If you’ve ever heard someone vehemently insist that Mexican Coke is far superior to American Coke, you might have wondered: What’s the big deal? Both kinds of Coca-Cola are refreshing treats on a hot day and provide an energy boost, thanks to their caffeine content.
But Coca-Cola lovers swear that the two aren’t the same, so we went hunting for evidence to back up the claim that Mexican Coke just tastes better than its American counterpart.
Some people believe Mexican Coke tastes fresher or has added carbonation compared to Coke from the States, but that’s not what makes the two different, according to Reader’s Digest.
Some of the perceived differences between the two sodas may be due to their respective packaging. Coke that’s from south of the border comes in a tall, slim glass bottle with a red metal cap, while Coke in America is typically sold in plastic bottles or aluminum cans.
Plastic and metal affect the taste of soda, but glass does not, which may help a drink maintain a fresher flavor for a longer period of time. This might be why some Coke aficionados claim Mexican Coke is more effervescent than the American kind. (This could also account for why soda fountain drinks taste different than canned versions.)
Regardless of their vessels, all types of Coke are made and manufactured by Coca-Cola, which is an international company.
However, even though the brown fizzy drinks are made by the same company, the ingredient lists for Cokes vary slightly from country to country, just as the packaging does. So, the true, measurable difference between Mexican Coke and American Coke can be found on the label.
Mexican Coke ingredient list: carbonated water, sugar, caramel color, phosphoric acid, natural flavors, caffeine
American Coke ingredient list: carbonated water, high-fructose corn syrup, caramel color, phosphoric acid, natural flavors, caffeine
American Coke is made with high-fructose corn syrup and Mexican Coke is crafted with cane sugar. Cane sugar is less processed than high-fructose corn syrup, so it offers a more natural — some would say purer or more clean-tasting — version of the drink.
Is this one swap alone enough to make a profound difference to people? Is Mexican Coke better or worse than American Coke?
In the end, it comes down to personal preference. The main differences are the type of packaging and cane sugar vs. corn syrup.
To form your own opinion, try doing an at-home taste test. Find a glass bottle version, a canned Coke and a plastic bottle of the soda, and pour them into cups labeled A, B and C. Grab a friend or family member to take some sips with you and then compare notes.
Which kind of Coke do you think tastes the best?