Across the street from the local high school, a new soda shop called Rocket Fizz opened up a short while ago. They sell almost every kind of soda you can think of.
But whoever thought of Cola Azteca must’ve had a pretty twisted imagination.
My friend Mike referred me to this stuff for the blog, and I was hesitant at first because Rocket Fizz isn’t a grocery store … but when I heard what was in the soda, I knew it was worth reviewing.
The brand is called Taylor’s Tonics. If that moniker wasn’t enough to make me uneasy, the description on the label certainly was: “Sparkling and spiced café mocha.”
I’ve had café mocha before. It’s not a bad drink, even though I’m partial to caramel in my coffee.
But a café mocha shouldn’t sparkle. Glitter sparkles. Cider sparkles. Heck, even vampires in sad excuses for literature apparently sparkle.
Coffee does not sparkle.
So basically what I got out of the label is that if a Starbucks specialty drink and Coca-Cola hooked up on New Year’s Eve, this would be the product of that unholy union.
The ingredients list included coffee, cocoa, cinnamon bark and cayenne. Now do you see why I said “twisted imagination”? It sounded like it would be great as a hot drink in a mug on a cold winter day, but as an ice-cold, carbonated soda?
Drinking it almost felt like an adventure. And I don’t mean the good kind.
I poured some into a glass (because it’s so much more ladylike than taking a swig from the bottle — or actually because I wanted a photo), and I took a generous sip. My taste buds reeled from the attack.
Cola? Nope. Mocha? Possibly. Cayenne? Check. Coffee? Check, check, and triple-check.
Carbonated, spiced black coffee with a hint of mocha. That’s what it boiled down to.
I took another sip (much more tentatively this time) to see if it would taste any better the second time around. It didn’t.
My coffee-loving sister chose at that moment to wander through the kitchen. When she saw the soda, she eagerly grabbed a glass and took a gulp. Her reaction? A face I rarely ever see from the least-picky person I know.
After a few repetitions of “Ew!” and “Gross!” she summed up her opinion: “If you added cream and sugar, it might be edible.”
I don’t know. I think even if I poured in some cream and dumped in some sugar (even though it supposedly contains cane juice — which is undetectable at best), it wouldn’t be any more palatable. Besides, since cola is acidic, wouldn’t it curdle the cream anyway? Food for thought.
Coffee was never meant to be carbonated. It’s that simple. The flavor itself wasn’t awful (especially if you like strong black coffee), and the aftertaste was bearable (cayenne and then — finally — a hint of cola), but let’s face it: there’s a reason coffee is usually sold as either hot or iced, with no “carbonated” option.
An exception to this rule, I guess, could be Coca-Cola BlāK — coffee-flavored Coke. I’ve never tried it, but if it’s anything like Cola Azteca, I think I’ll keep my distance. (Plus, it was discontinued. Maybe there’s a reason for that.)
Dear coffee and cola: You’re both great; you really are. But please keep to yourselves. It’s better that way.
Ingredients: Filtered water (infused with certified organic fair trade coffee, cocoa, cinnamon bark and cayenne), evaporated cane juice, natural flavors of vanilla, mocha and spice, citric acid and natural caffeine (40 mg).
Price: $1.29 at Rocket Fizz
Pros: Well, it would be great as a hot, non-carbonated beverage…
Cons: It’s a cold, carbonated beverage.