In 1980, The Coca-Cola Company changed the way it sweetened its American Coke. This was the point when American Coke became noticeably different from its relative south of the border known as Mexican Coke.
While their sweeteners are primarily what sets them apart, there are other ways that these beverages differ. Here we will outline the differences between these two beverages. If you’ve already tried both of these soft drinks, be sure to vote for your favorite in the poll at the end of this article.
Coke Mexico vs Coke America
Does Mexican Coke taste better than American Coke? We blind taste-tested both to see if we could find an answer. Here is what we found:
Mexican Coke was said to taste sweeter with the taste of real sugar. It was believed to be less fizzy than American Coke.
The testers stated that the American Coke had a syrupy flavor. One person stated they picked up a slight lemon flavor that wasn’t present in the Mexican Coke.
If you skip down to the ingredients section, you will see why our testers correctly noted a difference in the sweeteners.
Overall, the majority of our testers preferred Mexican Coke over American Coke.
Mexican Coke (pictured left) comes in a bottle which plays into its appeal. Many people love the retro feeling that comes with drinking soda out of a bottle. Many people claim that bottled soda provides the best taste.
America Coke (pictured left) is commonly consumed out of a can, bottle, or cup at restaurants. While not as popular, American Coke can be purchased in bottles.
Note: You can’t tell the difference between the sodas when poured. That is why we didn’t provide close-up photos of the colas.
The differences between these two sodas are their calories and sodium. Mexican Coke has 10 more calories and an additional 40 mg of sodium compared to American Coke.
We suspect most people do not opt for American Coke over Mexican Coke simply for its slightly better nutrition. However, American Coke is the “healthier” option between the two beverages for the people who are curious.
|Mexican Coke||American Coke|
|Serving Size||12 fl. oz.||12 fl. oz.|
The only noticeable difference between these two sodas is the sweetener used as an ingredient. Mexican Coke uses cane sugar whereas American Coke is made with high-fructose corn syrup. See the ingredients below:
Mexican Coke – Carbonated Water, Cane Sugar, Caramel Color, Phosphoric Acid, Natural Flavors, Caffeine.
American Coke – Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Caramel Color, Phosphoric Acid, Natural Flavors, Caffeine.
Note that there are minimal differences between HFCS and sugar nutritionally. They have a similar mix of fructose and glucose. Furthermore, they are the same in regard to what they do for your health. For example, HFCS is not better for your waistline compared to sugar.
We paid $1.59 per 12-ounce glass bottle of Coke Mexico. We picked them up at our local Meijer, a Midwest supermarket chain for those unfamiliar with the company. We found Mexico Coke down the international aisle and not the soda aisle if anyone plans on heading there to purchase it.
For comparison, a 12-pack of 12-ounce cans of American Coke was $6.59 or about 55 cents per can.
You will likely pay a premium for Mexican Coke no matter where you buy it in the U.S. given that it is imported, use real sugar, and comes in nostalgic bottles.
Why Two Different Cokes?
Coca-Cola was the invention of Dr. John Pemberton. It was first sold at Jacob’s Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia in 1886. After the rights to Coke were sold and its popularity increased, The Coca-Cola Company was formed in 1892.
In other words, Coke is an American invention. On the surface, it would seem like the best business practice to universally sell Coke using the same formula. However, things always aren’t so easy when doing business with foreign countries.
Mexico values its sugar industry and likes to see its citizens employed. That is why the country prefers cane sugar over high-fructose corn syrup.
Mexico has gone as far as placing a levy on HFCS to help its sugar industry. However, the U.S. brought these issues in front of the World Trade Organization which ultimately sided with the U.S. that the levy was unfair.
The above being said, American Coke was made with sugar until 1979. That all changed in 1980 when the company began blending sugar and corn syrup. The use of sugar was phased out by 1984 when HFCS took over as the only sweetener.
We should note that Coke has been bottled in Mexico since around 1921. Fomento Económico Mexicano, S.A.B. de C.V. or FEMSA is currently the largest bottler of Coca-Cola in Mexico.
Poll: Mexican Coke vs American Coke
If you tasted both sodas, which one do you prefer? Please vote below.
Leech, J. (2020, August 20). High-fructose corn syrup: Just like sugar, or worse? Healthline. Retrieved June 11, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/high-fructose-corn-syrup-vs-sugar#health-effects
Coca-Cola History. The Coca-Cola Company. (n.d.). Retrieved June 13, 2022, from https://www.coca-colacompany.com/company/history
Glusker, A. (2015, August 11). The story of Mexican Coke is a lot more complex than hipsters would like to admit. Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved June 13, 2022, from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/story-mexican-coke-more-complex-than-hipsters-would-admit-180956032/
Booth Conroy, S. (1985, August 14). New complaints about old coke. The Washington Post. Retrieved June 14, 2022, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/1985/08/14/new-complaints-about-old-coke/d5f2f7d9-1540-4469-afa2-c9c5e23601ec/