New Coke Died in the ’80s. We Dug It up and Drank It.

Can our staff tell the difference between Coke, Pepsi, and New Coke?


Earlier this month, Mother Jones senior reporter Tim Murphy published an article with a bold claim: New Coke, a short-lived version of Coca-Cola introduced in the ’80s, didn’t fail. It was killed in a culture war.

But Murphy had never tried the drink himself.

In preparation for this week’s episode of Mother Jones’ Bite podcast, Murphy and a few Mother Jones  colleagues embarked on a very serious and entirely scientific taste test of New Coke, Coca-Cola Classic, and Pepsi. During the hubbub over New Coke, even the most impassioned crusaders couldn’t tell the difference between the new stuff and the old—suggesting there was more to the backlash than just soft-drink preferences.

Three decades later, we decided to run a similar test ourselves. Could we taste a difference between New Coke, Coca-Cola Classic, and Pepsi? Watch our definitive soft drink assessment to find out.

Tim Murphy talks about what really happened to New Coke on the latest episode of Bite podcast:

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Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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