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MONDAY, AUGUST 1, 2005
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Tasters’ choice
DAILY panel gives best taste vote to Coke Classic, but overall favorite is Caffeine-free Coke

By Jenny Thompson
DAILY Intern

jthompson@decaturdaily.com · 340-2447

Although consumers shunned New Coke 20 years ago, today they can spot more than a dozen different flavors bearing the familiar name Coca-Cola.

Seven DAILY readers tasted and scored seven flavors of Coca-Cola and rated their favorites. Clockwise from left are Tish Hazel, Weston Tanner, Peggy Grisby, Rachel Gentry and Michelle Maples. Not pictured are Edgar Foster and Haley Guyse.
Seven DAILY readers tasted and scored seven flavors of Coca-Cola and rated their favorites. Clockwise from left are Tish Hazel, Weston Tanner, Peggy Grisby, Rachel Gentry and Michelle Maples. Not pictured are Edgar Foster and Haley Guyse.
Coke Zero, the newest addition introduced in early June, joins the ranks of Caffeine-free Coca-Cola, Cherry Coke, Vanilla Coke, Coke with Lime and seven different versions of Diet Coke — including Diet Coke with Splenda, also introduced this year.

THE DAILY asked seven Morgan County residents to taste seven different kinds of Coca-Cola and Diet Coke to see which they preferred.

The participants tasted Coca-Cola Classic, Coke Zero, Diet Coke, Diet Coke with Splenda, Diet Caffeine-free Coke, Caffeine-free Coke and Diet Coke with Lime.

We asked the participants to rate the flavor by scoring the overall taste and aftertaste of the drinks, and after they had tasted all of the drinks to name their favorite and least favorite version.

Tasters were asked to rate each flavor's overall taste on a scale of one to 10 and the aftertaste on a scale of one to 10.

The two scores added together created the total taste score. Not scientific, but it allowed us to determine, by looking at the one with the highest score, which our consumer panel thought had the best flavor

We served the drinks in numbered cups so the group would not know which versions they tasted.

"Is there any Tab in any of these?" Edgar Foster, 78, of Decatur, joked before the test.

Coca-Cola Classic was the overall favorite. However Caffeine-Free Coca-Cola received a one-point higher taste score than Classic.

"It's very sweet and it didn't have a bad aftertaste," said Rachel Gentry, 14, of Trinity said of Caffeine-Free Coke.

Tasters voted Diet Coke with Lime as their second favorite, giving it a taste score of 13 out of 20.

"The overall taste and the aftertaste taste the same," Haley Guyse, 10, of Trinity said.

Honorable mention went to Diet Caffeine-Free Coke with a taste score of 9 out of 20.

"It has the same taste and aftertaste as diet," Tish Hazel, 36, of Decatur said.

The group named Diet Coke with Splenda, a favorite sweetener among low-carb dieters, as their least favorite of the drinks.

"It had a salty aftertaste," Peggy Grisby, 59, of Decatur said.

A blend of Splenda and acesulfame potassium (ace-k) could have created the aftertaste that Grisby mentioned.

Tasters voted Coke Zero as their second least favorite.

"It's not a flavor I would choose," Michelle Maples, 34, of Hartselle said. "It's flat and dry, and I definitely would not buy it."

Coke Zero has no calories and uses a mix of aspartame and ace-k to sweeten it.

Although the group did not vote regular Diet Coke as their least favorite, it received the lowest taste score — 6 out of 20.

"It tasted too watered down," Weston Tanner, 23, of Decatur said, "almost like a drink with melted ice in it."

Many said they did not like the taste of the aspartame used to sweeten Diet Coke.

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