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Mexican Coca-Cola vs. American Coca-Cola

This all started because of Michelada, a Mexican “beer cocktail” Diner E raved about upon trying it during a very recent visit to Broadacres Marketplace, an open market in Las Vegas where that drink is very popular amongst the dominant Latino community there.

Michelada ingredients. Photo courtesy of hellosplendor.com

So we go online looking up the ingredients to make authentic Michelada, learning that it’s made with Mexican Beer, Clamato (similar to V8, except with clam juice), Maggi (kinda’ like worcestershire and shoyu), Lime Juice and Mexican Hot Sauce. While its most unique ingredient is Tajin, an all-purpose seasoning salt that you could say is the Mexican version of Li Hing powder, tasting salty and tangy, albeit more spicy like roasted peppers than sweet like Li Hing.

So I hit Don Quijote Kaheka, thinking since they’re big on imported grocery goods, guaranteed they’d have Tajin, unfortunately to no avail.

However in the Mexican section they did have this here Mexican Coke! The soda, not the white powder stuff. lol  It was $1.50 for 355 ml bottle, which is equivalent to 12 ounces. So out of curiosity, I threw one in the cart to give it a shot.

I didn’t bother checking the regular soda aisle to see if they carried glass bottled American market Coca-Cola, which would have been a more fair comparison, instead just grabbing the first bottle I could find at the checkout, which was in plastic. So I suppose you can say this is as much a comparison of Coca-Cola in a glass bottle vs. plastic bottle, as much as it is American vs. Mexican Coke.

Maybe I should do a future review on Mexican Coke vs. American Coke, the white powder stuff. But then again, I enjoy my freedom, thank you very much. And besides, doesn’t that stuff all come from South America, anyway?

Anyway, looking closely at the label, notice the Mexican Coke has ‘MR’ after the Coca-Cola logo, whereas the American Coke has the registered ® symbol. I tried searching what ‘MR’ stands for with no answer. Perhaps “Mexico Registered”?  Also notice the Mexican Coke label is screen printed directly on the glass bottle so it can be reused, whereas the American Coke plastic label is wrapped on.

Of course everything else written on the Mexican Coke is in Espanol.

A close inspection and comparison of the ingredients in the American vs. Mexican Coke, and you’ll notice the only difference is the American Coke uses High Fructose Corn Syrup, while the Mexican Coke uses Sugar. Ooh! Ooh! Ooh!… very interesting!

Of course, being a glass bottle, the Mexican Coke has a cool old school metal bottle cap.

It’s also worth noting that the Mexican Coke’s metal bottle cap is not an easy “twist-top” type, but you need a bottle opener to pop that bad boy off.

The advantage goes to the plastic bottled American Coke bottle cap for not only being an easy twist-top, but also having a code under the cap that you can punch in at mycokerewards.com to rack up point to win prizes. I think I still have a bunch of points there I haven’t redeemed yet from all the Powerade® (produced by Coca-Cola) I used to drink. Gotta’ check.

Upon pouring the Mexican Coke (left) and American Coke (right) in my handy-dandy Coca-Cola drinking glasses (made of real glass) “on the rocks”, I immediately notice the Mexican Coke has much more effervescence (bubbly carbonation fizz) than the American Coke. Being this is vs. a plastic bottle, I’m not sure if that’s the nature of it being in a glass bottle, or a unique advantage to Mexican Coke.

Even after several sips for tasting, along with resting for several minutes, the Mexican Coke pictured above still had lots of active effervescence.

As compared to the American Coke pictured above, which you can see looks “flat” by comparison, already loosing its fizz. Advantage: Mexican Coke.

As for taste, not surprisingly, straight out of the bottle the Mexican Coke had a much brighter, crisper, authentic Coca-Cola taste.

Whereas the American Coke tasted just a tad generic by comparison. I mean you know it’s Coca-Cola, not Pepsi, yet not quite as “classic” as the glass bottled Mexican Coke.

It wasn’t until they were both poured in the glass drinking glasses over ice, did the American Coke actually taste better than the Mexican Coke. Yes I said it.

The key was the taste of the sweetener,  keeping in mind the Mexican Coke uses sugar vs. American Coke using High Fructose Corn Syrup, in the drinking glass, the American Coke actually had a more naturally sweetened flavor. Go figure, right? That naturally sweetened flavor, irregardless of it being high fructose corn syrup also gave the American Coke a smoother delivery to the palate. The only thing that took away from the American Coke was its lack of effervescence. If it had more of it, it would hands-down beat Mexican Coke in a glass drinking glass over ice. Advantage: American Coke.

