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JLeslie's avatar

Why does decaf Coke taste so different from the real thing?

Asked by JLeslie (65511points) 1 month ago
23 responses
“Great Question” (0points)

I don’t understand why the taste is so different. I don’t think decaf, coffee tastes much different from caffeinated. Does it?

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snowberry's avatar

I don’t know the whole answer, but for starters decaf coffee only has part of the caffeine removed. The amount also varies from brand to brand because there are many ways to remove the caffeine.

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry True decaf coffee still has some caffeine, but I think it is minimal, I have no idea exactly how much. I don’t drink coffee so I never researched it, but I know for stress tests they tell you not to drink it. Lol. I also don’t know if decaf Coke has any caffeine. I don’t know if they add caffeine to regular Coke or take it out for caffeine free.

jca2's avatar

I just googled and Caffeine Free Diet Coke has no caffeine, whereas decaf coffee still has a litlte caffeine.

I drink both Diet Coke and Caffeine Free Diet Coke. To me, they taste the same.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca2 Both Diet and Diet Caffeine free taste terrible, and they do taste similar. I actually think Diet Caffeine Free tastes better than regular Diet. Regular Coke tastes completely different than Caffeine Free Coke and completely different than any of the Diets.

In my opinion.

jca2's avatar

To me, regular coke tastes different than Diet but it’s more that regular tastes more syrupy.

I guess as far as the Diet vs. Caffeine Free Diet tasting the same, it’s because I’m just used to it. I never drink regular soda. Even if there’s only regular available, I’ll have water, usually. I don’t like the syrupy feeling and I don’t like getting hundreds of calories from a liquid.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca2 I don’t drink any of it regularly or in large quantities anymore. I never was a diet soda person, and I quit caffeine years ago. Now, I have lower kidney function (hovers right around the lowest number of normal, sometimes below and sometimes above) so Coke is bad for that anyway, but I do cheat now and then and have some Coke. When I drink real Coke I still love it, and I think I would probably lose weight easier if I could drink my bubbly addiction. I don’t know if that is true, but I know a Coke last night would have had less calories than the chocolate I ate,

gondwanalon's avatar

@JLeslie Caffeinated Coke has 3 or 4 times less than coffee. Regular Coke has 34 mg per 12 oz can and Diet Coke has 46 mg per 12 oz can.

You really can’t say that you quit caffeine when you continue to occasionally drink caffeinated Coke.

I quit caffeine last December. And I’ve had zero caffeine since. It was easy for me because I have no choice. Don’t miss it. I drink water, diluted fruit drinks and diluted electrolyte mixture. Feels good to get that monkey off my back. HA!

Good health!

JLeslie's avatar

@gondwanalon I drink a coke about 6 times a year and when I do it is 12 ounces at most. Very rare, usually it is just a few sips from my husband’s, not my own in the few times a year.

I do still have some chocolate, so I acknowledge bits of caffeine in that.

I mostly drink water. I don’t like the flavored waters or sodas. I try them, but none have worked out. I do sometimes have a root beer or gingerale to try to come close to Coke, but it is not the same, and lots of sugar.

I don’t think caffeine is like alcohol, I think you can say you quit and cheat now and then, but if you want to say I just very rarely drink instead of quit that’s fine too. I freely admit my consumption. I know people who are vegetarian, except when they cheat, or kosher, except when they cheat, I think it is just a different way of framing it. I used to drink Coke every day and probably about 32 ounces a day, so going to no caffeinated beverage at all for weeks and months in a row for many years to me feels like I quit.

janbb's avatar

@JLeslie I agree. I don’t think there has to be a “sobriety” test for drinking Cola. I used to drink a can of Diet Cherry Coke every day and then I read it can be associated with a risk for dementia. So I cut it out and mainly drink water or tea. But I will occasionally have a Diet Coke when out for pizza or something and it does not make me addicted.

JLeslie's avatar

I do feel crappy a day after having a lot of caffeine, I do think it’s mini withdrawal. I think if people really pay attention they might notice withdrawal symptoms, but it so minor when we rarely have caffeine.

I was comparing it more to dietary habits than addictions. To your point though, caffeine certainly is addictive, it’s just not likely to be destructive like alcohol addiction.

filmfann's avatar

Caffeine free Diet Coke definitely tastes different. I prefer it.

ragingloli's avatar

I only know that Pepsi tastes like tooth fillings.

gondwanalon's avatar

@JLeslie Oops Sorry. Please forgive me ‘cause I’m slow.
I didn’t know the new definition of quitting a drug. Looks like as long as you just use the drug occasionally and the drug doesn’t generally cause a health concern then that’s considered quitting. OK. Got it.

JLeslie's avatar

@gondwanalon I’m not questioning your definition of drug addiction, if you want to stick to that for occasional caffeine or very minimal caffeine I am ok with it. No argument from me that it is a drug.

gondwanalon's avatar

@JLeslie i didn’t say anything about “drug addiction”. Nor did I make up a definition for “drug addiction”.

I was commenting on how you view “quitting” a drug.

Reminds me of a joke. A woman announced to her husband that she is going to quit smoking. The husband replied, “You won’t succeed”.
The woman replied back, “I was able to quit before!”

I actually overheard the above couple say that nearly 50 years ago. So funny!

Caravanfan's avatar

They taste the same to me.
What I suggest is to do a double blind taste test and repeat it 4 times. Write down the answers and see if they’re consistent.

JLeslie's avatar

@Caravanfan I’ll do it one of these days. Just for fun. I can’t imagine failing. They taste so different and I love Coke so much. When waiters gave me Pepsi I knew, when they gave me diet I knew. That’s basically a blind taste test. My husband knows also. My mom too. I know the Q is asking about Coke and caffeine free Coke, but that too I think I will know.

I might fail comparing different diet sodas, because I rarely drank or drink them and they all taste bad to me.

Caravanfan's avatar

Oh, Coke and Pepsi are totally different. But Coke and caffeine free Coke taste the same to me. Coke Zero isn’t bad—it’s better than Diet Coke.

jca2's avatar

I can tell the difference between Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi. I can’t tell the difference between Diet Coke and Caffeine Free Diet Coke.

janbb's avatar

Caffeine Free Coke tastes flat to me. Not that I’ve tried it often.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Caffeine has a slightly bitter taste. Some people are more sensitive to it and may notice more of a difference in taste.

It’s years since I’ve had caffeine free Diet Coke (not sure caffeine free regular made it to the UK but I can’t remember seeing it) and I found the aftertaste of the sweeteners more of an issue than the caffeine or lack there of.

JLeslie's avatar

@Lightlyseared Regular (with sugar) caffeine free can be hard to find in the states too. It is almost never served at restaurants. Maybe the new touch screen Coke machines at fastfood have it, I don’t remember, but those are few and far between.

Caffeine free Coke is not always at grocery stores, and when it is it has very little shelf space and it is not uncommon for it run out. If you don’t go to the store with it on your shopping list you probably wouldn’t notice it even if it is in hour supermarket. It usually has a gold label or gold on part of the label. The gold is true for Coke, Pepsi, and most store private label brands too.

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