REVIEW: Coca-Cola Zero Sugar (2021)

Coca Cola Zero Sugar  2021 Can

If you’re thinking, “Wait, didn’t Coca-Cola juuuuuuuuuuuuuuuust reformulate Coke Zero Sugar?” Yes, it did back in 2017, when it also went from being called Coca-Cola Zero (cool name) to Coca-Cola Zero Sugar (not that cool of a name for some reason).

But a better question to ask is, “Why did Coca-Cola reformulate Coke Zero Sugar again?” Well, apparently, it found a way to make it “more delicious.” Coca-Cola says this updated Zero Sugar version uses the same recipe that’s been available in Europe and Latin America.

But the previous version here in the US was quite delicious and one of my go-to beverages whenever I need some thirst quenching. I don’t think there was anything wrong with it, but tiger parent Coca-Cola thinks there is. However, I’d like to point out that it doesn’t have a good track record when it comes to messing with its core products.

Exhibit A: New Coke.

Exhibit B: Diet Coke with Splenda.

Exhibit C: New Coke.

After comparing both Zero Sugar formulations, I have to say I prefer the old version over the new version. They both come close to tasting like regular Coke, but… ** RECORD SCRATCH **

Okay, so I wrote many words about how I thought the 2021 formulation isn’t as good, but I wrote all of that after drinking one can. However, I deleted almost all of those words because after going back and forth between two more cans of both formulas, I now believe this new one is “more delicious.”

Coca Cola Zero Sugar  2021 Glass

Again, they both have that not quite original Coke flavor. But the new formula makes the artificial sweeteners in the older version stand out a bit more, particularly in the aftertaste. That difference makes this new cola have a flavor that’s more like a regular soda.

Also, not only does this one tastes better, this updated can looks better than the previous red, black, and white design.

Coca Cola Zero Sugar  2021 Designs

Look, unless there’s some crazy New Coke reaction to this where sales completely plummet or the number of signatures on a change.org petition to bring back the old Coca-Cola Zero Sugar reaches six figures, I don’t see a return to the previous recipe. Of course, I’m fine with that because I think this is better. But I’d also be okay if anything I mentioned above causes the old one to return.

Thanks to Impulsive Buy reader, Spotted photo sender, and Coca-Cola Zero Sugar drinker Robbie, for sending me a few cans of the new formula. He prefers the older version over the new one.

Purchased Price: Received from reader
Size: 12 oz can
Purchased at: Sam’s Club
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (12 fl oz) 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 40 milligrams of sodium, 0 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Coca-Cola with Coffee (Dark Blend and Vanilla)

Coca Cola with Coffee  U S Cans

The cans of Coca-Cola with Coffee tell me they have great Coca-Cola taste blended with rich, luxurious coffee.

In less flashy terms, it is a coffee-flavored soda containing real coffee powder for a uniquely fizzy hybrid beverage. I’ll be reviewing the Dark Blend and Vanilla flavors, but there will also be a caramel one when these debut nationwide in early 2021.

I am a coffee lover and a soda lover, so I’m absolutely pumped to experience their love child months before the official release. Both have a nice fizz and the signature dark brown color of regular cola. Each one also starts off with a very familiar Coca-Cola taste.

Coca Cola with Coffee  U S Vanilla

It’s interesting as the beginning just tastes like cola, but then each one transforms. The vanilla one brings in some creaminess towards the end, but I’m not sure where the coffee is. I can maybe taste it if I really think about it. This one pretty is much like Coca-Cola Vanilla. It’s good, but the coffee flavor is kind of lost amongst the cola and vanilla.

I was underwhelmed with the vanilla version, but boy oh boy does the Dark Blend make up for it. After trying it, I can confirm the coffee flavor is scarce in the Vanilla variety because this one contains such great coffee essence.

Coca Cola with Coffee  U S Dark Blend

The beverage starts off cola-y and morphs into a fizzy roasted coffee drink. If you have ever had an imported Italian coffee soda, it actually tastes like a lighter, Coke-flavored version of those. The flavor was pretty intense upon first sip but then lessened a bit the more I guzzled down. This may not be the best drink to wash down a burger and fries because of the flavor mashup. But as a late morning/early afternoon drink or in the heat when cold brew is not an option, it would be absolutely phenomenal. YUM!