As it stands, American Coca-Cola in a plastic bottle for the win if drank from a glass drinking glass over ice. Mexican Coke wins marginally if you drink it ice cold, straight out of its glass bottle.

As for cost, again, the Mexican Coca-Cola retails at Don Quijote for $1.50 per 12 oz. glass bottle, while the American Coca-Cola retails for $1.59 for a 16 oz. plastic bottle, plus 6 cents HI-5 tax.

Have you tried Mexican Coca-Cola yet? How about American Coca-Cola in a glass bottle? Share your thoughts!



Related links:
Mexican Coke – Wikipedia
The Mexican Coca-Cola Myth: It’s Almost American – Bloomberg Business Week

P.S. I met this cool braddah at Mai Tai’s last night who happened to have the same name as myself. He even had my/his name tattooed on his arm!…

Only thing missing is the okina in Pomaika’i (the names means “fortunate” or “blessings” in Hawaiian).

Speaking of which, I’ll be hanging out at Mai Tai’s tonight to watch the Fireworks off Ala Moana Beach Park (begins at 8:30pm). Come on down and join me!

Have a safe and happy 4th of July weekend. Toodles! ;-)


14 thoughts on “Mexican Coca-Cola vs. American Coca-Cola

  • July 4, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    I think Mexican Coke is smoother than American Coke, American Coke is sweeter than Mexican Coke, and there is a difference in flavor between plastic and glass bottles. But I do prefer Mexican Coke over American Coke (both the beverage and white powder). I also prefer the flavor of soda from aluminum cans over plastic bottles.

    • July 4, 2014 at 1:33 pm

      I worked in an old company back in RI that retrofitted old hydraulic machine-tool centers to computer precision servo drive automation. The owner maintained an old 10 cent per 12 oz. glass coca cola bottle machine in the center of the plant for us to use. Coca Cola Company would fill the machine each week for us. I still have a six pack of 12 oz. glass coca cola bottles on the shelf not opened emblazoned with Red Sox’s logo year they won the World Series.

      Because the Mexican coca cola uses natural cane sugar which American coca cola has opted to use high fructose corn syrup because it is cheaper, the Mexican has a more natural taste like the old coca cola of yesteryear used to taste like.

      For a taste test, I would have chilled both bottles and then poured them straight into the glass without ice cubes that dilute the flavor and taste but each to his own.

  • July 4, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    @ Ken – Back during the 70’s and 80’s I used to travel to Tokyo, Japan frequently (at least twice a year) on business trips with my dad, and we always ordered the refilled glass bottle coke there, which back then the bottles had a greenish hue, and the Coca Logo was molded into the glass. I swear that was the BEST Coca-Cola I ever tasted. I think the Japanese water has something to do with it, just like how it makes their locally-made Ramen superior.

    That’s pretty cool how that plant you worked at had a Coca-Cola bottle refilling machine. Coca-Cola should sell a consumer grade glass bottling machine where folks can do that at home at a reasonable price. I’d so get that! And I’m not a soda person, yet made fresh tasting like that? Hook me up!

    As for tasting them without ice, I did that straight out of the bottles, which is where I noted the Mexican Coke tasted better in that delivery. Again, while I don’t drink soda very often, whenever I do, it’s ALWAYS on the rocks. My soda has to be ice, ice cold for me to drink it.

    @ Marvo – Perhaps the bottle of Mexican Coke you had was formulated slightly better than the one I had. I agree, aluminum cans taste better than plastic bottles… the soda that’s in it, that is. lol I remember reading an article about Coca-Cola chemists who stood by Coca-Cola in plastic bottles tasting exactly the same as in glass bottles, from a “scientific point of view”. I say B.S., glass bottles taste is better.

  • July 4, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    I remember when bottled mexico coke use to be popular on the mainland several years ago. Those wanna be unique hipster restaurants such as umami would serve those rather than the soda from a fountain. Back then, the ingredients said ‘cane sugar’. Not sure when it became simply ‘sugar’ and ig it was becausethey tweaked it from cane sugar to something else.

