People Swear That Mexican Coke Tastes Much Better—and They Might Be Onto Something

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stockarm/iStock via Getty Images / stockarm/iStock via Getty Images

Coca-Cola fans can be particular about what's inside their bottle. Even when the labels look the same, many Coke drinkers swear the quality of the beverage differs based on its country of origin. This is the case with Mexican Coke versus American Coke. The common consensus is that Mexico's version of the product is superior, and the reasons go beyond psychology. There are significant differences in Mexican Coke's formula and packaging that improve its taste.

According to Reader's Digest, there's one major ingredient distinguishing the two colas: the sweetener. While Mexican Coke is sweetened with cane sugar—a.k.a. regular table sugar—the soda sold in the States is made from high-fructose corn syrup. As the name suggests, high-fructose corn syrup is derived from corn, and it contains slightly more fructose sugars than glucose. Cane sugar consists of 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose.

The two sweeteners are processed in the body in basically the same way, but research suggests that they may differ in taste. According to a study from 2003, high-fructose corn syrup tastes about 1.5 times sweeter than table sugar. So when drinkers enjoy Mexican Coke, it may be the toned-down sweetness they prefer.

Coca-Cola from Mexico may also have its packaging to thank for its popularity. Anyone who's ever enjoyed the beverage knows it comes in a classic glass bottle. Plastic and metal containers—like the kind American Coke comes in—can potentially change the flavor of the soda they carry. That isn't a problem with glass, which may explain the so-called “cleaner” taste people attribute to Mexican Coke.

Coca-Cola is popular around the world, but true connoisseurs know where to look for the best versions of the drink. The Coke from McDonald's has a cult following that that rivals that of Mexican Coke; here's what makes the fast food chain's soda so special.