Everybody knows that if you purchase regular Coke that comes from Europe or Mexico, it’s going to taste differently because they use regular sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup.
Whether or not that has an actual effect on the taste, is primarily up to you the taster.
However, there are blogs and videos and a podcast devoted to the reasons why Coca Cola that comes in little glass bottles and is reportedly made with real sugar is so much better than the high fructose corn syrup stuff made in the United States.
But that is classic Coca-Cola.
Well, potassium benzoate does add a little bit of bitterness to whatever it’s in.
In fact it is sometimes used as a natural flavoring agent because of this.
We also know that Coca-Cola will change the formulation of its soft drinks depending on the region.
They have said this in numerous interviews. So based on these, we can definitively say that yes, a Diet Coke that you get in Europe will taste differently than a Diet Coke that you get in the United States.
But why is this?
Why does a Diet Coke from McDonalds taste so much better from their fountain than when you pop open a can?
Let’s take a look at those questions.
Diet Coke in Other Countries
Diet Coke was launched in 1982 and was the first-ever Coca-Cola that was available without sugar.
It quickly became the biggest selling low-calorie soft drink in the United States. Once Coca-Cola realized that it had a winner on their hands, they quickly introduced it into other markets, beginning with Great Britain in 1983. Today, Diet Coke is available in over 200 countries.
According to the Coca-Cola website, people will import Coca-Cola and Diet Coke into countries where it isn’t manufactured.
As with Diet Coke that is made in Europe, the formula for Diet Coke in different countries will vary.
One blatant example of this is in Canada, where the ingredient list for Diet Coke includes some things you don’t find in the United States.
Acesulfame-potassium (also known as Ace K) is a calorie-free sweetener that is about 200 times as sweet as normal sugar. However, it has a slightly bitter aftertaste, so it is commonly used in combination with other artificial sweeteners to mask the taste. It has the same sweetness level as aspartame, which makes it easy to mix the two. The individual particles of Ace K and aspartame are the same size as well. By blending the two, aspartame masks the bitter aftertaste of Ace K, and Ace K masks the aftertaste of aspartame.
How Does That Change the Taste?
Acesulfame-potassium (also known as Ace K) is a calorie-free sweetener that is about 200 times as sweet as normal sugar.
However, it has a slightly bitter aftertaste, so it is commonly used in combination with other artificial sweeteners to mask the taste.
It has the same sweetness level as aspartame, which makes it easy to mix the two. The individual particles of Ace K and aspartame are the same size as well. By blending the two, aspartame masks the bitter aftertaste of Ace K, and Ace K masks the aftertaste of aspartame.
And this flavor difference isn’t just for the neighbors to the North.
What About Coke Light?
So Why Coke Light vs Diet Coke?
However, Coca-Cola still manufacturers a diet cola that uses the traditional blend of sweeteners that includes aspartame in those countries, so a different brand name was needed.
So, Coke Light was created as a way to manufacture and bottle that type of diet soda so as not to create confusion over imported sodas that use traditional aspartame sweetening.
People who drink Coke Light say that they love the way it tastes and that it has a much different aftertaste and flavor profile from Diet Coke.
They also mention that Coke Light has a different level of carbonation.
There are users on Reddit and other forums who proclaim their love of Coke Light, so if you ever find yourself somewhere it is sold, you may want to give this different formulation a try.
Fountain Diet Coke vs. Bottles and Cans
Diet Coke is made by combining a concentrated syrup with carbonated water.
The water itself is carbonated on demand in the restaurant.
It’s not like McDonalds or your local gas station have a giant bottle of seltzer water under the counter.
Instead, as they dispense Diet Coke (or any other soda), a giant canister of carbon dioxide pushes gas into the water, creating carbonated water as its needed.
What Makes McDonald’s Coke Taste Better Than Other Coke?
So, the age of the syrup must play a significant part in the taste of a Diet Coke, or why would they bother?
So the next time you’re wondering, yes there is a difference, and yes you will definitely notice it.