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Case Closed: This Is the Cola Brand That Tastes the Best

Coke vs. Pepsi is one of the most heated debates in foodie history. We tried these brands, plus six others, in a cola taste test to put this argument to bed.

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The Coke vs. Pepsi debate

It seems like the Coke vs. Pepsi debate is one that will never be solved. Everyone has their favorite and they tend to stick to it. But, when was the last time you actually tried the other brand? Did you always just drink what the people you grew up with drank, or have you actually tried both and decided that one is far superior? Get to the bottom of the real flavor difference between Pepsi and Coke.

Our sister site, Taste of Home, set out to find some clarity. They formed a panel of Taste of Home testers to give all of the brands a try. For this blind test, they gave eight cola brands a try:

  • Blue Sky Cola
  • Coca-Cola
  • Coca-Cola, Mexican-style (there is a difference!)
  • Faygo Cola
  • Fentimans Curiosity Cola
  • Pepsi
  • RC Cola
  • Sam’s Cola (from Walmart)

Let’s see how all these colas stacked up and settle the debate (hopefully) for good!

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Honorable mention (small brand): Blue Sky

Score: 7/10

Natural brand Blue Sky definitely deserves a mention in this test. It was the only high ranking cola tested that’s sweetened with real cane sugar (not corn syrup). Plus, this beverage is made with just five ingredients. Of course, it’s still a soft drink so it’s not healthy, but it seems like the slightly better option if you’re more concerned about what goes into your more indulgent treats.

Flavor-wise, this cola was unique. Testers definitely got that traditional caramel-cola taste, but with a hint of vanilla. In fact, a few testers said it tasted like a cola-root beer hybrid. Sounds good to me!

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Honorable mention (major brand): Pepsi

Score: 7.5/10

As one of the big players in the cola game, we imagined Pepsi would place somewhere in the top. Pepsi got good marks when it came to fizz (our lower ranking colas got poor marks for tasting flat, even straight out of the bottle or can). However, Pepsi missed the top honors in the test because it didn’t pack the same level of flavor as other brands and some testers said it had a hint of diet soda taste. We just wanted more out of this one! Find out why soda in general just tastes better in glass bottles.

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Runner-up: Sam’s Choice

Score: 8.8/10

Just shy of the top honor was Sam’s Choice, a Walmart brand. Sam’s Choice got high marks for its refreshing quality and fizziness. A few testers even hazard guesses on their score sheets asking if this was indeed Coke. We can attest that this generic cola definitely had some Coca-Cola-like qualities, but in the end, wasn’t quite as flavorful as the real thing. And find out why the already-delicious Coca-Cola tastes even better at McDonald’s.

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Best in show: Coca-Cola

Score: 8.9/10

As a diehard Coke fan, I can’t say I’m surprised by these results! Coca-Cola blew past Pepsi and squeaked past a darn good generic to take the top spot in this test. Coke got high marks for its just-perfect carbonation, nice sweet flavor, and overall refreshing quality. This is how cola is supposed to taste. (By the way—did you know Mexican Coke tastes different than American Coke?)

Now, you might be thinking that this panel was loaded with Coke fans, but in reality, even the self-proclaimed Pepsi-lovers on the panel ranked Coke highest in this blind test! Believe us, they were pretty shocked when the brands were unveiled. Find out the real reason the Coca-Cola logo is red.

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The takeaways

While the biggest name in cola won this test, the major takeaway here was that you shouldn’t leave your personal preferences untested. Like we said, in this test Pepsi fans were surprised by how much more they enjoyed the sample of Coke. However, fans of Mexican Coke (that’s Coca-Cola made with sugar cane instead of corn syrup) were also surprised that when tested blindly, they didn’t care for it that much. In the end, this was one of those tests that broke down a lot of misconceptions for us. Next, read about these soda secrets Coca-Cola isn’t telling you.

Taste of Home
Originally Published on Taste of Home