Identifying Soda by Taste: Coke/Pepsi/Generic (Round II)

In March I staged a soda taste test (Identifying Soda by Taste: Coke/Pepsi/Generic). On that particular evening I was able to draw the conclusion that the average person cannot distinguish between Coke, Pepsi, and generic brand cola. I’ve heard a considerable amount of feedback since that test, with many people expressing substantial amounts of confidence that they could identify colas successfully. Since that time I conducted or witnessed a few impromptu taste tests (all of which confirmed my previous conclusion).

On Monday night I set up a taste test for some of the members of my Life Group. The line up on that night consisted of chilled Coke, Pepsi, and Sam’s Cola. Like my previous test, I made sure that I had regular colas sweetened with corn fructose syrup.

When the dust settled I had a table that looked like this (the columns are the actual identity, the rows are the perceived identity, correct answers are in red):

Which translates to this chart:

First of all, I’ll remove all suspense and say that these findings support my original hypothesis. While some variation is seen in the perceptions of colas the differences are not great enough to be considered statistically significant.


Persons 1 and 2 were very adamant about being able to identify Coke, which they did. They also both managed to pair the other two colas, though the wrong identities were associated to the pairs. The fact that they paired all three colas suggests they were able to discern differences. I do believe that some people are able to detect specific colas. So this result does not make me question my hypothesis that the average person cannot discern differences between colas by taste, it just means that Persons 1 and 2 may very well be above average people.


Remains the same as my last post.

Closing Remark

After the test I left the three bottles of soda on the drink table. During the course of the night beverages were consumed. When I packed up to leave I noticed that most of the Coke and Pepsi had been consumed, while the Sam’s Cola was never uncapped. Branding strikes again.



Filed under General

3 responses to “Identifying Soda by Taste: Coke/Pepsi/Generic (Round II)

  1. Jon

    Karrie still thinks she can tell the difference between Coke and other Colas. I’m wondering if she is right.

  2. I’m sure I could tell the difference between coke and pepsi. They taste distinctly different.

    Also, aren’t generic sodas sometimes actually just pepsi/coke with a different label slapped on?

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