I've been drinking and enjoying Coca Cola for half a century and vastly prefer it to any other soft drink. So, it may strike visitors to this page to read that I'm seriously considering switching to the hated one... that's right: Pepsi.
Why? Because over the last few years I've noticed that bottles of Coke don't always taste like Coke. The most common problem is that many have an overpowering cinnamon taste. Pepsi's sweeter and overly caramel notes may not taste as good, but it always tastes the same, suggesting Pepsi's quality control is superior to Coca Cola's.
Why are there differences? While Coca Cola Inc. manufactures the flavor concentrate, bottlers mix it with local water and a variety of sweeteners prior to bottling. Coke Inc. may prescribe the formula they should follow, but that doesn't mean the bottler does so. Even if they do, the quality of the water used and type of sweetener added can have an enormous impact on the resulting Coca Cola flavor.
This page lists what I found taste testing various Coke vintages, as designated by the 9-digit code stamped on all American filled bottles.
An 8 oz glass bottle on the left and a 12 oz plastic bottle on the right.
Coca Cola bottled in Mexico doesn't have vintage codes... which isn't an issue because to me it's formulation is consistently too harsh.
The goal is to help people find the best bottled Coke and avoid the worst. For those preferring Coke with a heavy cinnamon flavor it'll help identify those vintages as well.
This page was created in late July of 2016.
8 oz glass bottle coded 2015-01101 = very good. Pure Coca Cola flavor
8 oz glass bottle coded 2015-01100 = also very good
8 oz glass bottle coded 2015-01099 = this vintage has a slightly distracting cinnamon taste
8 ox glass bottle coded 2010-01283 = Not overly spicey but harsher than the 01 or 00 vintages
8 oz glass bottle coded 2015-01383 = Harshly spicey but not from too much cinnamon
8 oz glass bottle coded 2016-01003 = Excellent!
8 oz glass bottle coded 2016-00963 = This vintage appeared in June of 2017 in a cardboard carrier decorated in the American flag. It's excellent! I've stocked up on this one. NEW!!!
8 oz glass bottle coded 2016-01410 = This vintage appeared in JuLY of 2017 It's okay, but slightly harsher than the 00963 vintage. NEW!!!
12 oz plastic bottle coded 2014-1354 = overpowering cinnamon taste
12 oz plastic bottle coded 2016-00324 = harshly cinnamon
12 oz plastic bottle coded 2016-00324 = harsh cinnamon flavor
12 oz plastic bottle coded 2016-01412 = harsh cinnamon flavor NEW!!!
20 oz plastic bottle coded 2016-01066 = very strong cinnamon flavor
7.5 oz small can coded 2014-1555 = very spicey with a strong cinnamon note
7.5 oz small can coded 2017-00074 = very good! NEW!!!
8.5 ounce aluminum bottle can coded 2006-53523 = very good! NEW!!!
I'll add new codes as I find them so please check back often.
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