Coke or Pepsi?

Kinsey Morey

Which is better: Coca-Cola or Pepsi? To answer this widely debated question, Mr. Higgins’ DC Psychology classes did blind taste tests on March 28 and 29. In the tests, the students smelled and tasted six different sodas, then ranked them from best to worst. The sodas tested were Coke, Pepsi, RC, Sam’s Choice, Shasta, and Always Save. This experiment allowed the students to figure out which soda is truly their favorite without the biases of labels.

 When walking into Mr. Higgins’ room on the day of the taste test, it can be expected to see a table full of different sodas. None of the students know which soda is which prior to the tasting and only find out after all the results are collected. The first step in the blind taste test is to smell the soda twice. Once the soda has been smelled, it can be tasted. While tasting the soda, one should tilt one’s head back and let the soda go everywhere on the tongue. This should be repeated twice. The students also have to write down the scent of the soda, whether it is ‘fragrant,’ ‘musky,’ ‘camphoric,’ ‘etherol,’ ‘peppermint,’ ‘acid,’ or ‘putrid’. The students then record the flavor, whether it is ‘sweet,’ ‘sour,’ ‘bitter,’ ‘salty,’ or ‘umami’.

 The overall winner throughout all three classes was Pepsi. Second place went to Shasta, and third overall was RC. Always Save had many different placements throughout the classes:  first, fourth, and sixth. Sam’s Choice was not the most popular by far. It was a shock for many of the students, but Coke did not place well in any of the classes either, getting last overall.  The highest Coke placed in any of the classes was fourth. In a survey before the taste test, most of the students said they prefer Coke over any of the other options.

 According to Mr. Higgins, either Coke or Pepsi almost always places in the top two and the other one will place in fifth or sixth. In all of the taste tests that Mr. Higgins has conducted, Coke and Pepsi have only ever finished first and second once. It is never known which one will be favored, and which one wins changes every year. Last year, the overall winner was RC, and this year Pepsi won.

 Many of the students were surprised by the results. Many of the sodas had similar tastes. Kaytelynn Doyle, junior, said, “On a normal day I would choose Coke, but now I know that I can go to the cheaper option and it will taste just the same.” In today’s society, labels and geographical locations have a major influence as to what people buy, and people may not even know the reason behind the unconscious biases that lead them to buy that brand. The overall goal of the taste test was to show the students that there are more things that influence why certain brands are bought besides just the taste.