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There's been a debate in recent years on a certain fountain drink that just seems to taste superior to all other fountain drinks. Some may think that this claim is ridiculous, and all fountain Coke's taste the same, but after doing a taste test with different Coke's from a variety of fast food joints, I can honestly say I agree completely with the claim that McDonald's makes the absolute best fountain Cola.
Some people think McDonald's puts magic in their soda machine to create such high quality Coke. Others think it's a secret ingredient they put in. For years, every time I am craving a good Coke, I always head straight to McDonald's. I thought this was just my personal preference but soon found out I'm not the only one who feels this way. So I did a little experiment.
I went to five different fast food places and simply ordered one fountain Coke, starting with Wendy's. Wendy's had a decent Coke; however, it did not have enough carbonation for my taste. (I was being very picky in this process, because I wanted to see if any compared to the almighty McDonald's Coke.) Next, I went to Subway. The soda here tasted a little watered down, still good—but not up to McDonald's standards. Next was Burger King. Burger King's Coke tasted pretty good, but something was still missing. I think it was a combination of not enough carbonation and tasting too syrup-y. It definitely did not taste like a bottle of Coke you'd get at the store. I then tried Chick-fil-A next. Chick-fil-A's Coke tastes sweeter to me than a normal Coke. Lastly, I tried Chipotle's Coke. I usually love Chipotle's fountain sodas. They are refreshing and hit the spot. I think I believe this because when you're eating a burrito with lots of sodium, it causes you to be more thirsty, in turn making you think any type of drink is refreshing. When drinking just one Coke instead of my usual Chipotle order, I noticed you can really taste the syrup in the Coke here.
On the last day, I went to McDonald's and ordered one large Coke. The taste was so crisp, carbonated, and cold. It didn't have a syrup taste. It was the perfect Coke. I went in for another sip and another. It tasted to me just like an old-fashioned Coke you buy in a bottle. Why is this? Why did it taste better than all the other fast food chains? Is it because my brain likes McDonald's the best? Is it because others have told me it's the best?
I've done some research and found the reasons why our brains may think McDonald's Coke tastes better than any other Coke. Here's what I found.
Most fast food chains get their soda delivered in plastic bags. This is a cheap, effective way to get your soda delivered. However, McDonald's goes above and beyond by getting their Coca-Cola delivered in stainless steel containers. By doing this, the Coke stays fresher and better preserved. You can really tell a difference when drinking the fresh taste of McDonald's Coke compared to the less fresh taste of the other Cokes I tried. McDonald's follows strict guidelines to ensure their fountain soda tastes just like an actual bottle of Coke.
McDonald's takes pride in maintaining an amazing filtration system. They filtrate their water more than any other fast food joint. The water is an important part of creating the perfect Coke. Because the Coke comes in a syrup form, the water being added to this syrup is extremely important to the process of making the perfect Coke. Fresher water = fresher Coke.
According to the McDonald's website, there are several reasons why they keep their fountain Coke cold, the first being that it remains at the peak of refreshing when cold.
"We keep our fountain beverage system cold so your drink can always be at the peak of refreshing."
McDonald's highly regulates the temperature of their soda. They keep an insulated tube running from their back fridge to the soda machine. Water is running through this tube at all times which causes the temperature of their drinks to always remain just above freezing. They keep their filtered water chilled, which is necessary to maintain C02 levels. This in turn equals more carbonation and a crisper, more fizzy Coca-Cola taste and longer drink carbonation.
McDonald's also chills their soda syrups before they enter the dispensing stage. This could be a large reason why their Coke tastes so much better. Some fast food joints skip this step altogether.
This is a weird observation, but it makes sense! McDonald's is known to have a wider straw than other fast food chains. According to their website, this is so "The Coke taste can hit all your taste buds." With a larger gulp full of refreshing Coke hitting your taste buds, it may create an image of a better, more refreshing feel in your mouth since more taste buds are getting to experience the taste.
Although many people think there is a secret formula, in actuality, McDonald's just takes pride in filtration, temperature, delivery, and straw size. Because of this, we get to enjoy the freshest, most crisp Coca-Cola of all time.