On Feb. 25, Coca-Cola will roll out its first new flavors in more than a decade. Joining the ranks of Cherry Coke and Vanilla Coke is the new Orange Vanilla Coke and its sugar-free companion, Orange Vanilla Coke Zero Sugar.
Last week, the company’s archrival Pepsi rolled into Atlanta with its prototype Nitro offerings, which we reviewed here, so we could only offer the same treatment to our hometown neighbors.
The Taste Test:
Before weaning myself off sugared sodas a few years ago, I was a Coke drinker all my life. Orange Vanilla Coke hews closely with the original flavor with just a hint of orange and welcome boost of vanilla. There’s enough here to transform the drink, but not nearly enough to trick your palate into thinking this is some kind of cream soda. The cola flavors pretty much overwhelm the citrus and are still dominant to the vanilla. It’s a much richer and complex experience to classic and just enough of a subtle twist on Vanilla Coke to merit its own can, and I’m not sure I’d want more orange-forward version. If I still drank Coke, this would be my new go-to.
The sweetener in the Coke Zero Sugar is somehow even more overpowering. That’s probably a good thing for those wanting the sweetness without the sugar, but when your palate is used to sparkling water with a little fruit juice added (my current regular), it’s just too much. The aftertaste reminded me of nothing more than those chalky Valentine’s candy hearts, which I guess is appropriate for a February release. The orange also comes through a lot stronger on the Zero Sugar version. I can’t imagine drinking a whole glass of this one.
Both offerings will be available in 12-ounce cans and 20-ounce bottles nationwide beginning Feb. 25 and in sleek 12-ounce cans for a limited time this spring.