View Full Version : Results of Cola Taste Test

05-17-2006, 10:55 AM
The results are in from our workplace Cola Taste Test. We did it as a blind taste test to hopefully keep out preconceived notions. Same deal as the orange sodas, after we tasted them we cast ballots with our top three and bottom three. Based on the number of ballots that the colas appeared on, there was a clear-cut winner with Pepsi coming out on top with six of nine ballots and four #1 rankings, followed by Kosher for Passover Coke and RC. Coke Classic only made it onto 3 ballots, but was top-ranked on two of those. Shasta, a bargain brand, had a pretty good showing also. Every one of the nine colas made it onto at least one ballot:


Brand (No. of top 3 ballots; #1 rankings; Highest rank)

Pepsi (6; 4; 1)
K-P Coke (6; 1; 1)
RC (4; 1; 1)
Coke Classic (3; 2; 1)
Shasta (3; 1; 1)
Jolt (2; -; 2)
Boylan Cane (1; -; 2)
Soho (1; -; 2)
Cricket (1; -; 3)

There were two clear-cut winners for worst, with Cricket Cola with Green Tea (it was so different tasting it may not have been a fair entrant) coming in on seven of nine ballots with three last place votes, and Soho with five of nine ballots and five last place votes. Boylan Sugar Cane got the remaining last place vote. In somewhat of a suprise (to me, anyway), Coke Classic came in on three of the bottom three ballots. It and RC had the greatest amount of variation:


Brand (No. of bottom 3 ballots; #9 rankings; Lowest rank)

Cricket (7; 3; 9)
Soho (5; 5; 9)
Jolt (4; -; 8)
Boylan Cane (3; 1; 9)
RC (3; -; 8)
Coke Classic (3; -; 8)
Shasta (2; -; 7)

Next up: Root Beer. It will have to be a two-parter, because I think we have at least 18 different root beers at this point and two more arriving with my sister-in-law on Memorial Day.

05-17-2006, 11:05 AM
See that! Pepsi steals this blind taste test with 67% of the vote! Go Blue!

05-17-2006, 12:23 PM
These are great posts. I’m looking forward to the root beer taste test.

Rob The SURGE Drinker
05-17-2006, 12:32 PM
haha, i doubt you will be having Grays rootbeer in there? proabaly not, but its a Janesville made rootbeer that is very good, IMO.

Mr Zabe
05-17-2006, 12:36 PM
I agree. I enjoy hearing about these kinds of small pols. Great thread!!!

05-17-2006, 12:40 PM
You send us some of that Root Beer (Grays) or tell us how we can get it and we will add it to our testing. Thanks

Rob The SURGE Drinker
05-17-2006, 01:03 PM
allright, lets see... ooh, the store at their website is under construction, theres here: http://www.sodaking.com/product_info.php/products_id/994?osCsid=2ccc6e8ab66f2fe53b4be721ef9ff21a but their faq says it can take up to 3 weeks for them to assemble your order. if you send me some green, i could get some out to you quicker than that...

[ 05-17-2006, 01:08 PM: Message edited by: Rob The SURGE Drinker ]

05-17-2006, 01:07 PM
Rob - no Gray's, but the Badger State is represented by Point Premium and Sprecher's. Never knew Wisconsin was such a root beer mecca until we started looking into them - Burghoff, Blumer's, Gray's, Sprecher's, Point, Baumeister's etc. Maryland produced Frostie, but it sold out long ago. Like bluredoasis said, if we can find 'em, we'll try 'em. Our list so far is:

1. A&W
3. MUG
5. IBC
11. HANK'S
12. DAD'S
15. ROOT 66
16. CHOWNINGS TAVERN (Williamsburg, VA)
18. TOM'S DRIVE-IN (my homebrew)

05-17-2006, 01:51 PM
now do a cirtus soda test

Ram0n C0keah0lic
05-17-2006, 01:55 PM
KP Coke in second and Coke Classic in fourth?? I'm not agree...

05-17-2006, 03:09 PM
I'll let you know;
I would love to try Grays;
but as you see from our Root Beer List, we have a lot of Sodas to try.
I've seen many sites in which you can order, but after awhile it can get expensive.
I recently ordered Dublin Dr. Pepper (Great Soda), after the Shipping Costs it was a little expensive, so we'll see;
(Again-at later date yes we would and will try harder to find Root Beers and other sodas)
Next Up after Root Beer is Grape, and we have alot to go after on this subject also..

