In The New York Times Magazine: Mexican Coke

Posted by Rob Walker on October 10, 2009
Posted Under: Consumed

An American icon’s Mexican formula develops a devoted following.

Spend a few years writing about consumer culture, and you might get a little jaded about products or brands with cult followings. The extreme-loyalist customer always insists that there are perfectly rational reasons for his or her devotion; to the disinterested observer, the reasons seem dubious. This is good news for me, because it assures that I have plenty to write about. But this week, for once, I’m casting myself in the role not of the reasonable observer but of the dubious product-cultist.

Read the column in the October 11, 2009, New York Times Magazine, or here.

Discuss, make fun of, or praise this column to the skies at the Consumed Facebook page.

UPDATE: Amusing segment on The World, I was interviewed, but then the host did a personal taste test. (scroll down).


Further diversion may be found at MKTG Tumblr, and the Consumed Facebook page.

Reader Comments

Thank you for covering this! I’ve been telling people for years HFCS tastes different and there’s nothing like the clean, crisp taste of Coke made with sugar. I used to work at the Michigan Daily in Ann Arbor in the late 70s and we had–glory of glories–an honest-to-God nickel Coke machine. That’s right–6 oz. bottles that I am positive were still being produced with SUGAR and there is a huge difference. In fact, I switched to Diet Coke w/Nutrasweet because I thought THAT even tasted better than the high-fructose garbage. Don’t let them pull that hoodoo-voodoo “imperceptible” jazz on us. Now, about aspartame as a neuro-toxin? Hmmm?

Written By Tom Stevens on October 10th, 2009 @ 9:40 am

The last bottle of coke that I bought said it was made with either sugar or HFCS. Have they changed the formula?

Written By Todd Price on October 10th, 2009 @ 1:53 pm

Ok, looks like nothing has changed. On this eGullet thread, the consensus is that the label listing corn syrup is a generic one slapped on the imports.

Written By Todd Price on October 10th, 2009 @ 2:12 pm

Mexican Fresca is really good too. It’s a terrible diet drink when made in the USA, but Mexican Fresca is also made with sugar and it’s probably the most refreshing soft drink available. Our farmer’s market sells it (as well as Dublin D.P. and Mexican Coke.)

Written By ChipG on October 10th, 2009 @ 6:26 pm

Also try kosher for passover Coke, which is made with sugar rather than corn syrup. I and many of my friends do find it tasted different (and better) and the corn syrup flavored coke.

Written By cscolcao on October 10th, 2009 @ 11:46 pm

That Andy Warhol quote sounded familiar but off, so I found the original from my copy of his book “America”. Here’s the full paragraph from page 20:

“And not only are there all these choices, but it’s all democratic. You can see a billboard for Tab and think: Nancy Reagan drinks Tab, Gloria Vanderbilt drinks Tab, Jackie Onassis drinks Tab, Katherine Hepburn drinks Tab, and just think, you can drink Tab too. Tab is Tab and no matter how rich you are, you can’t get a better one than the one the homeless woman on the corner is drinking. All the Tabs are just the same. And all the Tabs are good. Nancy Reagan knows it, Gloria Vanderbilt knows it, Jackie Onassis knows it, Katherine Hepburn knows it, the baglady knows it and you know it.”

I also am a fan of Coke from Mexico. For myself, it’s that cold bottle that makes the sale.


Written By Mahlen Morris on October 11th, 2009 @ 12:20 pm

Mahlen Morris: The lines in America are basically an update from the earlier book The Philosophy of Andy Warhol. That’s what I quoted. Page 100.

Csolcao: My column mentioned passover Coke.

Written By Rob Walker on October 11th, 2009 @ 12:57 pm

The difference in Coke with the corn sryup sweetener is real. (It’s disgusting.)

For a few years now I’ve been wondering what was WRONG with Cokes. Proably I have 5 or 6 in an entire year; usually when we are traveling.

Over the past few years I had wondered — was it the can vs. bottle? Or the bottle vs. hose dispenser behind a bar? ALL of them tasted wrong.

Finally I found out why, just within the past few weeks. Yes, I’ve been living in a cave . . . not paying attention because I don’t drink many Cokes.

There IS a taste difference. My idea of the difference did not come from knowing anything was different. The corn syrup sweetened version is awful; there is no way to get it to taste good.

Now I really want to get some of the Hecho in Mexico variety. Every once in a while I want a *real* Coke.

Written By P. Jennings on October 13th, 2009 @ 4:37 am

Did you ever visit the Coke pavillion at Disney’s Epcot? It has samples from around the works–probably 10-20 different countries–and they are all very different (although some are not really coca cola).

Written By Ellen on October 13th, 2009 @ 3:11 pm

Thanks to Google Books, I confirmed your Warhol quotation (I should have used it before to try and find it in the first place). Thanks for correcting me.


Written By Mahlen Morris on October 13th, 2009 @ 3:12 pm
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