Food & Recipes

Why McDonald’s Coke Tastes Better

There's official confirmation for something Coke lovers have been saying for years.

Many Coca-Cola lovers have long said that getting their favorite beverage at McDonald’s is better than getting it at the store or gas station. It simply tastes better and is more satisfying than bottled soda, or even fountain Coke from another restaurant.

It may seem like our taste buds are just playing tricks, but McDonald’s has finally revealed information that seems to confirm why Coke may, in fact, taste better at McD’s.

mcdonalds photo
Getty Images | Justin Sullivan

Last year, the fast food chain answered the simple question,”Why does the Coca-Cola taste so good at McDonald’s?” on the FAQ section of its website, thereby giving Coca-Cola-loving internet users the ability to say, “Told you so!”

“There are many reasons the Coca-Cola tastes so great at McDonald’s,” the company writes on its website. “We simply follow the guidelines set by Coca-Cola and take steps to ensure it tastes the same as when you buy it in a bottle.”

But it’s not the same. It’s different, better, magical even.

First up is the delivery. While most Coke syrup is delivered to restaurants in plastic bags, the syrup used at McDonald’s comes in stainless steel tanks. This helps preserve the freshness of the ingredients.

Next, McDonald’s pays close attention to the temperature of the soda. They always keep the fountain beverage system cold, and the water and Coca-Cola syrup are pre-chilled before entering the fountain dispensers “with the ratio of syrup set to allow for ice to melt.”

mcdonalds photo
Flickr | Lisa Padilla

McDonald’s also has an insulated tube that runs from the refrigeration unit in the back of the restaurant to the soda fountain in the front.

The temperature of the water that runs through the tube, which is just above freezing, is necessary for the best CO2 levels, which helps the carbonation last longer.

coke photo
Flickr | wesleynitsckie

The fast-food chain invests a lot of money in its filtration systems. They write, “In order to ensure our drinks are always meeting a gold standard, we have proper filtration methods in place.”

Lastly, the straw: McDonald’s says its straw is slightly wider than a typical straw, which ensures that wonderful Coke taste will hit all your taste buds (and also ensures you can drink it down at light speed, for better of for worse).

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There you have it, Coca-Cola lovers. You were right all along!

A post shared by McDonald’s (@mcdonalds) on

Coke Zero’s Transformation

If you’re a die-hard Coke Zero drinker, you probably lamented the company’s announcement last July that it was getting rid of Coke Zero and replacing the sugar-free soda with a new recipe.

According to the Coca-Cola Company, the new sugar-free option—called Coke Zero Sugar in the United States and Coke No Sugar in other markets—contains the same ingredients as Coke Zero, but comes closer to replicating the taste of a classic, regular sugar-filled Coca-Cola.

The new recipe has actually been out for some time already: Coke Zero Sugar and Coke No Sugar began launching in European and Latin American markets last year.

The Coca-Cola Company

Some Coke Zero loyalists were not pleased to hear about the swap:

Others made the comparison to Coke II or “New Coke,” the reformulated version of classic Coca-Cola that was released in 1985 and quickly despised by loyal Coca-Cola fans. (The company released the original Coke formula as “Coca-Cola Classic” a few months after New Coke’s debut.)

But, as it turns out, many people seem to like Coke Zero Sugar. Sales of the new sugar-free soda have increased, while classic Diet Coke sales continue to fall.

If you’re wondering about the difference between Coke Zero, Diet Coke and Coke Zero Sugar, here’s a breakdown of their ingredients. All three sugar-free Coke drinks use aspartame as a sweetener, but Coke Zero and Coke Zero Sugar also use acesulfame potassium as a sweetener.

Diet Coke

Ingredients: Carbonated water, caramel color, aspartame, phosphoric acid, potassium benzonate, natural flavors, citric acid, caffeine

Artificial sweetener: Aspartame

Coke Zero

Ingredients: Carbonated water, caramel color, phosphoric acid, aspartame, potassium benzonate, natural flavors, potassium citrate, acesulfame potassium, caffeine

Artificial sweetener: Aspartame and acesulfame potassium

coke zero photo
Flickr | someToast

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Coke Zero Sugar

Ingredients: Carbonated water, caramel color, phosphoric acid, aspartame, potassium benzonate, natural flavors, potassium citrate, acesulfame potassium, caffeine

Artificial sweetener: Aspartame and acesulfame potassium

While the ingredients in Coke Zero and Coke Zero Sugar are identical, it’s unclear how the proportions in the actual recipes may have changed.

Which Coke product is your favorite?