasting product. I am not saying this is a lie but it is not all truth either. The flavor of regular or Classic Coke is something that has been carefully fine – tuned for over a hundred years in order to keep its consumer base intact as well attract new drinkers to its fold. I can refute the mind conditioning personally.
As a person born with free will and the freedom to choose, I can attest to the fact that Coke is the better choice because it simply tastes better than Pepsi. Sure brand marketing and traditions had some very strong influence on my parents choice of soda that was passed on to me the day I had my first sip of Coca-Cola. Yet, as I was growing up, I had the opportunity to try other brands like Pepsi and see if I could learn to like the taste that was the choice of the manufacturers. I simply could not bring myself to like the flavor. It was rude in my opinion.
It lacked the finesses of the way Coke blends with the flavors of food in my mouth or the way it enhanced the cocktails that my friends and I experimented with. Pepsi simply did not cut it for us. It did not and will never suit my personal tastes and needs. Being too sweet, it will dehydrate me instead of hydrate me on a hot summer day the way Coke would do. I guess what I am trying to say is that Pepsi will always have their own cola die-hards but Coke will forever be cola that has that uniquely American taste that Pepsi will forever try to emulate. This is the flavor that the whole world admires and identifies with the American culture.