In this review, I am comparing two different brands of cola soda, Coca-Cola Classic and Pepsi. I know, it is the age-old test that has been done by most everyone. This is my attempt to compare these two giants.
Coca-Cola is the famous carbonated cola soft drink sold everywhere across the world. Who does not recognize Coca-Cola’s red cans with its distinctive twirly logo, its friendly jingle, and its beautiful artwork of Santa during the Christmas holiday?
Coca-Cola has a long complicated history, some of which I write about below.
History & Origins
Coca-Cola was invented in 1885 in Covington, Georgia, by John Pemberton. It was originally sold as a cocawine called Pemberton’s French Wine Coca and may have been inspired by the success of the European cocawine, Vin Mariani.
Also in 1985, parts of the U.S. began passing Prohibition laws. So Pemberton created Coca-Cola, a carbonated, non-alcoholic version of French Wine Cola. It was so-named because it originally contained coca leaves and flavored with kola nuts that acted like caffeine. In 1886, each serving cost a nickel.
Pemberton initially marketed Coca-Cola as a medicine and claimed that it cured several ailments including morphine addiction, dyspepsia, neurasthenia, headache, and impotence.
In 1888, there were three versions of Coca-Cola because Pemberton, who suffered from a morphine addiction, sold it to three separate businesses. Asa Candler became a partner and incorporated it as the Coca Cola Company in 1888. The rights were also sold to a group of four businessmen. Finally, he also allowed his son, Charley Pemberton to sell his own version. This caused much confusion, so Pemberton ultimately declared that the name Coca-Cola belonged to his son, but the other two companies could continue producing the soda.
Later, Candler purchased exclusive rights to the formula from John Pemberton, Margaret Dozier and Woolfolk Walker, but it was later proven that Dozier and Pemberton’s signatures were forgeries.
In 1892, Candler incorporated The Coca-Cola Company again and burned the records of its first incorporation. Candler began marketing it with tremendous success.
Coca-Cola was first sold in bottles in 1894 and cans in 1955.
Pepsi is another famous carbonated cola soft drink sold everywhere across the world. Its logo is very distinctive as well, with its blue label and red, white, and blue circle with a wavy white line across its center.
Pepsi has a long history as well, but far from being as complicated as Coke.
History & Origins
Pepsi-Cola was created in New Bern, North Carolina in 1898 by a pharmacist named Caleb Bradham. It was originally called Brad’s Drink and later changed to Pepsi-Cola and trademarked in 1903. The true origination of the name Pepsi remains uncertain, although there are several theories.
Pepsi was originally marketed as a stomach pain medicine. It was made of carbonated water, sugar, vanilla, oils, and kola nuts.
In 1903, Pepsi bottling moved from a drugstore to a warehouse. In 1904, Pepsi began being sold in six-ounce bottles.
In 1929, Pepsi-Cola Company went bankrupt due to sugar prices. Roy Megargel ought the Pepsi trademark, but went bankrupt again in 1937. Candy manufacturer, Loft Inc., bought Pepsi to sell in its retail stores because Coke refused to give him a discount on its syrup. Loft also reformulated the Pepsi formula.
In 1934, Pepsi began selling its soda in 12-ounce bottle for a dime. Sales were slow, so they lowered the price to a nickel and
from 1936 to 1938, Pepsi profits doubled.
Due to inflation, Pepsi had several different sized bottles at different prices to gain sales from different income levels of consumers. Pepsi again changed its formula to contain less sugar.
Due to competitor, Diet Rite Cola, Pepsi created Patio Diet Cola, It was so successful that Pepsi renamed it Diet Pepsi in 1964.
In 1965, Pepsi-Cola merged with Frito-Lay and became known as PepsiCo.
I have drank cola all of my life and have tasted dozens of different types. I have tasted store brands, local brands, and generic brands, but I always go back to Coke and Pepsi.
I must say that I have always enjoyed Coke better than Pepsi. Pepsi is your basic cola and many cheaper brands come close copying Pepsi’s cola flavor, so it is not that unique. On the other hand, Coke is very distinctive. I have yet to find another cola that even comes close to the taste of Coke. A few years ago, Pepsi began selling Pepsi Spice during the Christmas season. This comes close to duplicating the unique flavor of Coke.
Whoever has ever tasted two or more colas at the same sitting, knows that unless you drink something non-cola to cleanse your palate, the colas blend together and they taste almost exactly the same. I first tried the Coke versus Pepsi test as a child and back then I could not guess which was which and ended up choosing Pepsi, even though I prefer Coke. This most recent test went differently. This time, I named both Coke and Pepsi correctly and chose Coke. However, after eating a sandwich and going back to the colas, I could not tell the difference! Even though Coke and Pepsi taste different, they are still both colas with cola used as their bases, so their flavors blend together.
Coke is definitely spicier than Pepsi and it also is a lot more carbonated. I wish Coke were less carbonated, as the CO2 bugs my stomach. If I let them go flat, Pepsi does so a lot faster than Coke. Coke always has a frothy golden foam that appears when it fizzes. Pepsi has a slight froth, but it is nothing compared to Coke.
I love the colorful Coca-Cola artwork and logo compared to Pepsi’s art, which just seems a bit plain for my tastes. Coke’s packaging just draws my eye faster. And at Christmas time, Pepsi just cannot compete with Coke’s distinctive Santa Claus. I even collect Coke toy trucks that ship during the holidays. Pepsi also uses Santa, but it does not hold a candle to Coke’s version.
Price is not a factor because most supermarkets sell 2-liter bottles of Coke and Pepsi for $0.99 each.
While there are diehard fans on both sides of the age old Coke versus Pepsi debate, I still have to go with Coke.
History sources include: Coke, Pepsi, Wikipedia