Illustration for article titled Coca-Cola Energy Is Terrible

Coca-Cola is a classic soda that has been around for over 120 years. But times change and folks in 2020 no longer want a little caffeine. They want a lot of it. As a result energy drinks are super popular right now and so Coca-Cola, wanting to capture some of this new market, has released a new drink, Coke Energy, in the US. After tasting the new drink all I can say is it’s not great!

Actually, I have more to say on the subject of Coke Energy. If I didn’t, this would be a much shorter post.

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The basic idea of Coke Energy is to take the already popular Coca-Cola and add in some standard energy drink ingredients (caffeine, guarana, etc) to make it more POWERFUL. Or to at least get people more wired after drinking a few. There isn’t a lot of originality happening here. The cans look like Red Bull cans, complete with colored tab and plain silver top. Also, the outside design of the cans feels really rushed and like something you would see on the shelves of a store in a Ubisoft open-world game. It’s just a big can that says energy on the side with some swirls.

The cans give off a very “Your dad decided to make an energy drink too” vibe. But cans aren’t why we buy energy drinks. We buy them to get a boost of short term energy that will go away faster and faster as we drink more, slowly forcing us to drink even more and in the process we end up losing all sensitivity to caffeine. And if that’s what you are wanting, you could do a lot better than Coke Energy.

I grew up drinking a lot of Coca-Cola. I love the flavor of Coke. I don’t drink it anymore outside of rare occasions, but when I do I savor it. This stuff isn’t quite Coke. But it ain’t quite what I expect from an energy drink like Monster or Red Bull. I’ll break down the three flavors below. (I was unable to find a can of Cherry Zero. Sorry.)

Illustration for article titled Coca-Cola Energy Is Terrible
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Coke Energy

This is the standard version of the drink. In theory, this should just taste like Coke but with more energy. In practice, it doesn’t work. I feel like the Coke formula is a tricky thing and messing with it can lead to things go poorly. Remember New Coke? At first, when you sip the can, you get a nice strong taste of Coke. But quickly it goes away and a medicinal taste appears before that leaves your mouth too and then all you are left with is a nasty aftertaste. It lingers and makes drinking Coke Energy feel like a bad experience.

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Illustration for article titled Coca-Cola Energy Is Terrible

Coke Energy Zero Sugar

I was expecting this to taste like the first can of standard Coke Energy, but with a less sweet finish. Instead, I got something very different. The initial taste that fills your mouth is sickly sweet Coke, followed quickly by a similar aftertaste as Coke Energy. But this one is even worse. More metallic and it lasts longer. I hated it.

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Illustration for article titled Coca-Cola Energy Is Terrible

Coke Energy Cherry

I’ve never been the biggest fan of Coke Cherry. Honestly, most flavored Cokes don’t do it for me. So I was expecting to hate Coke Energy Cherry. And yet...I didn’t. In fact, of the three I tried, it was the one I could see myself drinking again. (If I didn’t have access to anything else but Coke Energy drinks. Which sounds like a nightmare.) Cherry didn’t have as bad of an aftertaste and the overall fruitier flavor helped make the energy drink bits all work together better. Or at least hide them from my tongue.

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I don’t recommend buying these unless you are curious about how they taste or you just love strange aftertastes and bad energy drinks.

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At the store where I bought these, all the Coke Energy cans sat untouched. Nearby Red Bulls and Game Fuels seemed almost picked clean. I think this drink might not be around for long. So if you are curious, you might want to grab one sooner than later.

Kotaku Weekend Editor | Zack Zwiezen is a writer living in Kansas. He has written for Gamecritics, USgamer, Killscreen and Entertainment Fuse.

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