Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Was this a mistake? - Dark Blend Coffee Coca-Cola

Dark Blend Coffee Coca-Cola - Aldi

We heard you like caffeine, so we put some caffeine in your caffeine. (Any of you out there even remember Pimp My Ride?)  Anyway, Coke released a new line of sodas blended with coffee. There are three flavors available: caramel, vanilla and dark blend. That said, my opening line is true, these do have more caffeine than normal Coca Cola, but it's still far less than a typical espresso drink or any of the energy drinks on the market. So their angle  is less about energy boosting, and more about flavor.

I guess there is an audience out there for such a product? Personally, I was really skeptical about the whole mash-up. I thought it would either be so lightly flavored you could barely taste the coffee, or it would be so over the top it would be disgusting. Needless to say, I ended up seeing a 4-pack at Aldi and decided to jump in with both feet. 

So, I have four cans of this stuff (three now that I gave one to my buddy Jared, @farbeyondsippin on Instagram), so let's see how it tastes and what I can do with it!


This stuff smells pretty intense. I've had Coffee Time syrup in the past, which is like a coffee-version of Hershey's chocolate syrup that you can mix with milk for a creamy, and lightly coffee flavored, beverage. This is nothing like that. It's almost aggressive in how intensely it smells like dark roasted coffee. Imagine sweetened coffee that's been boiled down, balsamic reduction style. That is the best way that I can describe it. The sweetness mostly comes from the classic caramel notes associated with coke, but the coffee is there and not taking a backseat to anyone. 

My first sip was straight from the can and at room temperature, and it was disgusting.  I imagine this is what it would taste like to drink soda-syrup straight from the box. (Those of you who have loaded soda and drink fountains know what I'm talking about.) In theory, it sounds like it would taste fantastic, after all it's concentrated soda flavoring, right? Nope! It's just too much in all the wrong ways. That is what this is like. This tastes like some kind of sweet coffee syrup meant to flavor other stuff, like an ice cream base or something. 

However, I poured it over ice and having it chilled completely changed things for me. Ice cold, this is far more palatable. It's still going to be the sweetest coffee drink you've ever had in your life, but it's enjoyable, and the carbonation helps to keep thing from being too-too sweet. 

I can taste classic Coke, which is sweet and caramelized with the tiniest hint of tartness, kind of like lemon, and then there is the rich, dark roasted, but syrupy sweet, coffee flavoring. It reminds me a bit of brown sugar, molasses, and other more old fashioned candies. 

Due to it's still intense sweetness, I found this to be more of a sipping-style drink, and not something I would knock-back to quench thirst. But, when chilled, I think it's safe to say...I actually like it. 

I'm curious about the mixing abilities of this drink. On Laverne and Shirley, main character Laverne used to drink Pepsi and milk, and while most people think that sounds like a gross combination, it's not that different from a float where soda is mixed with ice cream. While I am sure that this dark roast Coke would taste great with a scoop of ice cream, float-style, it certainly doesn't need anymore sugar. Perhaps I'll take a page from Laverne's book and give this the ol' milk-treatment. 

I was really skeptical about this line of drinks, but now that I have tried the dark blend, I am curious about the caramel and vanilla flavors. Are they just milder versions of this?  

Coffee flavored soda isn't for everyone, I certainly didn't think it was for me, but I'm really surprised by how much I like it, how well it's executed, and how versatile it actually is. If you like coffee, give this a try. It might surprise you. (And I might even buy this again! Which is something I definitely didn't think I'd say.) 

UPDATE: After finishing the can I did notice I had a headache later in the day, which is rare for me. BUT I very rarely drink coffee these days, maybe a cup once a month or so, and I also rarely drink soda. So it's probably just me being a light-weight and not an issue more coffee and soda drinkers will likely experience, but I did want to share it, just in case.   

Fans of these would also like: Chameleon Cold Brew, Dunkin' Mocha Oreos, Tiramisu and Latte Oreos, Coffee Time Syrup, or Lay's Cappuccino Chips
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