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Coke lovers proudly favour their cola of choice, citing it as better than all others, but what happened when NZH Lifestyle's Coke connoisseurs Gracie, Patricia and Liana put their taste buds to the test? Faced with a blind tasting, the girls had to tell the difference between Coke, Pepsi Max, Coke Life, Diet Coke, Pepsi, Coke Zero and a special "home brand" number. The findings were unexpected to say the least.

Thoughts on fizz

Our tasters were hopeful that, if nothing else, they would be able to taste the difference between the offerings and pick their favoured cola out of the line-up.

Gracie explained that she preferred Coke Zero because it's less sweet and not as guilt-inducing as the other ones can be. Liana said she was more of a Diet Coke fan and Patricia, not willing to muck around, favoured the good old-fashioned Coke for her dose of sugar and caffeine.

Test cola #1: Classic Coke

After some complaints about the temperature of the cola specimen put before them and the lack of bubbles, Patricia decided she could smell the presence of stevia but soon changed her mind to speculate that this was the real, original Coke.


Gracie initially thought it could be Diet Coke but as soon as Liana suggested it was Pepsi, Patricia and Gracie concurred.

Test cola #2: Pepsi Max

Sighting a darker colour and its ability to stick to the sides of the cup when swirled around, specimen number two incited grimaces and the word "nasty" was bandied about.

Patricia's first sip led her to believe it was Pepsi Max. But eventually she locked in her choice as Coke Life.

Gracie confirmed that it was not Coke Zero and Liana initially thought it could be Pepsi but settled on normal Coke, due to its sweetness, as her final answer.

However, when the trio were reminded that one of the options could be a Home Brand Cola, they were easily swayed to change their verdict.

At one point during the test, Patricia, centre, thought her insides might be melting. Photo / NZ Herald.
At one point during the test, Patricia, centre, thought her insides might be melting. Photo / NZ Herald.

Test cola #3: Coke Life

Gracie observed that the liquid shared the same colour as the previous ones but didn't smell as strong. Patricia ascertained from the bubbles that this wasn't a cheap cola. Liana concluded that this was, in fact, Diet Coke. Gracie felt that since she quite liked this one, it could be Coke Zero. And before long, both Patricia and Liana agreed.

Test Cola #4: Diet Coke

By this time, our taste testers were becoming noticeably affected by the fizzy, sugar-laden beverages they'd been sipping.

Patricia concluded at first sip that this one was, 100 per cent, Diet Coke due to its "vagueness".

Gracie found it a bit fruity initially and Liana thought this one might be Pepsi Max. Gracie locked in Pepsi as her answer.

Test Cola #5: Pepsi

Endeavouring to check in on the mental and physical state of our taste testers, Patricia informed us that, at this point, her insides felt like they were melting and Gracie was feeling quite "jazzed" from the process.

Feedback after first taste of specimen number five included, "this is bad", "it's on my tongue multiplying" and "that tastes like urine". The final verdict: supermarket or home brand cola.

Test Cola #6: Coke Zero

One taste and both Patricia and Gracie concluded that that was in fact Coke. Gracie also said that she could drink this one again, it wasn't her favourite but it wasn't the worst either. By this stage, Liana informed us that she didn't like this one but, sneakily, failed to lock in an answer.

Test Cola #7: April Fool's Day prank (Coke Zero + Soy Sauce)

Our taste testers observed a high level of fizz as soon as this specimen arrived at the table, likening it to Guinness. However, as soon as Gracie took a sniff, she dubbed the drink sarsaparilla.

Patricia likened the smell to Vegemite, before asking if this was, in fact, a trick. Liana proceeded to take a swig and spit it back into her cup - TWICE. Patricia speculated that it smelled like it had soy sauce in it, concluding that she would not be drinking it. She also likened it to a "health drink" grandmothers might peddle to help with nausea.

The biggest revelation

Our taste testers know what soy sauce tastes like! We'd also like to note that Patricia would've been crowned the Coke queen had she trusted her first instinct - coming in with a final score of three out of six colas guessed right.

Apart from that, Gracie, Patricia and Liana couldn't peg their favourites when they were in front of them without labelling.

All three self-confessed haters of natural sweetener stevia and Coke Life actually really enjoyed it when they blind-tasted it. They were also surprised to note that Coke Zero still had a seriously great Coke taste, so much so that they thought they were drinking regular Coke.

After thoughts

Despite winning their favour in the taste test, the ladies weren't quite convinced that they would be reaching for the green-canned Coca Cola in the future. However, Patricia felt that if it was a safer option than the aspartame-laced alternatives, she would consider it.

A can full of confessions

After trying all the colas on the market, our taste testers felt embarrassed that they couldn't tell the difference between them. However, all three confirmed that they would stick to their favourites despite today's results.