Rob The SURGE Drinker
05-17-2006, 03:16 PM
grays does make a lot of sodas, not just rootbeer. they have a grape, cream, strawberry

DJ HawaiianShirt
05-17-2006, 09:59 PM
I would say that neither Cricket Cola nor Boylan's Cane Cola should be lumped into the generic cola category. Both are formulae that offer something a little different.

05-17-2006, 11:01 PM
don't sweat it, ramon. we all know what the #1 cola is. ;)

Originally posted by Ramón Cokeaholic:
KP Coke in second and Coke Classic in fourth?? I'm not agree...

05-18-2006, 06:58 AM
here's an exceprt from wikipedia.com about taste tests:

Taste-test issues:

In talks, and his book Blink, author Malcolm Gladwell relates his conversations with market researchers in the food industry who put most of the blame for the failure of New Coke on the flawed nature of taste tests. They claim most are subject to systematic biases.

Tests such as the Pepsi Challenge were what are called in the industry "sip tests," meaning that drinkers were given small samples (less than a can or bottle's worth) to try out. Gladwell contends that what people say they like in these tests may not reflect what they will actually buy to sit at home and drink over a week or so. [4] Carol Dollard, who once worked in new product development for Pepsi, told Gladwell, "I've seen many times where the sip test will give you one result and the home-use test will give you the exact opposite."[5]

Gladwell reports that other market researchers have criticized Coke for not realizing that much of its success as a brand came from what they call sensation transference, a phenomenon first described by marketer Louis Cheskin in the late 1940s: tasters unconsciously add their reactions to the drink's packaging into their assessment of the taste[6]. For example, one of the researchers told Gladwell that his firm's research had found 7-Up drinkers offered a sample from a bottle with a distinctly more yellowish label believe the flavor to be more lemony, although it wasn't.[7]

In Coke's case, it is alleged that buyers, subject to sensation transference, were "tasting" the red color of the container and distinctive Coca-Cola script as much as the drink itself. It was thus, in their opinion, a mistake to focus solely on the product and its taste. "The mistake Coke made," said Darrel Rhea, an executive with the firm Cheskin founded, "was in attributing their loss in share entirely to the product"[8]. He points to Pepsi's work in establishing a youth-oriented brand identity from the 1960s onward[9] as having more bearing on its success.

05-18-2006, 10:04 AM
DJ Haw, Ramon & Popo,
I agree with you that Cricket & Boylan should not be lumped in the same category with other generic sodas, but what we were doing was a sampling of different type of colas(that we could find), getting an idea from a "blind sip test" what people prefered or liked, people already have their opinions on which soda they like or what their taste buds are use to. We just wanted to see and expose all of us to other tastes. (& will continue this with the Root Beer Sampling)
Most people are acustomed to the major soda company taste, so Cricket & Boylan come up short (sadly), but it's a exposure of those differences.
As far as which Cola is number 1, sales say Coca-Cola, yes, but who cares, it's not what others like, it's what you personally like, isn't it? Again there are so many other colas or sodas out there that we should try those different ones and enlight ourselfs.

DJ HawaiianShirt
05-20-2006, 01:26 PM
That makes sense. I agree it's useful to test the other colas amid the mainstream ones just to see how they stack up.

Because when you come home tired and thirsty, a Cricket Cola or Boylan's is the last thing you'd want to crack open and gulp.

[ 05-20-2006, 07:02 PM: Message edited by: DJ HawaiianShirt ]

05-20-2006, 02:05 PM
the nice thing about coke and pepsi is that you can get them anywhere, and you know what you're getting.

they're dependable.

as for "sip tests"... many researchers have argued that they are innacurate because they don't actually measure how people actually drink soda (by the glass/can/bottle... and/or with food).

so, while something may taste good/refreshing when sampled in a small sip... if you had to drink a whole can of it... you might actually prefer something else (perhaps, something less sweet... or less acidic... etc).

i mean, almost everyone out there has tasted coke and pepsi enough to know which one they prefer... based on how they drink it, and with what. so why should a sip in a supermarket determine someone's preference more than real life experience?

just something to think about.

Mr Zabe
05-20-2006, 02:09 PM
I thought about it and I agree with you.
Very well said. There is a psycodynamic happening of how,when and why we drink soda pops.

Why...when I feel down or pissed off....I reach for a nice caffeinated cola (Pepsi). Call it comfort drinking. How and when are obvious. LOL

05-20-2006, 02:10 PM
just one more comment/example.

suppose someone is given a sip test of two red wines. one is smooth and fruity, the other drier and more acidic.

in a blind taste test, one might prefer one. but... with a steak and baked potato, the same person might prefer the other. and with pizza... something else, etc.

i think the same holds true with coke and pepsi.

