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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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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