    Also, im guessing the bubblyness of the two cokes has to do with the bottle tops rather then glass vs plastic. Mexico coke as u mentioned was harder to pop off meaning it probsbly trapped more of the carbonation over time.

    Anyways, happy 4th!

  • July 4, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    Perhaps it’s the analytical side of my personality, but your taste test leaves open unconscious basis based on the coolness/nostalgic factor of the glass bottle. I’d be interested to see if your impressions change if you did a blind tasting.

    There was a study from a few years ago that showed Mexican coke won in taste tests against American coke. However, when the same people took a blind taste test, American coke consistently beat out Mexican coke.

  • July 4, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    For those who like the taste of Mexcian Coke for the real sugar, if you live in an area with any Jewish population (or a Kosher section at the grocery store, even a tiny one), at Passover time, your store will probably stock Kosher-for-Passover Coke, which is made with real sugar and no HFCS. It usually has a yellow cap, I’m not sure how the cans are marked other than U-P. Just ask someone at the grocery store (though you’ll have to wait till late march/april of 2015).

  • July 4, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    @ h – First of all, how were the July 4th Independence Day fireworks shows in DC? I just got back from watching the largest fireworks display in Hawaii at Ala Moana Beach Park’s Magic Island (viewed from Ala Wai Boat Harbor), and it was awesome, as always. Lasted a good 25 minutes, with a great finale. The crowds gathered along the beaches from Waikiki to Kaka’ako (the busiest part of Oahu’s south shore) were insane in numbers.

    I remember my ex coworker who is Jewish mentioning the difference in corn syrup vs. sugar, and the whole Kosher thing. I’ll most certainly look out for Kosher-for-Passover Coke at the next Passover. Perfect time to compare it to American glass-bottled Coke. Or what if I compare it to 7-Up? lol

    @ Hugh – I totally agree: a blind taste test is the best way to go about anything with such subtle differences. See my extensive blind taste shootout post on the ‘Chocolate-covered Macadamia Nuts Smackdown’ for a perfect example of that…


  • July 6, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    The downside of the kosher for Passover Coke is that you can only get it if your local bottler produces it. Here in N. Cal, there are only a handful of stores that carry it even around passover time.

    The Mexican Coke runs us around $0.95/bottle at Costco (again in N. Cal) — it’s nearly twice the price of the American Coke. We’ve gotten to the point we just don’t buy either. :-) About the only time we drink Coke any longer is when we travel outside of the US.

    We’ve done the blind taste test with a couple different international Cokes, you really can taste the differences. It isn’t just the HFCS vs. sugar, different countries have slightly different formulas for local tastes. The HFCS vs. sugar differences are always obvious though, we find that the ones made with sugar have a “cleaner” taste and they don’t seem to coat your mouth with sweetness.

    • July 6, 2014 at 2:44 pm


      Here’s a good article on Passover Coca-Cola:


      It begins with, “It contains pure cane sugar, is chametz-free, may taste better than the year-round beverage — and is effectively off-limits in the state of California.”

      Well there you go, no wonder you can’t find it in Northern California (I take it you’re either in Napa or the Bay Area). There’s a chemical 4-Methylimidazole, or 4-MEI in Passover Coke that’s banned in the state of California.

      I’ll retry the taste test later, doing it blind, and doing it the totally fair way, by comparing glass bottled American Coke vs. the glass bottled Mexican Coke. I can say already though, the differences are very, very subtle. I was expecting the Mexican Coke to taste completely different, but it’s not, it’s very, very similar.

      • July 8, 2014 at 10:12 am

        Odd, we buy some every year in NoCal (SF Bay area) — the trick is finding the stores that carry it. We can get it at two local Lucky stores that are in neighborhoods with a high Jewish population. Most stores have never heard of it though.

  • July 7, 2014 at 8:38 am

    MR on the Mexican CocaCola stands for marca registrada, Registered Trademark.

    • July 7, 2014 at 9:55 am

      Muchos Gracias Les!

      Hey I was close.

  • July 7, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    Ken has it right, Mexican Coke uses real cane sugar like Coke-Cola in the U.S. used to.

    Does Costco carry Mexican Coke?

  • February 8, 2018 at 10:10 am

    An open bottle of Mexican coke with sugar stays good for days and tastes sweeter an open bottle of United States coke with corn syrup go bad(flat) in hours and taste a leave a greasy taste in your mouth as a matter of fact this is same with all cane sugar sodas and high-fructose sodas


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