Mr Zabe
05-20-2006, 02:12 PM
For us Soda Pop Freaks, absolutly. LOL

DJ HawaiianShirt
05-20-2006, 07:10 PM
Originally posted by popologist:
i mean, almost everyone out there has tasted coke and pepsi enough to know which one they prefer... based on how they drink it, and with what.
Mmmm, I disagree with that. Much as with politics, I have very little faith in the public on differentiating what they want and what they think they want.

Coke got scared in the 80s for a reason. It's because people who had "decided" that they like Coke better would choose Pepsi in blind taste tests thinking it was Coke.

I'm not trying to Coke bash, so don't try to whip out some defense. I myself prefer Coke Classic to Pepsi. I'm just saying it's my opinion that given the chance, most people would prefer Pepsi. Pepsico probably believes this too, but they can't crack the impenetrable marketing of CocaCola.

After all, it IS the most recognizable brand on the planet.

05-21-2006, 08:00 AM
well, i'm not denying that more people like/choose pepsi in "sip tests." even coke came to the same result.

and i'll also agree that people drink soda for more reasons than just the taste. I, for example, have never liked pepsi's mean-spirited advertising (i.e. the diet coke can getting crushed in the latest diet pepsi ad with jackie chan). it seems juvenile and is a turn-off to me. also, i'm not sure if this is true in all areas, but... a lot of people (coke drinkers) consider pepsi to be a "second rate" cola... just for the fact that... a long, long time ago... it was sold for a lot cheaper than coke, and, also, because coke is the "original."

the whole "new coke" fiasco kind of cemented that whole idea as well. when coke was doing market testing for new coke, they discovered that people didn't really care if pepsi changed its flavor, but many surveyed said they'd be very upset if coke did (and we all know the story after that).

so, yes... DJHawaii, you're definitely right that it's not all about taste.

but i think there's also truth to the argument that sip tests are also flawed in the sense that they don't measure how people actually drink soda (8-12 ounces at a time, or with different foods).

05-22-2006, 09:52 AM
Again it's a "SAMPLE" taste test, sampling different types of sodas, to EXPOSE ourselfs to different types of tastes. Yes a "sip test" only gives you a sample, but it's not science, people do form their opinions based on what their taste buds say, even if they only get a sampling, yes?
If you sample different wines, etc; same thing, you would have a preference. REMEMBER you can't "sample" 8 whole cans/bottles of soda, I don't think anyone can drink that much..
We will do this again with a Root Beer sampling and again with a Grape sampling.

05-22-2006, 09:56 AM
Also I think you are thinking to hard on this subject, it's only a simple sampling, it's not going to effect what the public will do.
This is only to get an idea of what is out there and what we might like, etc..

DJ HawaiianShirt
05-22-2006, 10:40 AM
I also think Popo is trying to defend Coke a little too much. Why bother? Different people like different things. smile.gif

But I'm not surprised. Soda fanboyism is a common occurrence on these boards. :rolleyes:

05-22-2006, 11:26 AM
I agree
It's OK to like Coke;
and I understand that drinking a whole bottle of anything will get you a better idea in how you like something, agreed.
I myself will admit a "chilled bottle" of anything (or your favorite soda) does wonders (or is it in my mind);
A bottle possibly is better than a can, etc;
but what we did was just an experiment in NEW & old tastes and what we prefered in that.
Coke is the world's top seller, so, I like Pepsi, I also like Boylan's Cane and I also like tryin different things, either by sampling or drinking (if I can get) the whole thing. In the BIG picture is does not matter, you and we have our preferences and that's ok-but tryin new things is a mind-opening plus.........

05-31-2006, 03:46 PM
Originally posted by popologist:
also, i'm not sure if this is true in all areas, but... a lot of people (coke drinkers) consider pepsi to be a "second rate" cola... just for the fact that... a long, long time ago... it was sold for a lot cheaper than coke, and, also, because coke is the "original."
Second Rate? LOL! Hmm...I forget...who changed their cola formula in the 80's and why? Oh, to be more like a second rate product...ironic isn't it! :D And to your second point - why would Pepsi have been cheaper in the early days?? Hmm..to get the brand established perhaps? To create some buzz with the public? More soda for less money...seems like smart marketing to me! Either way, DJ is right...different people like different things and there's no point arguing about a "sip" test versus drinking a 2 liter at home. You like Coke, I like Pepsi...and that's great for everyone. Competition and hardcore brand loyalists is what keeps both companies and the cola wars going strong! GO BLUE!

[ 06-01-2006, 02:17 PM: Message edited by: CStoreCatMan ]