View Full Version : Why does the same drink taste different everywhere you go?

04-27-2004, 03:06 AM
I've been told some restaurants and bars can choose to order higher cost Coke/Pepsi syrups. BUT I’ve never seen proof of it. It’s my guess that the difference would be sugar versus corn syrup, but nobody I ask ever has an answer. Why is it that sometimes the sodas taste SO MUCH BETTER at certain restaurants and the same branded drink tastes completely wrong someplace else??

When I worked at a bar a few years back, we had occasional customer complaints that our Coke didn’t taste right. It was true in a way, it tasted too sweet, kind of artificial (for Coke) and not enough like Coke was “supposed” to taste. We figured it was because we had a lot of high society people accustomed to REALLY high shelf bars, and our Coke mixture must be lower quality in some way.. After parties we would try mixing it ourselves from the bar tap, lots of syrup, then very little, then tapping the syrup into bottled soda waters, taking it directly from the syrup box.. Always comparing it to a canned Coke or a Coke in a bottle.. Nothing fixed the slightly-off taste of the fountain drink. Thing is it wasn’t really *bad* tasting, it tasted like cheap coke from a cheap restaurant usually does. We figured it must be the syrup. It all brought up the question of why does Coke taste different at different places?.. There was our Coke, the McDonald’s Coke down the street (which was better tasting than ours) and then that eternal mystery of why some random restaurants serve fountain soda that tastes SO GOOD it’s even better than the bottled stuff. You can’t stop raving about how good the drink is and have to order ten refills.. But they never can give any clues as to why their soda is so much better.

I’ve heard of “Mexican Coke”, but never had to special order anything to get the freakish raving good Coke.. And I just read about Kosher soda here, which maybe answers the question as to why those Cokes at the Bar Mitzvah we catered were crazy good too… But we don’t have any good answers to the mystery of the varying Cokes.

Same thing happens with Pepsi products too—A Mountain Dew from the Chili’s up the road is better than anything from a can or bottle, it’s amazingly good.. Yet some of the Taco Bell and KFC joints around here are notorious for the WORST tasting Pepsi products you’re likely to find. The stuff doesn’t even resemble Pepsi. The “Mountain Dew” tastes like bathroom cleaner smells. In the few times I’ve had it, I’ve thrown entire full cups of it out. There’s a sweet artificial flowery taste that shouldn’t be there. How can they serve that, and why have they BEEN serving it the same way for years? I’ve noticed the more extreme inconsistencies, sodas that are REALLY bad are more common with the Pepsi products.

OK so then there's my friend who keeps coming back from Secretville Kentucky with these big foot-tall twisty-glass old time refillable earthy looking press-capped bottles of the best Pepsi stuff on earth--real brand names embossed in the glass, but tastes nothing like you get in VA. So what are THEY doing?? Will it ever end???

So what do you have to do to have such grand variations in the end result? Why is consistency so hard to maintain? Is there a SECRET?.. I’m very curious.

Very Curious.

04-28-2004, 03:23 AM
It could be a number of factors, including the quality of the water. Plastic bottles and aluminium cans both end up tasting like the container they're in instead of the soda that's in them. The acids in sodas tend to slowly dissolve the aluminium in the cans, and most plastic bottles aren't washed out after the manufacturing process, leaving a plastic flavor in the soda. It could be that people are so used to the tin or plastic flavor, that they don't remember what Coke tastes like without it. Also, fountain poured sodas aren't always as carbonated as bottled sodas, and carbonation tends to supress the sweetness of a soft drink. A nearly flat Coke will taste sweeter than a highly carbonated Coke.

[ 04-28-2004, 02:26 AM: Message edited by: Shatter ]