It also likely won’t 100% replace your favorite go-to soda or satisfy your coffee fix whenever you need it (it has 69 mg of caffeine, more than a regular cola but less than a cup of joe). But overall, it is a darn good drink to add to your rotation.

There is a pretty well-known saying of Everything Old is New Again. Well, here we are again, as this drink follows Coca-Cola Blak and Pepsi Kona from years past that failed to light the world on fire. So it is not a brand new idea by any means, but maybe 2020 can be the year when cola coffee finally becomes a drink staple. Not to mention that a version of this beverage has been making the rounds internationally for the past few years.

Coca Cola with Coffee  U S Ingredients

One odd thing about this beverage is the sugar content. Not only is it a hybrid with flavors, but it is also a hybrid on the sweetener scale because it contains high fructose corn syrup, sucralose, and acesulfame potassium. I don’t think the taste is impacted as it doesn’t taste too heavy like a soda or too sweet/fake like a diet one. However, it does worry me that it may put off those that exclusively drink one or the other.

Ever wonder what a mixture of Coca-Cola and coffee would taste like? Or are you tired of the fruity-flavored colas and want to quench your thirst with something new? Come January 2021, you are in luck. But skip the Vanilla version and reach for the Dark Blend one for a deliciously unique coffola (It should have a fun name, like a celebrity couple) experience. Maybe we can make it stick around this time!

DISCLOSURE: I received a free sample of the product. (Thanks, Coke!) Doing so did not influence my review.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 12 fl oz cans
Purchased at: Received as part of the Coca-Cola Insiders Club
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Vanilla), 9 out of 10 (Dark Blend)
Nutrition Facts: (1 Can) Both flavors have identical nutrition facts – 70 calories, 0 grams of fat, 40 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 18 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Coca-Cola Tic Tac

Limited Edition Coca Cola Tic Tac 1

What is Coca-Cola Tic Tac?

Let’s be real, a Coca-Cola flavored Tic Tac might seem pretty bizarre, but “things go better with a Coke.”

How is it?

As someone who has consciously tried to curb my soda intake, I gotta say, it’s nice to get that cola flavor back in my life in any form.

I actually have an exact flavor match in mind, and I’m going to try to explain it.

It’s definitely Coke, but it’s not as powerful and sweet as taking a swig of the soda itself.

Limited Edition Coca Cola Tic Tac in Tin

You know when you pour a fresh Coca-Cola over ice, and then take that first fizzy effervescent sip where the little bubbles explode out of the glass and onto your nose? It’s like a slightly watered down, extra carbonated form of what’s to come. That is the flavor of these Tic Tacs.

Does that make sense?

These “mints” taste like they’re about 80% of the way to true Coca-Cola flavor.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Limited Edition Coca Cola Tic Tac Closeup

They’re addicting. I’ve always been a four Tic Tacs at once kinda guy, but I found myself, perhaps unironically, drinking these straight from the bottle.

I couldn’t find these at Target, so I had to buy them on eBay. That’s how irresistible the rattle of Coca-Cola Tic Tacs was for me. I may have paid a bit more, but I’m not mad about it.

Conclusion:

I’d say these are just on the cusp of being a top tier Tic Tac. Orange Mint and the first two seconds of Peppermint (when they taste like vanilla) will forever be the kings.

These might seem like strange bedfellows, but if you want Coca-Cola flavored candy with a very subtle mint finish, you know where to look. Who knows, by the time you find these, there might also be Pepsi Altoids and RC Certs.

If you’re lucky enough to have them on hand, Tic Tacs can also be used in TikToks. Why not add a little maraca to your awful dance videos?

Eh, I’m playing. At least you’re having fun. Stay safe.

Purchased Price: $7.50 (These are $3.49 at Target, btw)
Size: 3.4 oz.
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 Mint) 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of sodium, 0 grams of total carbohydrates, “a trivial amount” of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Coca-Cola Energy Zero Sugar

Coca-Cola Energy Zero Sugar and Zero Sugar Cherry

Like many dumb kids from the 80s, one of my favorite sodas – much to my parents’ chagrin – was the now-legendary Jolt Cola. Appearing infrequently and in different incarnations over the past few years — as chewing gum even, if I remember correctly – they’ve never been able to recapture that shaky soda feeling that was very much part of the whole experience.

Now, probably about twenty years too late, Coca-Cola is dropping its official entry into the energy drink movement with, of course, Coca-Cola Energy. Loaded with around 114 milligrams of caffeine — that’s comparable with a 12 oz. can of Red Bull, natch — the flavors not only come in original and cherry but in sugar and sugar-free options as well. Something for everyone!

