I’m not sure I would be described as a cola connoisseur, or maybe I would.
I have taken the Pepsi Challenge on more than one occasion. I can tell the difference between diet cola (which has one calorie) and a zero-calorie cola. If I thought about it I could probably tell you what container the cola came from – glass, plastic, metal and the size. Okay, maybe I’m a cola fanatic.
I’m not fanatic about brand preference, though I know those who are. I have a friend who drinks nothing but Coke. If all I have in the house is Pepsi, he’ll turn it town. I tend to go for whatever is on sale, though I will admit to a preference for the major brands.
Which leads us to today.
I have a vague memory of getting dragged to IKEA a few years ago by my wife and daughter. Something about a new couch. I sat in the cafeteria, drinking cola. I can’t remember if it was Coke or Pepsi, but it was a dollar for a bottomless cup.
At the IKEA in Freiburg, Germany, I wondered why they had bottles Pepsi in the cafeteria. Seemed strange given that the fountain drink was only a Euro. Then again, maybe there are enough purists to warrant it. (I also noticed that the Pepsi was two Euros, while a beer was €2.50. I don’t think they serve beer at IKEA in Ottawa, but maybe I just didn’t notice.) Being cost-conscious, the fountain drink seemed to me to be the best way to go.
That was a mistake.
The “cola” that was dispensed was neither Coke nor Pepsi. I wasn’t that surprised: other colas are cheaper. The problem was, it was barely cola. The whole idea is to mimic the taste of the two major brands. This was nothing like them. My taste buds revolted, but I drank it anyway. It was cold, which is not always true of cold drinks in Europe.
I must admit a certain amount of surprise that IKEA, known for its quality, would serve such a substandard drink. I don’t know what I will do the next time. And it seems there will be a next time.
My frugality suggests I’ll drink it again. I suspect I’ll learn to like the taste, I’ll just pretend it doesn’t call itself cola.