Weekly Taste Test: How does Coke Life stack up?


From Mexico to Berkeley, sugary soft drinks are under attack via soda taxes meant to combat obesity.

But Coca-Cola, the world’s largest beverage company whose signature product is the poster child for oh-so-refreshing but unhealthy sodas, is not standing pat. Coca-Cola already offers Diet Coke and Coke Zero, marketed as having the same taste as the original, and in 2013 Coke launched Coca-Cola Life, a low-calorie soda sweetened with Stevia extract and cane sugar.

Initially offered in Argentina and Chile, Coke Life had a test run in a few southern states earlier this year and went into nationwide distribution in November. The drink has 60 calories and 16 grams of sugar in an 8-ounce serving, compared to 100 calories and 27 grams of sugar for Coke Classic and nothing but zeroes for Diet Coke and Coke Zero.

How does it compare in the flavor department? At a recent dinner party we had 12 people blind taste test Coke Classic, Diet Coke, Coke Zero and Coke Life to see how the new product stacks up next to its predecessors. Taste testers scored each soda on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 the highest.

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      Coke Classic

      Established: 1886

      Average Flavor Score: 4

      Calories (per 8 oz.): 100

      Sugars (per 8 oz.): 27

      Comments: “The best." "Too sweet." "Nice balance of carbonation and syrup.”

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      Diet Coke

      Established: 1982

      Average Flavor Score: 2.3

      Calories (per 8 oz.): 0

      Sugars (per 8 oz.): 0

      Comments: “Tastes like plastic." "Mmmm, taste the chemicals." "Perfect.”

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      Coke Zero

      Established: 2005

      Average Flavor Score: 2

      Calories (per 8 oz.): 0

      Sugars (per 8 oz.): 0

      Comments: “Tastes like an old nickel." "Decent start with unpleasant aftertaste." "Nasty.”

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      Coke Life

      Established: 2013

      Average Flavor Score: 2.4

      Calories (per 8 oz.): 60

      Sugars (per 8 oz.): 16

      Comments: “Smooth and refreshing." "Inoffensive but bland." "Meh, alright." "Overly carbonated.”

      Tags: Food
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