Synthetic Remarks 2011, 1, 1-2.


To address the longest-standing and most burning question in every aspect of our existence – is it under controlled conditions possible to really taste the difference between Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola? – we conducted the following experiment, in accordance with the highest standards of the scientific method.

Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola and a child


“Pros” = Professionals (I have a Ph.D. in a quasi-relevant area, my wife is a M.D. with a specialist degree, e.g. we know exactly what we are doing here)
“Double-dummy” = That would be us, too
“Double-blind” = Google it
“Randomized” = We used a child, our own son, to introduce a random element (Children are notoriously unpredictable)

Experimental details

A bottle each of Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola, both regular, were acquired at the local grocery store. The bottles were stored in our fridge overnight to assume the same temperature. The day after, the physician meticulously labeled six identical glasses with numbers ranging from 1 to 6. The labels were attached to the bottom of the glasses so that when the glasses were placed upright, the numbers were not visible even when the glasses were empty. The physician then measured out (i.e. eye-balled) identical doses of Coca Cola in three of the glasses and Pepsi Cola in the remaining three. In the process, she also scribbled down which number corresponded to which beverage on a post-it note (curiously – and completely irrelevant to this study – the post-it note in use was sponsored by Viagra/Pfizer, as evident by a non-discrete logotype in the upper right corner), which was then folded twice and put somewhere secret. She was alone in the kitchen when doing this.

Coke and Pepsi

The five-year-old was then instructed to enter the kitchen, alone, and rearrange the glasses according to his own free will. (This took quite a while.) The glasses were then put on a tray and carried into our living room, where the scientist, the test subject, the patient, yours truly – I – was anxiously waiting by the dinner table. The others left the scene. I tasted the beverages one at a time. (If you must know, in the absence of the typical physical attributes, the taste difference between the two was much less pronounced than anticipated.) I took about five minutes in total and then finally organized the glasses that I thought contained Coca Cola in one row, and the ones I thought contained Pepsi Cola in a separate row.

Results and discussion

Yada, yada, yada. Let us jump to conclusions: I scored 6 out of 6: 100 %. In other words, yes – humans can discriminate between Coke and Pepsi. Not only that, humans can also tell which one is which. The standard deviation is zero.

Full score

Future work

Not applicable. The issue has been resolved for all eternity.


Oh, thank Heaven for 7-Eleven – where the sodas were bought.

Conflict of interest statement

We financed this study with our own money. We did not take bribes from the soda industry. Both my parents-in-law are dentists and kindly advised us not to conduct research in this area, which we, with few to zero regrets, chose to ignore. At this point however, we neither condone nor condemn the consumption of sweet beverages outside a scientific context.

Literature references

[1] One of my dearest friends runs this page called Movies They Should Make where he shows off home-made posters of movies that do not yet exist – but perhaps should exist. I am not sure that this is directly relevant… in any case, here is a back-link to one of the movies that “someone should consider making”: The Cola Wars


11 Responses to Coke and Pepsi: Can one really taste the difference? — A randomized, double-blind, double-dummy study conducted by real pros (with a dash of child labor) — For all mankind

  1. Unstable Isotope says:

    I demand to see the post-it note!

  2. Angel says:

    You should expand this scientific investigation by comparing Coke, Coke light and Coke zero.

  3. Violet says:

    You should have tried a triangle test: two of one, one of the other. Virtually no one will figure out which is coke, which is pepsi. (see Malcolm Gladwell’s book BLINK)

    • J Thomas says:

      Violet, my experience also has been that almost no oe can tell which is which in a triangle test. So how is it that this one person could tell perfectly in a “hexagon” test?

      Is there something special about dividing into two versus one, that doesn’t happen when you divide three versus three?

  4. […] där testpersonen skulle skilja på Coke och Pepsi gör just detta. Jag hittade den på bloggen Synthetic Remarks och stjäl helt enkelt den dimensionen därifrån […]

  5. ff says:

    bad bad bad bad bad learned nothing

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  9. Dark Web says:

    That is a difficult to check the difference between Coke and Pepsi

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