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Fountain sodas vs. canned - which do you prefer

I'm a diet coke drinker and I prefer a fountain soda WAY more than canned. Not sure why (and I've never done a blind taste test to see if this is all in my mind). The fountain soda seems a bit less fizzy and to have more coke syrup flavor. Anyone else?

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  1. The only soft drink I really like is TAB- difficule to find, but one local supermarket does caryy it. I only like it ice cold from the can. Must be the mix of metal and chemical sweeteners that I like!!

    1. I'm a Diet Coke drinker too. With the ready availability of plastic bottles in all sizes now, I much MUCH prefer the bottle to drinking out of a can.

      I like fountain drinks too, but I think that has more to do with having it in a cup over ice and through a straw. They are different experiences.

      1. Coke in a can, please. I'll take a glass bottle, too, but if it's fountain or a plastic bottle, I'll drink something else. I think the carbonation has a different flavor/feeling from a can, and it doesn't taste right otherwise.

        If it's fountain, I'll usually get sprite, lemonade or root beer.

        1 Reply
        1. re: cyberroo

          I agree, Coke in a can is best, followed by the glass bottles. However, I'll still drink it from the fountain or plastic, I'll just look around to make sure there's no other choice.

        2. My first choice is always a can, followed by a bottle, fountain drinks are last on the list. I'm a Diet Coke junkie, and can tell the difference between the various containers and between fountain versions for different restaurants (I swear McD's has a different formula!). My DC drinking friends thing I'm nuts, but I also prefer is at room temperature. I like the burning sensation in my nose/throat from the room temp carbonation, it's one of several food preferences I learned from my grandfather.

          2 Replies
          1. re: mpjmph

            My DH prefers his Coke at room temperature too. I don't drink soda, so I don't care, but when we are having guests over, we always have to remember to move some of his Coke into the fridge.

            1. re: mpjmph

              McD's isn't a different formula, but they have Coca Cola tech maintain their fountains so the product is consistance.

            2. A debate which has burned between the wife and I for perhaps 23 years.
              I think a few variables are involved.
              The fountain experience is not exact - the tech measures out the ratio between syrup and carbonated water which 'ensures' a consistent product from fountain to fountain.
              But...... sometimes the valves go out of whack (too much or not enough syrup or carbonated water), sometimes the CO2 goes low, sometimes the wrong syrup is put into the line (it can be changed back, but some syrups will ruin the line forever), sometimes the water quality varies, sometimes the syrup is getting long in the tooth, etc etc.
              That being said, some places have fountain drinks that I CRAVE and love over any bottle or can. Other places are OK, and others (a movie theater comes to mind, where after 4 complaints, their diet coke still has a mediciney flavor) plain suck.

              When done well, I prefer fountain over can. If I am concerned about consistency, I'll take the can (I'd actually prefer the bottle, but thats another story).
              Have you tried coke in a glass bottle from Mexico? WOW.

              1. I like canned better, makes a distinct difference when I drink Diet Pepsi. There's something, probably bad for me, about the aluminum can. But I drink out of a plastic bottle too. Fountain tastes different, someone once told me it's because they still use saccharin in the fountain formulas, but I never confirmed if that's true. Maybe it was true for a while. Now I would gather it's mainly just from the fact that the mixing happens on demand as opposed to sitting around already mixed in the bottle/can.

                If I want a regular (not diet) drink, though, fountain is the way to go. I almost can't drink a regular Pepsi or Coke anymore.

                1. I don't drink much soda, and mostly because I gave it up when fountain drinks started not sitting well with me. If I'm at a place with only a fountain, I usually get water. I like Root Beer, and buy it at the store in bottles or cans, depending on the budget.

                  1. Canned Coke. Right near freezing. So, so, good.

                    1. I used to be a Mt. Dew addict and likes it much better out of the can. I guess I was addicted to the aluminum, too.

                      1. we're all Diet Coke junkies here. The kids and SO will drink it at room temperature.
                        I on the other hand, want it in a glass cold over ice. I do prefer a glass bottle above everything, but hard to find at a good price. Some fountains are good, providing the mixture is correct.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: othervoice

                          Likewise about the ice. Likewise about the proper mixture in the fountain. If I am going to have a soda, it's fountain, over ice. So crisp. And yes, it's Diet Coke. Cay

                        2. I like fountain, probably because I got used to it at my old work place. But I like that fountain ones are slightly less gassy.

                          Well...when the syrup bag is newly opened of course and in the middle of the day because the few cups of coke in the beginning of the day is NASTYYYY!!

                          1. There was a time when I preferred fountain drinks, but these days there are far too many that have they syrup at the bottom and the fizz at the top and never the twain do meet... Until you stir them with a straw and lose some of the fizz.

