Mexicoke vs. Americoke

Mexicoke vs. Americoke

I do believe this is the first time Coke has ever been featured on the blog, the first time I’ve purchased it in years and, subsequently, the first time I’ve consumed it in equally as long.

In case you forgot, I’m still in Nicaragua right now, still eating nothing but beans and rice and tortillas and still keeping the blog alive with these posts I wrote two weeks ago. Shmeeee!

So what the hell is Coke doing here? Let me explain…

Here in the grand United States of America, we have outrageous government-backed agricultural subsidies on commodity crops like corn and soy that make them insanely cheap. For this reason, you will find corn in just about everything you consume (and things you don’t consume, like gasoline, adhesives, antibiotics, lotions… explosives), including Coke. Corn appears in Coke in it’s high-fructose syrup version known, appropriately enough, as high-fructose corn syrup. It’s cheap, cheap, cheap and that’s while you’ll find it in just about every single cheap, cheap, cheap packaged, heavily processed food item on the shelf.

That’s all well and good. I’m not here to lecture you on the horrors of agricultural subsidies. I’m here to host a nerdy science project.

Coke vs. Coke: A Taste Test

So this is the thing…

While Americans are pumping themselves full of high-fructose corn syrup by the Big Gulp-full, our neighbors to the south are still consuming Coke as it was designed in its original formula back in the 1940s… with real sugar. Yes, Mexican Coke is still made with real sugar. So that’s why Earth Fare, a grocery chain that, on principle, sells no products containing high-fructose corn syrup whatsoever, has started carrying Coke. They’re importing it from Mexico.

This got my nerdy food science brain cranking and I decided to bring home a bottle for Stew and blind taste test it against American Coke.

Did you know that in official taste tests, the samples should be identified by random three-digit numbers rather than A, B, C or 1, 2, 3 to prevent testers from trying to make assumptions about chronological order? Truth. So obviously I set it up this way for Stew:

The right way

The Stew way

We each set up a trial for the other and, although I thought I’d surely not be able to tell a difference, both identified the samples.

And then we dumped it all out.

HFCS has a strange mouthfeel, almost like the puckery dryness you get on your tongue after drinking a tea heavy in tannins or something. At any rate, this is conclusive scientific evidence that sugar is better than HFCS.

If you’re curious, today I’m heading to Matiguas, the biggest city we’ll see on our trip (Pop: 10,000), to dine at a local restaurant, drink a cold drink (Coke, perhaps??) and (GASP) USE THE INTERNET.

11 thoughts on “Mexicoke vs. Americoke

  1. Awesome. I knew Costco carried Mexican Coke, but I’ve never stepped foot inside there. Now I guess I need to go to Earth Fare.

    I’ve thought for years about having Dr Pepper shipped over from Denton, TX where it’s still made with cane sugar…not a mix of cane and beet sugar like the Dr Pepper Heritage (which I still had to track down hundreds of miles away since Coke bottles Dr Pepper around here).

    Pepsi has made Throwback Pepsi and Throwback Mountain Dew — which, again, rely pretty heavily, if not entirely, on beet sugar — permanent parts of their lineup. Hunt’s ketchup has started to boast about not having any HFCS in it too. Maybe inroads are being made in the war against high fructose corn syrup…?

    • How do you know throwback is made with beet sugar? I thought just as corn syrup is not allowed to be called sugar beet sugar had to go by another name. I thought it was called sucrose on ingredient labels.

      • That was mentioned in the first articles I saw about Throwback. For instance, http://www.bevreview.com/2009/04/17/pepsi-throwback/ :

        “The selling point of Pepsi Throwback is that key phrase, “natural sugar.” Just what is that? When I asked Pepsi about this, they noted that the Throwbacks are “sweetened with natural sugar, a blend of cane sugar and beet sugar.”"

        As far as labeling beet sugar-based products goes, I don’t believe there are any requirements in the U.S. (The argument goes that beet sugar is identical on a molecular level to cane sugar.) Generally, anything that just says “sugar” is almost certainly beet sugar or a combination of beet/cane. If it’s cane sugar, the packaging usually expressly spells that out.

  2. I know it’s still not exactly a health food, but I love Mexicoke! I used to drink 1-2 Cokes per day and now I have maybe one a week, if even that. I still love Coke, though!

  3. I’ve noticed the Coke at Earthfare recently. Hillbilly Produce in Charlotte also carries the Mexicoke.

    I’m not a soda drinker anymore, but love that when we go to Europe all of the soda there is still made with sugar. I will indulge in the occasional Coke or Lilt. There is no HFCS to be found, anywhere! (When I moved back to the States from the UK in 2002, I was very anti-HFCS. This was before really anyone was talking about it – or even KNEW what I was talking about. Oh, so ahead of my time! ha).

    My SO, who drinks soda, makes a point to seek out the Sierra Mist “Natural” and throw-back Pepsi and Mtn Dew when he wants a fix. Or, his fave, the Root Beer from Trader Joe’s. Still sugar, but at least it’s better than HFCS.

    I’ve seen that SNL HFCS commercial, it’s hilarious!

    ~

  4. I have been traveling to Mexico since I was a teenager. In the U.S., I never drink Coke. I try to stay away from soda. I’m not a huge fan of the taste either. Since my first Mexican coke at age 15, I cannot get enough of the stuff. I think it tastes so much better. I am so glad that Earth Fare has started stocking it in their coolers! Now, it is hard for me to stay away from the wonderfully sweet and refreshing Mexicoke!

  5. A couple of months ago my hubby and I noticed the Mexicoke in Earthfare, stop by another store to buy American Coke and gave it a taste test at home. We were also surprised that we could immediately tell the difference, but we could, and we did strongly prefer the Mexican coke. Don’t think we’ll be buying it by the case anytime soon, because it still goes against our general avoidance of highly processed foods, but it is nice to know it’s out there and nice to have a few on the shelf for the occasional time there is nothing so refreshing as a Coke.

  6. Kosher Coke, sold around major Jewish holidays, is also made with real sugar. We used to snatch it up when we lived in Atlanta.

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