Still, with all the caffeine I ingested over the past few hours, you bet your sweet ass I went with the sugar-free selections.

Coca Cola Energy Zero Sugar Closeup

Typically I’m more of a Diet Coke drinker than a Coke Zero fanboy, so it’s always a bit jolting — no pun intended — to have the close-to-original flavor of Coke coating my tongue once again with Coca-Cola Energy Zero Sugar. With none of the guarana aftertaste that sullies most energy drinks, the mixture of caffeine and b-vitamins is mostly undetectable.

But, sadly, they maybe were a little too undetectable. I was not feeling that rush of energy, that second-wind that sweeps through my person whenever I down a Sugar-Free Red Bull, for example. It was a bit disappointing. I almost feel like I could have had about two Diet Cokes with the same basic effect.

Coca Cola Energy Zero Sugar Cherry Closeup

I figured that with no change in my typical alertness, it was the perfect time to try the Zero Sugar Cherry, which has more of a bite than Cherry Coke Zero or Diet Cherry Coke. While this variation is definitely tastier than the regular Coca-Cola Energy Zero Sugar, a little still goes a long way and I had to quickly swig the last half down.

The energy drink has a cinnamon-like flair that reminds me of the recent holidays and Christmases of long ago, like a liquidly Dickens ghost. Sadly, this spectre is still not the kinetic wave I was promised. Instead, it’s an artificially-flavored energy letdown.

Maybe, like an addict who needs harsher, more dangerous drugs to get off, I’ve spent so much of my life downing these lightning bolts of fraudulent energy that these Coca-Cola products don’t work for me.

Regardless, I’m glad Coke slapped its name on these products and threw them on the shelves. But, you know, when it comes to name-brand sodas dipping their toes in this business, you still can’t go wrong with those Mountain Dew Game Fuel drinks.

Purchased Price: $1.79 each
Size: 12 fl. oz. cans
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 5 out of 10 (both)
Nutrition Facts: (12 fl. oz.) 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 40 milligrams of sodium, 0 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Coca-Cola Apple (Japan)

Coca Cola Apple  Japan

While we’re able to rot our teeth here in the States with Coca-Cola Cinnamon, those in Japan have been able to rot their teeth with Coca-Cola Apple. The fruity-flavored cola follows Coca-Cola Peach, which came out in Japan earlier this year.

Oooh, what would a Coca-Cola Cinnamon and Coca-Cola Apple mix taste like?

My friend Melissa picked up this bottle for me during her trip to Japan because I begged her to. She also tried it once she got back to her hotel and iMessaged me that she couldn’t taste any apple.

When I finally got the bottle of Coca-Cola Apple (and a bag of roasted chicken Lay’s she bought for me during her 2018 trip to France), I was expecting my taste buds to experience what hers did.

When I twisted off the cap and took a whiff, I could easily detect apple under the cola aroma. Then I took a sip. To be honest, I didn’t get any apple flavor with that first one. So after taking a second sip, I let the carbonated beverage sit in my mouth and swished it around like it was Coca-Listerine.

I imagine those of you in the dental field are screaming “NO” at your screen. But it was worth it because now I could notice the fruit with every sip. (I don’t know why that worked.) It tastes like a combination of Coca-Cola with more than a splash of apple juice. It’s mild, and I didn’t get it at first, so I can understand how my dear wonderful, smart, and beautiful friend who bought me this bottle and is probably reading this review, wasn’t able to notice it.

Now, I don’t know if this contains apple juice because I can’t read the ingredients list, despite many years of C’s in Japanese language classes. But it sure tastes like it does, which makes this cola quite pleasing to me.

But if you want to obtain an apple-flavored Coca-Cola the expensive way ($12-$15), you can do so by picking it up via eBay or from an online Japanese snack seller, like NapaJapan or J-List. Or you can pick it up the super expensive way, by flying to Japan.

Coca-Cola Apple is definitely not worth getting via the super expensive route, but, because it tastes like it has apple juice, it might be possible to recreate it at home, if you can figure out the right Coke-to-juice ratio. I think it’s an experiment worth trying.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 500 ml bottle
Purchased at: Somewhere in Japan
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (100 ml) 46 kcal, 0 grams of protein, 11.4 grams of carbohydrates, and 0 grams of salt.