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.
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:
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.
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.