Ever since we got word that Coca-Cola would be coming out with an energy drink in the US, we were extremely intrigued to know if it is different from the one launched in Europe last year. It comes in a larger 12oz can size with slightly more caffeine and new varieties, although by different, we meant taste, as the European one was far from impressive.
We were quite disappointed with the Coca-Cola Energy in Europe, as both of its regular and zero sugar variants did not come through with the top-quality, Coke-flavored experience we were expecting. The beverage had a disappointing chemical taste throughout and a tangy bite at the end, without any of that classic Coke flavor we’ve come to know and love.
The good news is, the US version of the regular and zero sugar Coca-Cola Energy drinks are better than the ones we tried last year in Europe. With that said, the beverage still has some of the same problems, albeit on a milder level. You get a hint of that promised coke taste; however, it’s combined with chemical-like flavors and bitter aftertastes.
That classic Coca-Cola flavor comes in that initial sip of the energy drink, although unfortunately, it is very short-lived. Soon after that hit, you get a much stronger chemical-infused Coke taste that is slightly stronger in the zero sugar Coca-Cola Energy. While it is much more bearable than the European version of the beverage, it is nowhere near the taste of regular Coke.
Even though the sugar Coca-Cola Energy isn’t as bad with that chemical flavor throughout, it has a separate issue that balances things out against the zero sugar version. At the end of each mouthful, there is an unfortunate bitter aftertaste that leaves a mild grittiness on your teeth and takes away what positive it had with that marginally more bearable main flavor.
The US version is certainly an improvement on the regular and zero sugar Coca-Cola Energy drinks in Europe. They still, however, don’t completely mask that underlining chemical flavor or bitter aftertaste to let the classic Coke taste shine. Coming from a company as large as Coca-Cola, you would expect something competitive, but that’s not what you get with Coca-Cola Energy.
The other major point to make is that there are now a lot of great-tasting energy beverages out there with the likes of RAZE Energy, 3D Energy, and our favorite of the category, ‘Merica Energy. All of those are leagues above Coca-Cola Energy, even the regular Coca-Cola Energy with sugar, which is surprising considering it has 39g of sugar per can and 40 calories.