April 10, 2006

Coke BlaK

Coke BlaKThis weekend I saw that the new “Coke Blak” had hit the store shelves at the local market. It’s pricey and you can only get it 4 8oz. bottles at a time, but we had Mike and Julie coming over so I figured people would get a kick out of trying it.

The bottle is sleek and stylish. However, I would feel a little weird drinking something in public out of a bottle that screams “DESIGNED TO BE SEXY!” so loudly. I poured mine into a glass.

It is easy to sum up the flavor of Coke BlaK. It’s coffee-flavored C2. It tastes like Coke Classic with a shot of coffee syrup, but with half the calories. It’s pretty sweet. Lightly carbonated. According to the company, it’s got less caffeine than actual coffee, and about twice as much as a Coke Classic.

If I understand correctly from reading other reviews, this is not the same beverage that has been marketed in France. The French version is, apparently, a lot less sweet and a lot more coffee. That would have been a much more radical departure from Coke than this was.

This one still tastes quite a bit like Coke. That surprised me a little. And now I wonder what a Coke Zero + a shot of Autocrat tastes like. For us SouthCoasters (and Rhode Islanders) coffee syrup is never very far away. I expect that you can make a much less expensive version of Coke BlaK in your own kitchen.

If I have time, I will work out a copycat recipe for y’all. [Done! See below.]

The response from the panel of four taste testers was positive. We seemed to generally agree that we liked the stuff but wouldn’t pay a high price for it. I will let the individuals involved give their own impressions in the comments.

I liked it, too, but I don’t drink a lot of sugared beverages when I’m trying to watch calories. It’s easy for me to cut them out. However, under normal circumstances I would enjoy this stuff if it were about the price of Coke. (Sorry - I don’t remember what I paid for the 4-pak. I will check that and update this entry later). Thumbs slightly up on the beverage, thumbs slightly down on the price. And, I’d like to try the French version.

In semi-related news, there is a bit of nervousness around the globe regarding benzene levels in soft drinks.

UPDATE:

Coca-Cola BlaK copycat recipe (first pass)

  • 12 oz of Coke Zero
  • 2 tbsp of Autocrat Iced Cappuccino mix.

Stir the soda a little bit to get rid of some of the carbonation

I chose the Iced Cappuccino mix because it is more coffe-ish and less syrup-ish (i.e. less sugar) than the regular syrup used to make coffee milk. Also, it has more caffeine in it than the regular Eclipse and Autocrat (which are made by the same company anyway).

I used the calories as a rough guide to estimate the amount of mix which might be needed. My recipe comes out to about 50 calories.

I failed to mention when I first posted this that none of us really like the idea of the Coca-Cola company making up new letter for our alphabet. BlãK looks a lot like it should be pronounced “blah-k” at first glance (thus the joke about “Coke blah” that we made all night, and the references to Count Blah for those who remember “Greg the Bunny.” The word would, ostensibly, refer to the color of the stuff, in which case you’d be inclined to pronounce it “black.” In France, instead of the Coca-Cola squiggle over the “a” they used a bar, which implies the English pronunciation of “blake” with a hard “a” sound. In Portuguese, that diacritical over the “a” calls for a slightly nasal version of the vowel, but I can’t remember if that would be a nasal “blah-k” or a nasal “black” or something in between. It’s been a while since college Portuguese.

Maybe they just want us to wonder.

In any case, I think the name is a weird attempt to be edgy. First and last letter capitalized and a made up letter in the middle. That’s hot. (not) But I have to say, I’m liking my imitation Blãk. Call it Coke Blãke. Rhymes with fake.

[See the French version of the bottle and Coca-Cola BlaK logo here on Wikipedia]

Update2:

I don’t know if Autocrat still makes this Iced Cappuccino mix, but the same basic product is listed on their website as “Newport Coffee Traders Iced Cappuccino Mix” and you have to buy a gallon of it if you get it through the website. New Englanders can probably find it easier - just drive to Rhode Island. The iced cappuccino mix is good stuff.


Posted by James at April 10, 2006 9:38 AM
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Comments

That's a pretty accurate description of how I liked Bl*k. (And, thanks again to the C-C Co. for inventing a new letter - "a" with a backwards tilde over it, pronunciation unknown.) The taste was surprisingly unobjectionable, bordering on good, and I think it would grow on me quickly if I drank it more often. The caffeine level was just right.

But not at that price - I think about a buck apiece for an 8 oz. bottle, when you should be able to get a regular coke in a 20 oz. bottle for about the same price.

I'd be curious to taste the French version, but I'm seriously considering getting a thing of coffee syrup and making my own Bl*k at home, since I'm now resorting to making my own vanilla Coke at home anyway. Thanks, Coca-Cola, for simplifying my soda purchases. It's now easier to just buy plain Coke and flavor it myself. If Eclipse would make lemon, lime, and cherry syrups too I'd be all set.

BTW, I managed to get some Kosher for Passover Coke at the Dartmouth Shaw's this weekend. I'll be honest - it wasn't as good as I expected.

Posted by: Julie at April 10, 2006 10:16 AM

While we're on the subject here, I'll publish my mini-review of "Tab Energy" or whatever the hell that crap is called. IT SUCKS. It doesn't taste like Tab. It's expensive. And someone needs to tell the Coca-Cola company that they can't fool me, energy comes from calories, not caffeine and fancy herbal ingredients. A drink with 5 calories is a low-energy drink.

Anyway, it's pink and it kind of tastes like a mixture of celery and the white part of a watermelon, with lots of sugar. I'm sure there's a market for that someplace, but I don't know what possessed them to call this drink "Tab."

They could have called it something else and then tricked people into trying it with no expectations. They might have created a surprised, previously untapped market of celery soda enthusiasts. (Celery soda exists, but can be hard to find, not to mention hard to take.) Instead they named it after a completely different existing drink, guaranteeing disappointment and disgust.

Posted by: Julie at April 10, 2006 10:26 AM

I enjoyed the new Coke, blah. I'd also like to try a plain Coke with Autocrat in it, blah.

I mean Blk, blah.

Posted by: Mike at April 10, 2006 11:33 AM

I thought it was a-ight, blah. Dammit.

Posted by: Count at April 10, 2006 11:42 AM

OK - I updated this post with a discussion on the fun spelling of Coke BlaK and my first attempt at a copycat recipe. It's pretty close, actually. But I haven't done a side-by-side.

Posted by: James at April 10, 2006 1:42 PM

For the curious, my Coke BlaKe has about as many calories, ounce for ounce, as a Dunkin Donuts iced latte made with skim milk.

I don't know why I felt the need to post that, but there you have it.

Posted by: James at April 10, 2006 1:49 PM

I do not like this packaging. At all. The styles don't mix--some of the "caramel clouds" look analog, some digital--but worst of all,
the traditional glass bottle is coated with a plastic wrap and topped with a big plastic cap. The small logo is extraordinarily
unimaginative, but now I see that it's designed to be subliminal. I can forgive Coke for the "BlaK"--"Black" is copyrighted.

Anyway, it tastes OK, but it is marketed all wrong. When original Coca-Cola is already
the world's premium soda, people will not pay triple for an added coffee essence.

Posted by: Main at April 27, 2006 6:48 PM

I've always enjoyed coffee in my cola. Now you can make it strong or mild with Javette coffee. Just alter the amount of Javette coffee in your favorite cola and you can too can have it your way! Check it out at www.javette.com

Posted by: Candy at May 11, 2006 2:21 PM

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