Paul Williams, of the Idea Sandbox, recently shared his impressions of Coke BlaK, a coffee infused cola. He also shared an amusing story of when we cracked open and tasted a long-expired coffee soda beverage called Mazagran. Mazagran? In 1994, before Starbucks partnered with Pepsi to create the bottled Frappuccino product, they first produced a coffee-infused cola beverage called Mazagran. Mazagran didn’t last long but while doing the marketing thing at Starbucks, I managed to get my hands on a dusty box of Regular and Spicy Mazagran bottles. Before I left Starbucks in January of 2003, I cajoled Paul into sampling a long-expired bottle of Mazagran – click here for the pictures.
Anyway, I bought a four-pack of Coke BlaK this afternoon and like I did with Pepsi Spice, I’m sharing my tasting notes
Coke BlaK Tasting Notes
Mahogany autumn-brown hue
Slight sparkling sweet ginger effervescence gives way to a medley of hazelnut, roasty, and woodsy notes. A subtle coffee aroma is present but overshadowed by other aromas.
Initial sip reveals a generic cola-like flatness leading to coffee infused velvety caramel cola flavors. A rounded sweetness with tartness on the sides of the tongue is prevalent but the mouthfeel lacks substance. The finish is tame and heavily tarnished by the artificial aspartame sweetness.
The coffee flavors are underwhelming and when present, taste like low-grade, light-roast artificially-flavored coffee. You could probably recreate the flavor of Coke BlaK by opening up a can of Tab cola and adding a small droplet of brewed hazelnut coffee. Seriously, Coke BlaK tastes a lot like Tab with a slight hint of bad, flavored coffee.
Given all the snazzy and heavily aspirational creative promoting Coke BlaK, this is another example of marketers overpromising and woefully underdelivering. By year’s end, Coke BlaK will enter the blaK hole of beverage missteps from Coca-Cola.