REVIEW: Coca-Cola Limited Edition Starlight

Coca Cola Limited Edition Starlight Box

“The taste of limitless possibilities.” “The flavors of unknown stars.” “Tastes like magic.” While Coca-Cola Starlight’s promotional materials are pretty elaborate when it comes to capturing the soda’s galactic aesthetic, they’re surprisingly lax about, well, what it actually tastes like. Fortunately, I’m prepared to take one small step for reviewer, one giant leap for junk food fankind!

Coca Cola Limited Edition Starlight Can

Pouring the drink from its adorably tiny, star-speckled can (it’s also available in the typical 20 oz bottle) into a clear glass showed that it’s as red as Mars. Okay, maybe more of a burgundy, but it’s certainly more colorful than your average Coke. I sampled the full-sugar version, though you can also get Starlight as sugar-free. It had the general taste you’d expect of Coke, simultaneously sweet and bitingly carbonated. However, there’s another note that, much like a UFO, wasn’t possible for me to immediately identify.

Coca Cola Limited Edition Starlight Glass

At first, I wanted to describe it as fruity, but upon further probing, I think that was just the influence of the berry-like hue. Starlight’s unique flavor — which was especially prominent in the aftertaste and even in the soda’s scent — is actually closer to that of a graham cracker. Coca-Cola also notes that a “subtle cooling sensation” is one of this drink’s features. When pressed, I could indeed vaguely identify a chilly feeling similar to when you drink water directly after brushing your teeth with mint toothpaste. But honestly, I didn’t really notice it until I looked for it, so I guess the “subtle” part is right!

Starlight’s theme is a bit unusual for a brand that usually determines flavors by slapping the name of a fruit in front of “Coca-Cola.” But I can make out a train of thought somewhere along the lines of “Space -> stars -> stargazing -> camping -> s’mores -> graham cracker, ergo space flavor = graham cracker.”

It may not be the most intuitive fit, but if you’re willing to think outside the box a little, it works pretty well, and I think the same can be said for Starlight’s taste. While I could still see this offering fitting in well with classic fruity faves like Cherry Vanilla in a Coca-Cola Freestyle Machine, I, for one, praise our Coca-Cola overlords for making a new flavor that defies such simple characterization.

Starlight is also not just tasty but trendy, already rocking collaborations with singer Ava Max and fashion brand Staple. I felt about a million light-years old trying to figure out how to scan my can with my phone camera to pull up an augmented reality concert from a holographic Ms. Max, but the concept had me starry-eyed. Because Starlight’s release coincides with the launch of the new Coca-Cola Creations, a “global innovation platform” that will spotlight an array of Coca-Cola-branded products and experiences both physical and digital, we can expect more innovative flavors and applications to come.

Sadly, like many other stars, Starlight’s time in the limelight is fleeting, as it’s limited edition. Ultimately, I think the combination of curious concept, creative marketing crossovers, and, of course, uniquely yummy taste means it’s well worth jetting off for.

Purchased Price: $7.29
Size: 7.5 oz cans/10 pack
Purchased at: Stop & Shop
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) 90 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 20 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of total carbohydrates, 24 grams of total sugars, 0 grams of fiber, and 0 grams of protein.

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

Update 3/14/22: We also tried the Mocha version! Click here to read our review.

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: 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.

REVIEW: Coca-Cola Cinnamon

Coca Cola Cinnamon

What is Coca-Cola Cinnamon?

Like every other brand, it’s Spice Season over at the Coca-Cola Company. Thankfully for us, it’s opted to add cinnamon to its classic recipe instead of pumpkin.

How is it?

Coca-Cola Cinnamon smells and tastes like someone added about a teaspoon of cinnamon powder to a bottle of Coke. I wouldn’t say it’s subtle, but it’s also not overwhelming. The cinnamon flavor rides the line nicely.

Coca Cola Cinnamon Closup

After the quick, overwhelming bursts of effervescence in each sip fade, you get a little hint of the warm spice. I think I prefer this to regular Cola, which is usually only a drink of choice for me when mixed with something harder, but this isn’t too big of a departure from the classic you’re used to.

Honestly, they probably could have gone a little further with the cinnamon flavor, but I’m not complaining.

Is there anything else you need to know?

The best part of the said flavor is the fact that the usual dryness does not follow it. No matter what I have with cinnamon, I always feel like I ate a handful of the Sahara and need to chug a bottle of water immediately.

Coca Cola Cinnamon Label

Oh, and cinnamon is not in the ingredients. This is a “cinnamon flavored” soda. It seems odd to me, but maybe it’s an allergen thing or something. Why not use the real thing?

Conclusion:

Coke has a winner here. This is gonna go over well with the masses as there is enough cinnamon to separate it from regular Coke, but not enough to make people feel like they’re taking the Cinnamon Challenge.

I’m probably gonna pick up another bottle to try as a mixer. I also kinda want to try using a cinnamon stick as a straw the next time because I am a child.

I hope it does well, and it pushes Coca-Cola to get more creative because a Cinnamon Vanilla Coke would be a God-tier soda.

Purchased Price: $2.12
Size: 20 fl. oz. bottle
Purchased at: Quick Check
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 Bottle) 240 calories, 0 grams of fat, 55 milligrams of sodium, 65 grams of carbohydrates, 65 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.