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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Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

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