Here’s Why Mexican Coke Tastes Better Than American Coke
Soda fans swear that Mexican Coke tastes better, and is even bubblier than American Coke. Turns out, there's some evidence to back it up.
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If you’re a soda aficionado, you’ve probably tried most of the sweet and bubbly drinks out there. This means you probably agree with most soda fans that Mexican Coke tastes better than American Coke. While it used to be found only in certain stores, bodegas, or areas with large numbers of Mexican-Americans, the popularity of Coke that is hecho en México (made in Mexico) has risen in recent years to the point where it is now sold in some Costco stores. No, it’s not the Coca-Cola with a yellow cap, but south-of-the-border Coke is instantly recognizable nonetheless: It’s always sold in a tall, slim glass bottle, while American Coke is usually sold in squat plastic bottles or aluminum cans. Mexican Coke can probably still do all the things American Coke can do, but there’s no doubt in most people’s minds that it doesn’t taste the same. Both drinks are made by the same company, so why the difference in flavor?
Why does Mexican Coke taste better than American Coke?
Both of these sodas are made and manufactured by Coca-Cola, a huge international company, but just like the packaging, the ingredient list varies slightly from country to country. Most people who prefer Mexican Coke to American Coke talk about the former having a cleaner taste, which might come down to the packaging. Plastic and metal can affect the taste of soda, but glass does not, and may even help to maintain a fresher flavor for longer. Some soda fans even say that Mexican Coke is bubblier and more effervescent.
However, there is a real, measurable difference between Coke from the two countries, and it’s listed on the label: The sweetener. American Coke is made with high-fructose corn syrup, while Mexican Coke is made with cane sugar. You won’t believe the secret ingredient you can add to your Coke to make it taste even better, too.
Sugar is as sugar does
Advocates for Mexican Coke swear that the kind made with cane sugar has a more real and less chemical-ey taste, but the two sources of sugar aren’t so different. Cane sugar is made from sugar cane, while high-fructose corn syrup, which has a reputation for being unhealthy but is found in most processed foods in the United States, is made from corn. Both sugars are comprised of glucose and fructose, although as the name suggests, the latter is slightly higher in fructose. To your body, they’re broken down and used in pretty much the same way. Glucose is essential for the brain to function, and fructose is converted to glucose. To your taste buds, cane sugar might be nicer, which gives Mexican Coke an edge in the flavor competition. Whichever country’s Coke you prefer, be sure to drink it in moderation, as sweetened beverages can be a significant source of added calories in the diet. Now, find out the best regional soda from every state and the difference between Coke Zero and Diet Coke.
- Smithsonian Magazine: “The Story of Mexican Coke”
- Healthline.com: “High-Fructose Corn Syrup”