Why does coke taste better in glass?
Soft drinks come in different tastes, shapes, and sizes. From coke to club soda, ginger beer or fruit sodas – there is a flavour for everyone. The most famous of all is probably Coca-Cola, the dark brown carbonated soft drink, campaigns, but which tastes good all year round.
But what is the best way to enjoy your favourite soda? Do soft drinks taste better when they come in glass compared to other packaging materials? Why did Coca-Cola decide to design their unique bottles with glass? And what is the best way to store coke at home to keep you drink fizzy and fresh for when you decide to open it? Read on to find the answers.
The famous beverage known all over the world
Coca-Cola, or simply Coke, is a carbonated soft drink with an interesting history – the drink was originally intended as a medicine for minor illnesses, such as heartburn, nausea, and headaches. Imagine seeing that on a prescription from your doctor!
It was 1886 when pharmacist John S. Pemberton in the US invented a new syrup that would be the start of the famous Coca-Cola. When carbonated water was added to the syrup, a new beverage was produced that was described to be both ‘delicious and refreshing’ at the same time.
Pemberton originally went to the market with his invention as a tonic for common ailments, but in 1903 the formula of the drink slightly changed and Pemberton started selling it as a soda beverage instead. That was the beginning of the famous and successful Coca-Cola we still know today.
Nowadays, coke from the Coca-Cola company is served in over 200 countries, selling more than 1.9 billion drinks every single day. This number doesn’t even count the production and selling of other well-known brands, such as Pepsi or Dr Pepper.
Reasons why soda is better in glass bottles
Coke has a very specific taste – you either love it or hate it. Both caffeinated and carbonated, it is the perfect sweetened drink to give you a little boost during the day, without having to resort to the more bitter and stronger alternative of coffee.
But even with such a specific recipe and taste, many people have said there are subtle variations noticeable in taste, depending on how long it has been shelved, how it has been stored
Some people explain the difference in taste by the influence of our ‘soda-consumption rituals’, such as pouring the coke into a glass with ice or popping open a bottle cold and fresh from the fridge. Others explain it by looking at the packaging material. While Coca-Cola and other soda manufacturers have clear instructions to follow a uniform process across the world in their production, the taste is unquestionably affected by exposure to light and shelf-life.
Your best bet for getting Coca-Cola’s pure, unaltered taste is to drink it from a glass bottle, the most inert material it’s served in. Read on to find out why.
Glass is inert and natural, keeping the taste intact
Glass ensures the taste of the soda remains the same. Founder of the food and packaging consultancy Science by Design Sara Risch explained that while the formula for the drink might remain the same, the packaging it is stored in can impact the flavour and experience of a beverage.
For example, aluminium cans include polymer lining that can absorb small amounts of flavour. Plastic bottles, on the other hand, may transfer chemicals that can alter the way a beverage tastes. Being an inert and natural material, with glass there are no chemicals that can leach into the liquid and affect the coke’s flavour. That’s why drinking out of a bottle may be the best way to get the purest Coca-Cola flavour.
Keep your coke fizzy
Most soft drinks have bubbles, and it is one of the many reasons why we love them so much. Imagine a soda without the bubbles – it simply wouldn’t be the same. Have you ever noticed that the big litre bottle of coke at the top of your fridge doesn’t taste that great after a few weeks, even if it hasn’t been opened?
Plastic bottles – which are often used for litre – are much more CO2-permeable than glass. This means the carbon dioxide – also known as fizz – will leak out of a plastic bottle much faster than from a glass bottle.
Any type of soda with bubbles will stay fresh longer when stored in glass, because it’s much harder for CO2 to escape through it. As a non-porous, single-layer material, it acts as a protective barrier against external elements. It keeps out oxygen, light and heat, but also ensures none of the gas in the soda can escape, which is why it’s called “impermeable”. Your soda won’t go flat and will taste delicious whenever you decide to open it.
Glass bottles are safe and natural
Made from natural ingredients only – sand, soda ash, limestone and recycled glass (cullet) – there’s no need for any additional synthetic liners, and no risk of harmful chemicals getting into your drink. It protects the quality and preserves the taste the beverage, letting you enjoy it just as it was intended.
Besides being natural, glass bottles are endlessly recyclable and returnable dozens of times, which facilitates circularity, boosts local economies and encourages a more conscious consumption. Every time you bring your empty container to the bottle bank, it will be on its way to be recycled into a new bottle or jar, ready to store your next soda.
Coca-Cola’s iconic design through glass
It’s easy to spot a Coca Cola bottle in the store. Not only the company’s famous logo and colours, but even their bottle has an iconic design that across Europe is considered the most distinctive glass packaging. Their bottles were designed specifically with the intent to be “so distinctive that it could be recognised by touch alone and so unique it could be identified when shattered on the ground.”
The result was the iconic Coca-Cola bottle inspired by the curves and grooves of the gourd-shaped cocoa bean, an ingredient the designers originally thought was in the product. While this was not the case, the unique design stuck and continues to be a unique mark of Coca-Cola’s branding.
A cheer with glass adds to the experience
Glass is one of the few packaging materials that can stir an emotional connection and transform any event, large or small, into a real celebration. It’s therefore not surprising Coca-Cola itself describes their bottled beverage as ‘Real Magic’.
But whether it’s Coca-Cola, Pepsi, orange soda or a ginger beer, choosing to drink it from a bottle elevates the experience and allows you to appreciate the taste more than when it comes in another packaging material.
How to store soda at home
Soda is known for its fizziness and it simply tastes best when you drink it fresh, with all the bubbles still there. However, how long can you store your beverage in case you decide to buy some soda in bulk or you simply want to keep your drink for another moment?
Storing soda that hasn’t been opened:
While the bottle is unopened, you can store coke in your pantry. It doesn’t necessarily need to be stored in your fridge. What’s important to keep it fresh longer, is to store it in a cool dark place with a constant temperature.
Just be aware that the shelf life of cola can last up to six to nine months if unopened and properly stored.
The best way to preserve the fizziness of your soda once opened is to store it in a bottle with a lid. This ensures the carbonation cannot leak out. If a bottle has an airtight seal, the gas that makes your drink fizzy has nowhere to go – keeping your beverage carbonated for as long as the seal holds.
By using glass bottles to store cola, you’ll keep a good amount of carbonation for the next 2 or 3 days.
Why is the freezer a “no-go” for storing your carbonated drinks:
Whether you choose the pantry, your fridge or a box under your bed to store your cokes, one place you should avoid is definitely your freezer.
A bottle of carbonated soda should not stay in the freezer for a long time. When frozen or even thawed, the carbonation in the drink will dissipate, leaving the beverage bland and flat. Another risk is that a frozen drink puts extra pressure on the bottle, which could damage it or make it pop open.
Bottom line: Why does coke tastes better in glass
Besides its sustainable credentials, glass consistently ranks first for protecting taste of a variety of products, from beer to soda.. Not only does it keep your favourite coke safe and fresh for longer, but the unique designs and natural credentials of these bottles make for a better experience allowing you to taste the drink in the purest way.
Next time in the store, will you buy your coke in glass?