                            My preference for Cake is not so much can or fountain, but HFCS versus sugar, and that means hunting down coke canned or bottled in parts of mexico OR kosher Coke around Jewish holidays. When I can find it, the itty bitty bottled coke with the hour glass waist made with sugar is the only real Coke there is in the entire world. A greatly endangered species. I keep hoping Coca Cola will reintroduce it into wide distribution and call it, "The Real Thing." I'd buy it!

                            1. Diet Coke, please, and always in a can, caffeineated, and as cold as possible. Begin with one as soon as you get to work, and continue throughout the day. Take as needed.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: steakman55

                                I am so glad I am not the only one that drinks Diet Coke (or, Coke Zero) first thing in morning. People always look at me funny!

                                1. re: pinkprimp

                                  I'm a morning diet coke drinker too. I hate coffee, and started drinking diet coke in high school when there suddenly weren't enough hours in the day. Then through college, grad school, and the work world...

                                  I saw an ad in a magazine a few weeks ago (can't remember which, something on my grandmother's coffee table) with a can of diet coke wearing a coffee sleeve. So perfect.

                              2. I don't drink much soda but when I do it is usually Mountain Dew in a plastic bottle. That way I can close it back up when I don't finish it. I don't care for fountain drinks, because it often has to much ice in it...then when I don't finish it it gets watered down by the melted ice.

                                1. My heirarchy would be:

                                  Fountain drinks
                                  Canned / Plastic

                                  Oddly, I also prefer the same sort of heirarchy when it comes to beer, then it's on-tap over bottle over can. Plus i do not like my beer ice cold. I only once ever had beer in a plastic bottle and that was an even less pleasant experience.

                                  I think its the less fizz thing, as well as it being a little more watered out or something...has nothing to do with ice, because while i don't like to put ice in my poured bottled or canned soft drinks, I don't mind it one bit in the fountain variety. I love, however, how A&W doesn't put ice in the drink, so you know you're getting money's worth.

                                  Too much fizz gives me raging hiccups...something that seems to afflict me almost EVERY time I have a can or plastic bottle of diet 7up. That stuff seems extra fizzy, as also evidenced by it's near explosive and overflowing contents each time i open one.

                                  1. I am a Diet Cokehead and my choice would be, in order of favorite to least favorite:

                                    plastic bottle

                                    However, certain fountains are so well mixed that I would rate them better than canned. McDonald's is consistently good. However, I never eat at McD's - but on a road trip I may go to their drive thru for just a Diet Coke.


                                    1. OK, this is not going to be much help in your thread, especialy as neither of us is a "soda-drinker." Because I can still recall "soda fountains," and some of the concoctions that they offered, I'd have to choose "fountain." Now, you are probably talking about machines, and the like, and I have no preference there vs canned. As we only do a 6-pack of Vernor's, or some Ginger-beer, per year, I don't have any experience.

                                      I did do a couple bottles of Barq's Root Beer with some shrimp po-boys, while in New Orleans, and that was probably my soda/pop intake for '08.


                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                        Yes Bill, you are right. Not much to help here. Why post? Anyways, glass bottles are best for soda. Barqs soda is poor quality.

                                        1. re: Fat Swine

                                          Actually I find Bill's posts to always be of insight. And why exactly is Barq's of poor quality?

                                          1. re: scoopG

                                            The reason why fountain soda is less fizzy or carbonated is first due to it being dispensed into a cup or container, Salesman and technicians from all the major players have also told me the type of ice used will also affect the post mix product as well. Cubes are best for more carbonation and crushed ice results in less.

                                            Now......If you only knew what I know....about the sanitation of most dispensers, whether a large fountain machine with multiple selections, or the soda gun at you favorite bar.....unless it is a chain or corporation that requires regular maintenance, daily cleaning schedules and procedures from a operating manual for managers and a handbook for employees....the chances are the dispensers will have some serious cleanliness issues with mold. Think about this on the same level as beer lines for draft beer. Many places do not clean these on a regular basis...if at all.

                                            In my earlier days, when I was first shown how dirty the dispensers were I was literally shaking my head in astonishment.

                                            Now you know....and the reason I prefer glass bottle first, can second and fountain only when the first two are unavailable.

                                            BTW.....same applies to beer ordered out of the home.

                                      2. A pass on the fountain drinks. Usually too watered down for my taste and I like the convenience of being able to close it back it up with a bottle because I'm usually unable to finish the drink in one sitting

                                        1. Sprite in a can (I haven't had Sprite in a bottle before), and it's pretty much the only soda I will drink. Room temperature, too; cold beverages hurt my teeth!

                                          I promise I'm not picky, either! I've just always preferred juices and other beverages instead :o)