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:


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.