The Coca Cola Corporation in 2009 started rolling out these new style, touchscreen, soda dispensers, with all of their products being able to be distributed from one central machine in a restaurant. This of course, phased out (in a lot of places at least) the old school, soda fountain that most of us grew up on. In theory, this is a fantastic innovation for technology and soda consumers. Unlimited combinations of flavors, the machine promises, and it does deliver on that, but what it also delivers on is it standardizes soda everywhere. So no matter where you go, a Coke will taste like a Coke will taste like a Coke. And this is great, again, I say, for the company itself. It’s a standard flavor that people worldwide are familiar with and love, hence why they’re bringing in a $3.45 billion dollar profit (MSNBC) But, in all of this, it loses something that’s near and dear to this particular writer’s heart, true flavor.
What I mean by this is, I remember a time, growing up in the 1980s, 90s, and the 00’s, is a time before the Freestyle took over. When how good a Coke tasted depended on location. Some places, like movie theaters, the syrup was a bit thicker, or it was more syrup heavy and it gave their version of Coca Cola a more addictive flavor to it, a really sweet almost impossible to describe if you’ve never had it but it made paying the expensive fee for movie soda totally worth it. Or you’d go to a certain fast food place, because they had the better Coke, and some places their soda machines would be kind of shitty, so you wouldn’t go there. It was all in the amount of soda syrup to water ratio that makes a good Coke a good Coke.
Cut to today, where, thanks to the Freestyle revolution, soda tastes the same no matter where you go. That $9 movie theater Coke tastes exactly the same as the $3 one from the fast food place. No matter where you go, it all tastes the same.
Which is also kind of a good thing because really soda isn’t healthy for you at all, and you should drink more water, and all that stuff, but sometimes you need a soda. It just pairs better with a burger and fries, it’s practically an American tradition. And I miss the days before they standardized how soda tastes. Now, there are still pockets of revolution here and there, certain locations still have the old school soda fountains, the kind where the syrup to water ratio isn’t the same. I can tell you from personal experience the Steak and Shake in Hampton, Virginia still has the old school style fountain, and their Coke was heavenly. It was like the purest of the purest soda I’d had in 6 years.
I mean, that’s pure soda ecstasy right there. Look at me. You don’t get that level of enjoyment from a mere soda anymore. It doesn’t happen. Because IT. ALL. TASTES.THE.SAME.NOW. And this isn’t right. But nobody except me and maybe a few other people I’ve mentioned this phenomenon to really care. It’s all about the new thing, and 100 flavors. While yes, being able to have a Grape/Strawberry Sprite is a wonderful thing, at what cost to the pure flavor of good Coke?
I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, maybe I’m just getting old, pining for the old days when soda tasted different in different places. Sometimes standardization is great, but not when it comes to flavor. Maybe this is all a rigged thing to get people to drink more water, all I know is, I miss the old school soda machine.