Evil things hibernating and coming back round again every few years is nothing new. Stephen King’s IT would slumber for twenty-seven years before awakening to feast on more children. And so none should be surprised that thirteen years after the original version faded into memory, Coca-Cola has decided to create another hybrid Coke/coffee drink. Yes, I reviewed Coke Blak all the way back in 2006. I was amazed to learn it took two years for it to ultimately expire.
I found three flavors of this beast in the wild: Zero Sugar Dark Blend, Vanilla, and Caramel. Knowing that Zero Sugar meant I would be dealing with some horrific artificial sweeteners, I went with the two latter choices. And you might be thinking, “Widge, but don’t those still have sucralose, something that you refer to often as ‘The Sweat of Satan’?” Yes. We’ll get to that.
I’m not sure if this is something to give them credit for, but they haven’t gone with a fancy or would-be clever name this time: it’s just Coca-Cola With Coffee. As though to set your mind at ease. “Oh nothing funny is going on here,” they try to say, “It’s just best buds Coke and coffee, hanging out.” They try to say that, but I think if you could ask coffee about the whole ordeal, the response would seem like a hostage video. But…I’m not sure coffee has anything to do with it.
There is no coffee in this drink. At least no “real” coffee. Instead you have coffee powder, aka instant coffee. Now you might have leapt to the conclusion that this is Coke + instant coffee + flavoring. And if it was, we would be better off. But there’s more–or less-to it than that.
This is more like when you take a two-liter of Coke and leave it open for a few days. So take that Coke and add instant coffee and flavoring. So if you like really stale Coke (or as we refer to it around here, R.C.) then you might have something to look forward to here. And if the coffee powder had been used in heroic doses to at least give the “coffee” flavor some backbone, that might have been useful as well. Instead, it’s like somebody waved this near a carafe of coffee. And not even good coffee. Indeed, this concoction is so bad, any brand of coffee under the Coke corporate umbrella is hereby declared suspect.
Only after the stale Coke and the weak afterthought of coffee does the flavoring hit the taste buds. And it’s hard to tell how well that works–it or the dreaded sucralose–because the mind is shrieking to stop after just a couple of sips.
The can purports to provide “Great Coca-Cola Taste blended with Rich, Luxurious Coffee.” There is nothing great or rich or luxurious about this. If you needed to make a floor sticky so dancers would have more traction, it’s probably best suited for that. The website says “Sips like a Coke, finishes like a coffee.” In reality, it sips like ennui and finishes like the regret of the forgotten dreams from your childhood.
In short, the experience was hideous and I don’t recommend it. All we can do is wait for this to fade away and then be on guard thirteen years later when it ultimately happens again.