(Editor’s Note: This guest review come from Aaron, one of the The Soda Jerks. The best way I can describe The Soda Jerks is to compare what they do with what Conan O’Brien did on his old NBC Late Night show. While Conan showcased bands you’ve probably never heard of, The Soda Jerks review sodas you’ve probably never heard of.)
I honestly don’t know what I’m in for with this current review. Let’s just cut to the chase. I have a bottle of Espresso Cola in front of me and it’s a bit unnerving. It’s unnerving because without looking at the ingredients label I can’t even imagine how much caffeine is in this thing. It’s unnerving because I’m not the biggest fan of coffee flavored anything… including coffee. Finally, it’s unnerving because it’s from the makers of Chai Cola and that was a pretty powerful drink in its own right.
The official name of this beverage is Taylor’s Tonics Cafe Azteca Sparkling & Spiced Espresso Cola. That my friends is a name. Even abbreviated the name becomes T.T.C.A.S.A.S.E.C. making it no shorter than the word musketeer. I’m not sure what that proves but you get the example regardless. The label adoring this bottle is sepia through and through, giving the bottle a fake “Old Westerny” feel. Ingredients of T.T.C.A.S.A.S.E.C. are as follows: Sparking water (infused with Fair Trade Coffee, Cocoa, Cinnamon Bark, and Cayenne), Evaporated Cane Juice, Natural Flavors of Vanilla, Mocha, and Spice, Citric Acid, and Natural Caffeine (40mg). That is one impressive, and daunting, ingredient list for a cola. I guess all we can do now is give it a huff.
Let’s crank up the scare factor for Ol’ Aaron just a bit more. This smells just like an iced coffee. I smell no cinnamon, no vanilla, no cocoa… just coffee. I can only hope that the bitter aroma escapes the bottle as the sweet, sweet, flavor rests inside. Here goes something! Let me make sure I take this bottle and “Rock Gently” as the instructions instruct.
WHOA! Too. Many. Flavors. Without taking another sip for the moment I tasted coffee, cinnamon, cayenne, and cocoa in that one sip. They weren’t blended together in a smooth friendly way either. Each of those individual flavors attacked my mouth in a cruel and menacing way. With the second sip, the coffee flavoring seems to have either died down or my taste buds are instantly used to it now. The cinnamon/cayenne acts as if it’s being forced to be consumed and it’s using all its power to not be. It’s tiny nails slide down the back of my throat giving me one of the harshest mouth feels I’ve had in a very long time, if not ever.
The cocoa only comes in at the end of the terrible roller coaster. The cocoa isn’t a nice guy either, not in the slightest. Cocoa is the guy that ruins those roller coaster pictures they sell after the ride. In this case, he’s flipping you off while his friend vanilla seems to be embarrassed to even be there. There they sit behind you and your family, keeping you from owning one of those overpriced memories.
Cafe Azteca tastes as if someone decided to make their own soda with all the ingredients they love but they have no idea how to make soda. “Sure we’ll throw in some coffee, and some cocoa, and maybe a little cayenne. Stir it real good, and WHAMO!”
I’ve now had four sips and winced with each one. I’ve been very aware that this soda isn’t for me for quite some time now. I’m sure Cafe Azteca has a strong market somewhere… probably with people who like coffee soda (all six of them). My stomach is bubbling something fierce, and I really don’t want to drink this anymore. I must suffer and take a fifth sip though. By taking this fifth sip I’ll be able to tell if Cafe Azteca makes me wince five out of five times. Who cares if something happens four out of four times… five is where it’s at! Let’s find out.
I’ve got to be the simplest simpleton on the planet for doing that, of course I winced. Cafe Azteca is one of the top three worst sodas I’ve ever had. I’ve never been to Mexico but it seems that Cafe Azteca is just another way for Montezuma to get his revenge.
Verdict – Do Not Buy!
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