Is it worth paying extra to get name-brand cola, or do the carbonated beverages all taste the same? Taster's Choice judges had their own preferences before they sampled five brands from 2-liter bottles found at local grocery stores. In the end, they decided the names do matter — and they liked Pepsi best.
Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent
|Product/Score (out of 100)||Pepsi/68||Coke/63||Sam's Club/ 60|
|How'd it look?||Dark and appealing.||Like strong tea with bubbles. Classic. Foamy around the edges.||Like a dark cup of coffee.|
|Judges' comments||A smooth taste with a hint of water. Not quite as sweet as the others. "It has a little pleasing pepper nip on the palate," said one panelist.||Perfect cola flavor mix. Refreshing. One judge said he would especially like this sweeter cola alongside a pepperoni pizza. Another said it tasted a bit like root beer.||Judges liked the fizz on the cola and the balance of sweet and tart flavor. "It's thin, but nice, like Tiffany's biggest hit record," said one judge, comparing it to I Think We're Alone Now, by the '80s pop singer.|
|Would they buy?||Three of the four judges said yes.||Three of the four judges said yes.||Two of the four judges said yes.|
|Shopping information||Widely available. $1 at Wal-Mart.||Widely available. $1.50 at Wal-Mart.||Widely available. 78 cents at Wal-Mart.|
Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian with Pinellas County Cooperative Extension; Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; Jim Yockey, aesthetician at Anu You Institute; and Times food critic Laura Reiley. All foods were tasted blind.
Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or e-mail them to email@example.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to food.tampabay.com.